Local: 310-853-5887 Toll Free: 800-216-2253

Your Free Case Evaluation

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
Privacy Policy

Bodies Found in Joshua Tree Died of Gunshot Wounds

Earlier this week, it was reported that two bodies found in Joshua Tree were believed to belong to two hikers that went missing in July of this year. Authorities have since confirmed that the bodies do indeed belong to Joseph Orbeso and Rachel Nguyen and that a handgun was recovered at the scene. Detectives believe that Orbeso shot Nguyen before turning the gun on himself.

The bodies were found in a steep canyon far north of the Maze Loop Trailhead, where the couple's car was located after they went missing. Members of Joshua Tree Search & Rescue accompanied by Orbeso's father, Gilbert Orbeso, discovered the remains. Sheriff's deputies from the Morongo Basin Station reported visible injuries to the bodies after they arrived on scene, and called Homicide to take over the investigation. 

Previous search and rescue efforts and investigation provided no indication that Orbeso planned to attack Nguyen, or that she was in any danger. The injuries on the bodies were determined to be gunshot wounds by the San Bernardino Coroner's Office. The condition of the bodies has made it difficult to determine when exactly the couple died; whether it was immediately after they were reported missing or days or weeks later.

The National Park Service began searching for the couple immediately after the two were reported missing on July 28th. Over 250 search and rescue members combed the park for the next nine days; during which over 10 search personnel and several canine units suffered injury. Their efforts totaled over 2100 hours. The park is over 800,000 acres, and it is "surprisingly easy" to get lost, according to the Joshua Tree Search & Rescue Team.

Gilbert Orbeso stands by earlier reports that stated the couple was found embracing. He wishes for 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." 

Joseph Orbeso's actions remain under investigation by the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department. The couple left no note or indication as to what happened, and no one has volunteered any information thus far. 

The content of this website including, but not limited to, this posting, has been prepared by Budris Law Group for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. The material posted on the website is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, a lawyer-client relationship, and readers should not act upon it without seeking professional counsel. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information