Two bodies discovered in Joshua Tree National Park are thought to be a pair of southern California hikers missing since July.
Hikers discovered the bodies in a remote region of the California park on Sunday, the National Park Service said in a press release. Joseph Orbeso, 21, and Rachel Nguyen, 20, were last heard from on July 27.
Earlier this summer, search teams found their car near the Maze Loop trailhead. Their luggage was still at the Airbnb they rented and their last known contact was a cell phone ping in the area, CBS reported.
Orbeso’s father, Gilbert, searched sections of the park for months with friends of the couple and authorities. They made a breakthrough Sunday as they scaled 30-foot cliffs and covered new ground. They came across clothing, food wrappers and water bottles that led them to the bodies, according to California-based ABC station KABC.
The bodies were embracing each other, Gilbert Orbeso told KABC.
The remains were picked up by a helicopter and sent to the San Bernardino coroner’s office to confirm the identities.
But Gilbert Orbeso is already certain they are his son and his son’s girlfriend.
“I feel that we have closure and we know we found them,” Gilbert Orbeso told KABC. “(I) hope they can rest in peace now.”
Just over 1,000 deaths (excluding suicides) have occured in National Parks in the last decade, according to Fox News. Most occured from drowning or motor vehicle accidents.
Joshua Tree, where temperatures topped 100 degrees this summer, was among the Washington Post’s listing of 10 most deadly national parks in 2014.