LAKEWOOD - Two Lakewood residents have been missing since Saturday at Joshua Tree National Park, and a search is under way.
The two - Helen Melnyk, 56, and a friend, Tony Nosow, 59 - were planning to visit the park for a few hours Saturday.
The search for the pair did not get under way until Monday, when rangers combed the park's roads and had backup from a California Highway Patrol crew in a fixed-wing aircraft, according to Joshua Tree National Park spokesman Joe Zarki.
"At this point, we don't even know if they're in the park," he added.
Kristina Melnyk, daughter of the missing woman, reported the case at the Sheriff's Lakewood Station. The case, however, is being handled by San Bernardino sheriff's deputies, who are working with park rangers in the search, officials said.
The missing duo was last heard from at 10:42 a.m. Saturday, as they entered Joshua Tree National Park on an off-road trip.
"She was driving into the park when the call dropped," the daughter said. "This is the last time I spoke to my mom."
The pair had planned to be at the park for only a couple of hours, according to Kristina Melnyk. They had planned on returning to Nosow's house in Joshua Tree that afternoon.
They were in a 2011 Chevy Z71 pickup truck dark in color, either dark blue or dark gray, according to the daughter. The license number is 32248B1.
Helen Melnyk is about 5 feet 1, with short brown hair, blue eyes, weighs about 210 pounds, and has a tattoo on her lower back of red roses and green vines.
Nosow was described as about 5 feet 9, with brown or hazel eyes, a long white beard, and long hair down his back that he wears in a low ponytail.