Tags: joshua tree | national park | murder | suicide

Joshua Tree National Park Murder Suicide Was Act of Compassion: Family

Image: Joshua Tree National Park Murder Suicide Was Act of Compassion: Family
View of a Joshua tree in the 1,234-square-mile Joshua Tree National Park, on April 07, 2008. (Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 24 Oct 2017 05:31 AM

The Joshua Tree National Park hikers’ murder-suicide was an act of kindness, family members told The Desert Sun.

The tragic story has seized the public’s attention as more details emerge surrounding the deaths of the two hikers, whose remains were finally recovered in the Joshua Tree National Park after weeks of searching.

On Friday the autopsy report was released and the details were harrowing.

According to investigators, Joseph Orbeso, 21, and Rachel Nguyen, 20, died from gunshot wounds in what is being termed a sympathetic murder-suicide, with Orbeso believed to have shot Nguyen before turning the gun on himself, USA Today noted.

The two hikers were reported missing on July 28, after they failed to check out of their accommodations near the park.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department noted that a large-scale search was launched to locate the couple.

The operation included 250 search and rescue members using aircrafts, dog teams, horse teams, and ground teams to cover the vast area.

The bodies were located locked in an embrace on Oct. 15 by a park ranger and the identities later released, USA Today noted.

Now family members may be able to find some closure.

Speaking to The Desert Sun, Rachel Nguyen’s uncle, Son Nguyen, said it was not a murderous act, but one of compassion driven by desperation.

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

According to reports, her T-shirt was wrapped around her head like a bandage, hinting at a head injury.

The couple had attempted to find shade under a tree and Orbeso is believed to have used his shirt to try and protect Rachel Nguyen’s legs from the sun and heat.

Son Nguyen said the two were in distress and, with little food and no water, wanted to ease their suffering.

"Until you are in the same situation … you don’t know how you would react," he told The Desert Sun.

Detectives from the Morongo Basin Sheriff’s Station are continuing with investigations.

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The Joshua Tree National Park hikers' murder-suicide was an act of kindness, family members have told The Desert Sun.
joshua tree, national park, murder, suicide
Tuesday, 24 Oct 2017 05:31 AM
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