Bodies Believed to Be Missing Hikers Found in Embrace

Hiker's dad says he believes bodies are those of his son and his girlfriend
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 16, 2017 8:45 PM CDT
Updated Oct 17, 2017 12:33 AM CDT
Bodies Believed to Be Missing Hikers Found in Embrace
This combo made from undated photos provided by the National Park Service show Rachel Nguyen, left, and Joseph Orbeso.   (National Park Service via AP)

The father of a missing California man said he believes the bodies of his son and his son's girlfriend have been found in Joshua Tree National Park, near the area where they vanished while hiking three months ago. Officials did not immediately confirm the identities of the two adults discovered Sunday in rugged terrain near a popular trail in the desert park, the AP reports. 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. "I feel like we have closure. We know we found them. That was our main goal, to find them," said Gilbert Orbeso, who frequently joined the months-long search efforts that involved family members, friends, volunteers and law enforcement on the ground and in helicopters.

Joseph Orbeso and Nguyen were reported missing July 28, after they failed to check out of their accommodations near the park. Authorities said a ping from Joseph Orbeso's cellphone had been recorded in the park the previous day. The couple's car was later found in the park. Temperatures topped 100 degrees in late July and it was unclear whether the couple had water and supplies with them. Daylight faded following the discovery Sunday, so authorities planned to recover the bodies Monday, said Jodi Miller, spokeswoman for the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department. Autopsies will determine the causes of death, she said. "I believed that I was going to find them. I didn't know when, but I had my answer," Gilbert Orbeso told KESQ. Per Fox 11, the two bodies were found locked in an embrace. The couple's clothing, water bottles, and food wrappers were found nearby.

(Read more Joshua Tree stories.)

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