Deadly crash may solve mystery surrounding San Diego couple

Posted at 8:53 AM, Aug 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-15 12:30:36-04

(KGTV) - A deadly crash in Fresno County in July may help investigators solve the case of a San Diego couple that disappeared weeks later.

A relative called the Fresno County Sheriff's Office on August 11 to report that Yinan Wang, 31, and his wife Jie Song, 30, were possibly missing.

Wang and Song were was last seen August 6 at Crystal Caves, said deputies. The couple was supposed to drive to Fresno, continue to Yosemite National Park, then return to San Diego three days later.

PHOTOS: Deputies investigate deaths of Thai couple, disappearance of San Diegans

Wang and Song were last seen driving a 2012 white Ford Focus with the California license plate 6XMM431.

The mystery surrounding the disappearance grew August 8 when a member of a Fresno County Sheriff's Search and Rescue team saw the couple's license plate in news coverage of a separate crash.

In that case, a red car presumed to have been carrying two Thai exchange students from the University of South Florida crashed through a guard rail and off a 500-foot cliff into the Kings River in July. The bodies of both students have not been recovered.

Fresno County Sheriff's deputies and the CHP flew helicopters over the river Sunday to look for signs of the white Ford Focus near the red car, which has been stuck on a rock since late July. 

"We've flown a helicopter through the canyon we found some wreckage, both on the hillside and in the water that could be the car belonging to that couple," said Tony Botti, Public Information Officer with the Fresno County Sheriff's Office. 

Search and rescue teams are consulting with experts about water flows and weather patterns to create a recovery and investigation plan.

"It's just a very tight gorge with water that is flowing over boulders. Down below where that red car is there's a series of water falls that drop off 60 or 70 feet," Botti said. "Our concern is that if we have people out in the water and for some reason, they were to get loose and get carried downstream it would probably kill them."

Wang has lived in San Diego for roughly a year. His wife still lives in China, but visits often. The relative who reported them missing declined an interview with 10News.  

According to the Sheriff's Department, the couple may have gone over the cliff while looking for the spot where the couple from Thailand landed.

"There is one train of thought that maybe they were going to look in the area of where this other Thai couple was missing because that has been an international story. Maybe they got so focused on that that they lost sight of the road and kept driving straight," Botti said. "Again, it's just a theory."

Crews will begin searching the river once it calms down.  It was flowing at 1,500 cubic feet per second when the Thai couple went over the edge. Right now, it's flowing at 600 gallons per second.  Once it drops to 400, crews will feel more comfortable going in.

"It's a very dangerous situation to put in that water so the lower levels the better for our people," said Botti.

Anyone with information about Wang, Song or their car is asked to contact the Fresno County Sheriff's Office at 559-600-3111.