Hikers found dead, locked in embrace

Investigators say Joseph Orbeso right shot and killed Rachel Nguyen in Joshua Tree National Park before turning the gun on himself

Investigators say Joseph Orbeso right shot and killed Rachel Nguyen in Joshua Tree National Park before turning the gun on himself

"They found a tree to provide some shade", he said, and Joseph had taken his shirt off and put it over her legs, apparently to protect them from the sun and heat.

The bodies of Rachel Nguyen, left, and Joseph Orbeso were found under a tree and they appeared to have been rationing food and water.

Officials now believe that one of the missing hikers found dead in Joshua Tree National Park may have shot and killed the other before turning the gun on himself, according to a San Bernardino County sheriff's news release.

The bodies of Nguyen and Joseph Orbeso, 22, were found in a steep canyon Sunday.

Rachel Nguyen and Joseph Orbeso were staying at a hotel but were reported missing when they didn't return.

"In view of proof situated at the scene, analysts trust Orbeso shot Nguyen, at that point shot himself", San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department told KTLA. "It's unfortunate because it leaves questions for their family".

The gun found at the scene was registered to Orbeso, and his friend told the newspaper that he likely brought it on the hike for protection.

He said details show the deaths on the tough terrain may have been a result of desperation. "And they made the choice of a quick death".

"Rachel possibly injured herself sliding down a cliff and Joseph went after her and took care of her", Nguyen added.

"I can't even imagine what he went through in his mind to even think that he could do this", Corina Mallari, Orbeso's mother, told NBC affiliate KMIR. "The investigation into Orbeso's actions remains under investigation", the statement said.

Rachel Nguyen's t-shit was rapped around her head like a bandage. "He just wanted to do thoughtful things for her". "We hold no grudges against Joseph or the Orbeso Family".

When the two were found, their bodies did appear to be interlocked, she said. The investigation continues, officials said. The bodies were airlifted to a coroner's office but authorities are still investigating as the two had gunshot wounds.

Investigators and searchers have no indication that Orbeso may have been planning to hurt Nguyen, said Bachman, the Sheriff's Department spokeswoman. A $10,000 reward was also offered for information. The couple were found under a tree and had used their clothing to protect themselves from the extreme temperature in the area.

"Until you are in the same situation ... you don't know how you would react", he added. "I am proud to be his father and his kindness will live on in me and those who knew him best".

The couple was reported missing by the hotel owner after they failed to check out of their room, according to authorities.

US National Park Service rangers later found the couple's unoccupied vehicle near the head of one of the trails.

The following day, July 29, the rangers asked the Sheriff's Department for help.

Specialists recuperated the remaining parts Wednesday and later distinguished them as the missing couple.

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