Body of Missing 20-Year-Old Man Found in Flood Control Channel in Irvine

By Sophie Li
Sophie Li
Sophie Li
March 23, 2023Updated: March 23, 2023

A 20-year-old man’s body was found on March 23 in the San Diego Creek in Irvine after being reported missing for two days, authorities said.

Christian Nathan Cruz, of Irvine, who was developmentally disabled, was reported missing at about 11:30 p.m. on March 21.

Cruz’s mother dropped him off at an L.A. Fitness gym located at 3960 Barranca at 6:30 p.m., but he was nowhere to be found when she came to pick him up three hours later, according to an Irvine Police Department statement.

Epoch Times Photo
Christian Nathan Cruz. (Courtesy of the Irvine Police Department)

Several officers responded to search for him, checking areas in and around his last known location, including his favorite places to visit.

A review of the surveillance footage at L.A. Fitness showed Cruz leaving the location alone at around 8 p.m., police said.

He was spotted walking east toward the San Diego Creek Trail. Roughly 15 to 20 minutes later, he was sighted walking back to the gym and down into the flood control channel, police said.

A device tracking application Cruz’s mother used Tuesday night indicated that his phone was near the gym. The next morning, his phone was located inside the men’s locker room at the facility, police said.

Officers followed the channel south and located Cruz’s body at 11:56 a.m. Wednesday—approximately 3 miles from where he was last seen. The Orange County Fire Authority and members of the Urban Search and Rescue Team responded to recover Cruz from the water.

Authorities have yet not announced Cruz’s cause of death.

Anyone with information related to this incident is asked to contact Detective Mudassar Mahmood at 949-724-7244.