LANDERS — A Lake Elsinore woman’s body was found in a Pipes Canyon wash Tuesday, and homicide investigators are interviewing her boyfriend, a registered sex offender who was supposed to be driving to Yucca Valley with her last week. Tanya Marie Petro’s family reported her missing Friday. The 33-year-old was last seen leaving her apartment complex in Lake Elsinore on Jan. 4 with her boyfriend, 41-year-old Ronald Paoletto. Petro’s family and friends told the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department Paoletto had assaulted Petro last week.
The two were supposed to drive to Yucca Valley to pick up his children, but when Paoletto arrived, he was alone, telling family he had argued with Petro along the way and dropped her off at an unknown location, the Riverside sheriff reported.
Paoletto was arrested Monday in Hesperia on suspicion of violation of the Sex Offender Registration Act; he is a registered sex offender who was convicted of lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 14, according to the Meagan’s Law website.
San Bernardino and Riverside county sheriff’s investigators working together to find Petro were led to a remote area of Landers.
They found Petro’s body around 11 a.m. Tuesday in Vans Ranch Pipe Canyon Wash southwest of Winters Road and Landers Lane.
The San Bernardino County sheriff now is conducting a homicide investigation.
Investigators will be interviewing Paoletto, who was listed as a person of interest in the case when his girlfriend went mising.
Anyone with information may contact Det. Armando Avila or Sgt. Frank Bell at (909) 387-3589. Callers wishing to remain anonymous may call the We-Tip Hotline at (800) 78-CRIME (27463) or leave information at www.wetip.com.