Two hikers’ bodies were found in a Southern California national park last week at the bottom of a steep canyon. The hikers had died from gunshot wounds, said authorities last Friday, in what they believe was a murder-suicide.
Rachel Nguyen who was 20 and Joseph Orbeso, who was 22, were missing since late in July. The two were found embracing one another in Joshua Tree National Park, says the Sheriff’s Department of San Bernardino County.
The hikers’ lower extremities had been covered in clothing, they did not have water and there appeared to be rationing of food.
A gun was found close to the two that was registered to Orbeso. Law enforcement authorities believe that Orbeso shot Nguyen then shot himself immediately after.
A spokesperson from the sheriff’s department said that usually a message or note to someone will explain what happened, but it is difficult to explain without one and this might never be explained.
One of Orbesos’ friends said that he had worked in the security industry and due to that he had owned the handgun. The friend said Orbeso put Nguyen and him out of their misery.
The family of Nguyen said that authorities told them that due to the positions of the two bodies, they believed it was a sympathetic murder suicide therefore, the family holds no grudges against Orbeso or his family.
The two were hiking and reported missing July 28, when a bed and breakfast owner said Orbeso and Nguyen, who had been his guests, did not return for check out. That same day, the pair’s car was found by park rangers near the trailhead, and the search for the two began.
Gilbert Orbeso, the father of the deceased, was with a volunteer group Joshua Tree Search and Rescue when the group located the two bodies.
Mr. Orbeso said he felt some closure and relief in some way now that they had located his son.
Joshua Tree National Park consists of more than 800,000 acres. It is very easy to become lost, according to the search and rescue group involved in finding the deceased hikers. The group posted in their Facebook page that people can get lost only a short distance from the trail.
No announcement has been made as to when services will be held for the two deceased. Family members declined to comment about the incident when comments were requested.