The search for a missing couple that started back in July ended at about 1:50 pm on Oct. 15 when the two bodies were found embracing under a tree in Joshua Tree.
Joseph Orbeso and Rachel Nguyen went missing on a hiking trail in Joshua Tree during a hike on Jul. 27 and were reported missing the next day.
An investigation of the bodies revealed that the couple died from gun shots administered by Orbeso.
At first thought to be a murder suicide, it is now being regarded as a mercy kill. Autopsies showed that Nguyen was shot first by the handgun registered to Orbeso, then Orbeso shot himself.
Officials say that Nguyen had a shirt wrapped around her forehead like a bandage covering a head injury and Orbeso’s shirt covering her legs from the sun.
It appeared that the couple was rationing food, but no water was nearby. Her head injury and their lack of food and water caused the couple distress in the sweltering heat, so officials believe the killing was a way to relieve their suffering.
Family members reported that Orbeso would not want to harm Nguyen and he was easing their pain.
Family and friends mourn the loss of the young Orange County couple that perished under such stressful circumstances on the hot desert trails of California.