A popular El Centro attorney has gone missing from a Joshua Tree National Park camping trip after a violent downpour and authorities fear he was swept away by a flash flood. His car was found in Box Canyon in the Mecca area two days after he disappeared, reported The Desert Sun.
Ankit Goyal, 28, a young lawyer with the Plourd & Breeze firm in El Centro, was last heard from by his father Arun Goyal via a text message on Sept. 30, about 5 p.m. The father said his son reported he was leaving Joshua Tree soon and would be back to his home in about two hours.
“He was exactly at the wrong place at the right time,” the father said.
Officials said Riverside County Transportation Department employees contacted the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department on Oct. 2 after finding Goyal’s empty silver Honda with significant damage in Box Canyon between Interstate 10 and Painted Canyon Road, Riverside County sheriff’s Sgt. Andrew Nielsen said.
“The vehicle appeared to have been swept off the roadway in the canyon, possibly during recent storms on Sept. 30,” Nielsen said. The storms caused flash flooding in the canyon.
Ankit Goyal practiced criminal and some civil law at Plourd & Breeze, where he’d worked only about seven months, said Lupe Quintal, the office manager there.
She said Goyal’s parents and staff with the law firm had been to the site of the accident but were not allowed close because the road was washed away by a flash flood, presumably the one that carried the car down the canyon.
“The car was battered,” she said. “There was nothing there.”