UPDAGE 10/24/17 – More information has come out regarding this case. Authorities have told the media that they believe the murder/suicide may have been an act of compassion. Rachel had suffered a head injury. She had a t-shirt wrapped around her head. Their supplies had run low and they were out of water and were rationing food, an official from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department told the Desert Sun.
UPDATE 10/20/17 – In a shocking twist, the authorities stated today that Joseph and Rachel died by suicide. According to a statement released by police, “Based on evidence located at the scene, detectives believe Orbeso shot Nguyen, then shot himself. The investigation into Orbeso’s actions remains under investigation.”
This seem contradictory to what Joseph’s father said when he saw the couple. He stated they were found in an “embrace.” He told the Southern California News Group, ““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.”
A San Bernardino Sheriff’s Spokesman told the LA Times, that it appeared as they were “embracing.”
UPDATE 10/17/16 – The National Park Service has since confirmed “hikers discovered two bodies in a remote region of Joshua Tree National Park” in a release. The remains were found today on the north side of the Maze Loop trail. Joseph Orbeso’s father Gilbert was with members of Joshua Tree Search and Rescue when the bodies were found, reports KESQ news. The bodies are “likely” those of Rachel and Joseph.
Joseph Orbeso, 21, from Lakewood, Calif. and Rachel Nguyen, 20, from Westminster, Calif. went missing from the Joshua Tree National Park on July 27, 2017. There is a $10,000 reward for their safe return. The two checked in July 26 at a Hi-Desert vacation rental, whose owner called the Sheriff’s Department after they didn’t return from a trip in the park.
Footprints were found by searchers on July 28, the day after the couple went to the park. A video shows them entering the park. There has been a search at the park but they have not been located. The family is asking people to look outside the park, too.
“We are asking for the public’s help if they have been seen in the park, but mostly if possible out of the park,” Gilbert Orbeso, Joseph Orbeso’s father, said on a Facebook message. “Still no clues to their whereabouts.”