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Missing SoCal musician, wife found safe near Tokyo

Michael Bridgham, a professional musician and piano teacher from Lake Forest, Calif. and his wife Cheiko, were reported missing after Japan's earthquake and tsunami, but they have been found safe.

March 16, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
A talented musician from Southern California and his wife, who were reported missing after Japan's quake and tsunami, have been found safe.

Michael Bridgham, a professional musician and piano teacher from Lake Forest, and wife Cheiko, who is Japanese, traveled to Japan just over two weeks ago.

He was scheduled to start rehearsing soon for a concert in Orange County with opera singer and longtime friend, Stella Togo, who began to worry when there was no word from the couple since the quake struck.

"It's hard for any one of us to not have received a message from him just saying, 'I'm OK,' because he's always had a very caring personality," Togo said.

After media coverage of the missing couple, another friend was able to make contact with the couple. Bridgham and his wife are safe south of Tokyo.

The Bridghams have a second home in hard-hit Miyagi Prefecture, where walls of water swallowed neighborhoods and left towns in ruins. Nearly 8,000 people remain missing after the devastating quake and tsunami.