On October 15, a small group of rescue workers found the dead bodies of a young couple in the Joshua Tree National Park, California. According to a report by BBC, the couple was reported to be missing on July 28. Authorities said that Joseph Orbeso, 22, and Rachel Nguyen, 20, died in a sympathetic murder-suicide pact. Police officers stated that Orbeso shot his girlfriend with his handgun and then turned it on himself.

What the rescue team found

The remains of Nguyen and Orbeso were found under a tree in a steep canyon north of the Maze Loop trail, their bodies seemed to be embracing each other.

Officials noted they the young lovers run out of the water and had less food left. The couple used their clothing to cover their legs and protect themselves from the heat. The temperature in the park was estimated to reach up to 100 degrees.

The handgun, which was found near the bodies, was registered to Joseph Orbeso. According to the investigators, the young man had no intention to harm his girlfriend.

How did the couple disappear?

The couple, of Orange County, left their Airbnb accommodation in the Morongo Basin area on July 27. The couple was reported missing the following day, as the owner of the accommodation said that they had not checked out. He noted that Nguyen and Orbeso went hiking to the park.

During the search-and-rescue operation, the couple's car was found near a trailhead. The rescue workers spent around 2,100 hours in attempts to find the couple. In August, around 10 people suffered from the heat during the operation, so officials left only small groups which continued searching on weekends.

On Friday, officials announced that homicide detectives would continue the investigation "due to suspicious circumstances and visible injuries" to the couple's bodies.

Orbeso's best friend Austin Young said that the couple had dated in Joshua Tree to celebrate her birthday, ABC News reported. He noted that Orbeso was a security guard and possibly took the gun to protect themselves. The young man added that the couple was likely to get lost and had to choose between a slow death or a quick death.

Nguyen's relatives stated that they held "no grudges against" Joseph and were thankful to God that they could bury Rachel properly. Gilbert Orbeso, Orbeso's father, who also took part in the rescue operation, said that his son was a "caring and thoughtful person," the Time reported.