A missing California college student was found dead in a flipped-over Tesla alongside Interstate 5 in Fresno County over the weekend, ending a days-long search.
Christopher Liang, a 21-year-old senior at the University of San Francisco, was last heard from on Feb. 28 after he rented a white 2020 Tesla Model 3 to drive from San Francisco to Irvine, NBC Bay Area reported.
The CHP told NBC Bay Area that Christopher Liang’s rented Tesla “ran off the road for an unknown reason” on Saturday and fell down a cliff and overturned on a dry riverbed.
The Fresno County Sheriff Coroner’s Office confirmed Liang’s identity to NBC Bay Area.
The California Highway Patrol Los Banos division said there is an ongoing investigation into a fatal collision involving an overturned vehicle west of I-5, but declined to name the victim.
CHP’s collision report notes that because of “a lack of witnesses to the actual crash,” Liang’s car could have gone over the cliff at any time after he was last seen on Feb. 28 and before his body and car were discovered five days later.
The disappearance inspired the hashtag “#FindChrisLiang” and his brother Jerry Liang spearheaded social media efforts to find the missing student.
Jerry Liang described his brother’s trip as “impulsive” in an Instagram post last week.
“I am concerned for his life,” he wrote. “The erratic nature of this trip combined with his mental health issues has made our family extremely concerned for his safety.”
Jerry Liang confirmed his brother’s death this week in social media posts and announced Tuesday that a memorial service is scheduled for Thursday evening in San Francisco.
The California Highway Patrol Los Banos division said more information about the fatal collision would be released on Wednesday.
Tim Fitzsimons is a reporter for NBC News. he/him