CHICAGO (AP) — A married woman from Illinois whose disappearance on Christmas Eve prompted a costly search may be alive and with a male friend from California, authorities said Friday.

Cell phone records indicate Anu Solanki, 24, left the Chicago area with 23-year-old Karan C. Jani, a Cook County sheriff's office statement said. The pair hasn't been located.

"We believe the two of them are still together," Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said at a news conference.

Solanki's husband, who lived with his wife near suburban Des Plaines, wasn't aware of her friendship with Jani, Dart told reporters.

Anu Solanki's car was found Monday in a forest preserve parking lot, triggering the search by police and relatives, who distributed fliers with her picture. A sheriff's department helicopter was also used in the search.

Authorities spent about $250,000 on the search and in investigating Solanki's disappearance, Dart said.