Bodies found in Joshua Tree near where couple went missing

17 October, 2017, 00:24 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • Joseph Orbeso 21 and Rachel Nguyen 20 went to Joshua Tree National Park for a hiking trip and haven't been seen since July 27

Authorities have found the bodies of two missing southern California hikers in Joshua Tree National Park - locked in a final embrace.

The bodies were discovered on the north side of the Maze Loop Trail in Joshua Tree, according to media reports from Riverside County.

But Gilbert Orbeso, who was with searchers when the discovery was made, told KESQ-TV they are his son, Joseph Orbeso, 21, of Lakewood and his girlfriend, Rachel Nguyen, 20, of Westminster.

In a Facebook post before the bodies were discovered Sunday, Gilbert Orbeso expressed: "Hunting down Joseph and Rachel". We know we found them. Officials have not confirmed the identities of the bodies. The Maze Loop area is where searchers had earlier found a vehicle belonging to the two hikers. Family was alerted that the couple - both from California and in their 20s - might be missing after they failed to check out of their local accommodations on time on July 28, and left all their belongings behind. Authorities said a ping from Orbeso's cellphone had been recorded in the park the previous day.

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The couple disappeared amid heat and intense sunlight, which can lead to dehydration, according to the National Park Service. He said he followed that trail to two bodies - embracing one another.

Despite no formal confirmation, Orbeso told the outlet, "I feel that we have closure and we know we found them".

San Bernardino County Sheriff's office spokeswoman Jodi Miller confirmed to PEOPLE that the bodies had been discovered and that recovery would take place on Monday. "That was our fundamental objective, to discover them", said Gilbert Orbeso, who every now and again joined the months-long inquiry endeavors that included relatives, companions, volunteers and law implementation on the ground and in helicopters.


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