Murder-suicide seen in desert deaths of California couple

This combo made from undated photos provided by the National Park Service show Rachel Nguyen, left, and Joseph Orbeso, as they seek the public’s help in locating them. The father of Orbeso, a missing California man, says he believes the bodies of his son and his son’s girlfriend, Nguyen, have been found in Joshua Tree National Park, Calif., near the area where the couple vanished while hiking nearly three months ago. Officials have not yet confirmed the identities of the bodies discovered Sunday in the desert park. (National Park Service via AP)
This combo made from undated photos provided by the National Park Service show Rachel Nguyen, left, and Joseph Orbeso, as they seek the public’s help in locating them. The father of Orbeso, a missing California man, says he believes the bodies of his son and his son’s girlfriend, Nguyen, have been found in Joshua Tree National Park, Calif., near the area where the couple vanished while hiking nearly three months ago. Officials have not yet confirmed the identities of the bodies discovered Sunday in the desert park. (National Park Service via AP)

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (AP) – Southern California authorities say the deaths of a young woman and man who vanished in Joshua Tree National Park last summer were a murder-suicide.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said Friday that the bodies found Sunday were identified as 20-year-old Rachel Nguyen and 22-year-old Joseph Orbeso, both of Orange County.

A department statement says autopsies found both had gunshot wounds and that evidence at the scene led detectives to believe Orbeso shot Nguyen and then himself.

Orbeso’s actions remain under investigation.

The couple was reported missing July 28 when they failed to return to a bed-and-breakfast, whose owner believed they went hiking in the park where temperatures topped 100 degrees. A huge search effort failed to find them.

A small team found the bodies Sunday in a steep canyon.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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