5 Things to Know: Friday, October 16

Welcome to 5 Things to Know – a daily rundown of things you might want to be aware of if you live in, visit, or just like being aware about what’s going on in Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley. As always, thank you for your continued support of Cactus Hugs.

1) The Remains of a Couple Missing Since 2017 Have Been Identified

The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department announced on Friday they have identified the remains of Audrey Moran and Jonathan Reynoso, a Coachella Valley couple reported missing in May, 2017.  The remains were located in an “undisclosed area of Riverside County,” according to the department

“It is with great sorrow to announce we have confirmed the human remains located have been positively identified as being those of Audrey Moran and Jonathan Reynoso,” the department stated in the news release.

In June, the Riverside County DA announced that three suspects had been arrested and charged with murder and accessory to murder in connection with the missing couple. Three more suspects were arrested just a few weeks after.

2) The Coronavirus

Riverside County reported 159 new cases and did not report any new deaths in the last 24 hours. There have been 1,269 reported deaths from coronavirus this year in Riverside County.

Here is the latest on what’s going on in the desert:


  • County health officials have confirmed two additional cases of coronavirus at the Coachella Valley Unified School District administrative building, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to seven for the recent outbreak.
  • A Riverside County family lost three family members within 10 days to coronavirus. KTLA interviewed John Albert Carrillo and his brother, Xavier Carrillo – who laid their mother and father to rest this week, and today buried their sister.
  • Nationally, things are really not going great:

3) IE Fruit Vendor in Coma After Driving Plows Through Cart

A mother of four is in a coma after a driver plowed through her cart near a Walmart in San Bernardino.  ABC 7 has video of the moment 28-year-old Marlen Benitez was hit by a dark SUV Tuesday afternoon.

A witness says it looked like the driver intentionally hit her cart, a statement that has been supported by police “based on statements obtained and evidence recovered at the scene.” Robert Spargo, 42, believed to be the driver of the SUV, was arrested. Police did not offer a possible motive for the incident.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help pay medical expenses for Benitez, a mother of  four.

4) Local Cities Are Reconsidering Short-Term Rentals

After years of allowing plenty of short-term rentals to take over desert neighborhoods, several cities are now looking at scaling them back. The Desert Sun has a recap of what’s being considered in Cathedral City, La Quinta, Palm Desert and Rancho Mirage – who are now looking at changes after years of noise and other complaints.

5) Enough with the Heat Already!!!

It’s the middle of October and, ugh, we are still setting heat records:

Luckily, there is some cooler weather predicted for next week – with *fingers crossed* temps dropping below triple digits on Thursday (99) and continuing to fall a couple of degrees each day through Sunday (91).

Stay safe.  Stay smart.  Wear a mask.

Have a good weekend!