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Contact: Jennie Albrinck, 760-367-5520
JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK, Twentynine Palms, California – Over four weeks have passed since searchers began looking for Rachel Nguyen and Joseph Orbeso, a couple who disappeared in Joshua Tree National Park. With thousands of hours of search time by hundreds of searchers resulting in few leads, the National Park Service (NPS) and the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department have entered into what is known as a limited continuous search mode. During this phase of the search, agencies will continue to methodically search areas of high probability within the park whenever sufficient resources are available. They lack the staff and resources to carry on the search with the same intensity as during the initial phase.
Both Nguyen and Orbeso entered the park at approximately 6:45am on Thursday, July 27 and have not been seen or heard from since. An extensive search has continued in the park since July 28. This search has included resources from the NPS, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Dept., Joshua Tree National Park Search and Rescue (JOSAR), San Bernardino County Search and Rescue, the Bureau of Land Management, Orange County Sheriff’s Dept., San Diego County Sheriff’s Dept., California Highway Patrol, Riverside County Sheriff’s Dept., U.S. Border Patrol and the California Rescue Dog Association. The NPS called in a special regional overhead team made up of investigators from Yosemite National Park and Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Park to review the ongoing search. They were joined by an NPS drone specialist from Grand Canyon National Park. Canine teams from JOSAR are also continuing the search when temperatures allow. Family members and friends of the missing hikers also participated in the search.
The families of the missing pair have asked the public to engage in helping their recovery. They are offering a reward of $10,000 for any information that leads to the successful and safe return of Nguyen and Orbeso. It is their hope that the missing party may have left on their own accord and are alive somewhere outside the park. The couple’s vehicle was found at the trailhead of a popular hiking trail known as the Maze Loop.
Anyone who might have been hiking or stopping in the area who recalls seeing a couple in their early twenties, or having other pertinent information about the two are asked to contact the San Bernardino Dispatch at 909- 383-5652 and request the detective division.