Twist in Case of Missing Hikers Found 'Locked in Embrace'

Police believe it was a murder-suicide
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 20, 2017 3:33 PM CDT
Twist in Case of Missing Hikers Found 'Locked in Embrace'
This combination of photos provided by the National Park Service show Rachel Nguyen, left, and Joseph Orbeso.   (National Park Service via AP,File)

Southern California authorities say the deaths of a young woman and man who vanished in Joshua Tree National Park over the summer were a murder-suicide, the AP reports. The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department said Friday that the bodies found Sunday were identified as 20-year-old Rachel Nguyen and 22-year-old Joseph Orbeso, both of Orange County. A department statement says autopsies found both had gunshot wounds and that evidence at the scene led detectives to believe Orbeso shot Nguyen and then himself. Orbeso's actions remain under investigation. A sheriff's spokesperson tells the Los Angeles Times a gun was recovered at the scene.

The couple was reported missing July 28 when they failed to return to a bed-and-breakfast, whose owner believed they went hiking in the park where temperatures topped 100 degrees. A huge search effort failed to find them. A small team found the bodies Sunday in a steep canyon. Police said the bodies were found locked in an embrace, and Orbeso's father emailed a statement to the Southern California News Group earlier this week saying, "I want Joseph to be remembered as a kind, caring and thoughtful person. The way he was found beside Rachel holding her as they were seeking shade under the brush says everything you need to know about him as a man and as a human being. I am proud to be his father and his kindness will live on in me and those who knew him best."

(More murder-suicide stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.