The family of two missing hikers is speaking out with a theory of why their dead bodies were found together. Family members of 22-year-old Joseph Orbeso and 20-year-old Rachel Nguyen, who were found dead at Joshua Tree National Park last week, believe the two may have died in a murder-suicide pact.
“It was explained to us by the investigators on scene, with the circumstances and positioning of the bodies, that they believe this was a sympathetic murder-suicide. We hold no grudges against Joseph or the Orbeso Family," shared the Nguyen family in a statement, per the OC Register. The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office told People that it appears that Orbeso shot his girlfriend and then himself. “Based on evidence located at the scene, detectives believe Orbeso shot Nguyen, then shot himself."
The two hikers were reported missing after they didn't check into their accomodations three months ago.
Gilbert Orbeso, the father of Joseph, told KABC that he and the search team found the bodies on Sunday in an “embracing” position. That has not been confirmed. However, the father feels that he has closure. “I feel that we have closure and we know we found them. That was our main goal was to find them…Hope they can rest in peace now.”
The couple's friend, Austin Young, doesn't believe the murder-suicide theory. He thinks the two just got lost and Orbeso pulled the trigger to put the couple out of their misery. “I think they got lost and were suffering in 100-degree heat,” he shared. “They had a choice of a slow and painful death or a quick death. And they made the choice of a quick death. Joseph wouldn’t do it [the shooting] unless Rachel said she couldn’t take it anymore. I don’t want Joseph to go down as a murderer.”
[Photo: National Park Service]
Crime Time is your destination for true crime stories from around the world, breaking crime news, and information about Oxgen's original true crime shows and documentaries. Sign up for our Crime Time Newsletter and subscribe to our true crime podcast Martinis & Murder for all the best true crime content.