Body found in canal is that of missing Delano mother

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) - This is not the way the family of Erika Lango wanted it to end. The 26-year-old mother of four small children had been missing for almost two months. Friends and family members went searching for her constantly. Prayer vigils were held.

Tuesday morning, an employee of the Friant-Kern Canal found a body in the water just east of Delano. Lango's family arrived on scene and could do nothing but wait until the body was pulled from the water, and then would have to wait longer until the Kern County coroner's office could identify the body.

The dreadful news came Wednesday evening.

"They told me it was Erika," said Esther Padron, Erika's mother.

Delano police also confirmed the identity, and the Kern County coroner's office released her name Thursday morning.

Fingerprints found on the body were a match with Lango.

The cause and manner of death are pending additional studies, the coroner's office said.

Lango disappeared the night of Oct. 9. Police said Lango left her apartment that night to go visit a friend, but she never arrived. Earlier that evening, Lango was captured on surveillance video at a nearby convenience store as she was talking on her cellphone. She exited the store and got into an SUV driven by her her husband, Julio Lango.

Her husband was arrested in the days following her disappearance on suspicion of violating a domestic violence restraining order. He still faces domestic violence charges but has not been charged in her disappearance.

The couple's children, who are named in the domestic violence restraining order, are staying with their paternal grandmother.

Police have said Julio Lango is a person of interest in the case, but no arrests have been made.

"Honestly, the police department here has just hit one road block after the other. There's just no information on this case," said Delano city councilman Joe Aguirre.

Aguirre said he will propose at the next council meeting that reward money be approved to help solve the case.