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Searchers comb eastern San Diego County for clues in O.C. murder

February 12, 2012 |  1:45 pm
Christopher Ryan Smith

About 150 searchers Saturday combed a rugged area in eastern San Diego County in hopes of finding clues in the disappearance and death of a Laguna Beach Internet advertising executive.

Orange County prosecutors have charged Edward Youngboon Shin, 33, with the 2010 murder of his business partner, Christopher Ryan Smith, 32. Smith's body has never been recovered.

Search-and-rescue members from the San Diego County Sheriff's Department, the Orange County Sheriff's Department and the U.S. Border Patrol combed a remote area near the U.S.-Mexico border.

"It was rough and it was cold," said San Diego sheriff's Sgt. Don Parker.

To reach areas inaccessible by vehicles, searchers rode horses. Dogs were also used in the search.

Parker declined to say whether any evidence was recovered or whether the search would be resumed.

According to prosecutors, Shin attempted to trick Smith's friends and family into believing he was still alive by sending fake emails from his account saying he was on a trip to South Africa.

Prosecutors allege that Shin killed Smith in their San Juan Capistrano office. An assistant to Shin has been charged with covering up the killing.

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-- Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: Christopher Ryan Smith. Credit: Orange County Sheriff's Department

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