Las Vegas Sun

November 18, 2017

Currently: 61° — Complete forecast

Murder-suicide seen in desert deaths of California couple

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — Southern California authorities say the deaths of a young woman and man who vanished in Joshua Tree National Park last summer were a murder-suicide.

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.

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.