THERMAL (CBS)  — Deputies Saturday announced they were looking for a missing Thermal man and his girlfriend who disappeared this week, according to a sheriff’s department spokesman.

Jose Eduardo Ochoa, 23, was last seen leaving his Thermal residence at about 7 a.m. on Wednesday, said sheriff’s Sgt. Jim Erickson.

The mother of his 3-year-old daughter, Maria Clara Rafael, was reported missing by family members on Tuesday, Erickson said. The child is staying with relatives, he said.

Rafael, 19, was last seen about 2 p.m. Monday sitting at a bus stop at College of the Desert’s Mecca campus.

Investigators believe Ochoa and Rafael may be together, but family members are worried the two may have been victims of foul play, Erickson said.

Ochoa is 5-feet-6, weighs 170 pounds, has black hair, brown eyes and drives a white 1988 four-door Acura Legend with a California license plate number 6MDR352.

Rafael is 5-foot-1, 125 pounds, with black hair, dark-colored eyes and braces on her upper and lower teeth. She was last seen wearing a short-sleeved shirt, blue jeans and black flats.

The sheriff’s department asked anyone with information on their whereabouts to call Investigator Andy Martinez at (760) 578-2300 or sheriff’s dispatch at (760) 836-3215.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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