Gunshot wounds found on bodies identified as missing hikers in Joshua Tree

JOSHUA TREE, California -- The bodies of two missing hikers found Sunday in Joshua Tree National Park had injuries consistent with gunshot wounds, according to the San Bernardino County Coroner's Department.

Rachel Nguyen, 20, and Joseph Orbeso, 22, both of Orange County, had been missing since July and were identified by the coroner after their bodies were located far north of the Maze Loop Trailhead inside the park.

Investigators said based on evidence located at the scene, they believe Orbeso shot Nguyen, then shot himself.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department said "suspicious circumstances" and "visible injuries to the decedents," led them to request that detectives from the Specialized Investigations Division Homicide Detail respond to the location.

"The investigation into Orbeso's actions remain under investigation," sheriff's officials said in a press release.

The two bodies were found embracing one another by a search and rescue group, which included Orbeso's father, Gilbert Orbeso.

MORE: Bodies, believed to be SoCal hikers, found embracing one another at Joshua Tree

Gilbert Orbeso has been tirelessly searching through Joshua Tree National Park. His son and Nguyen, his son's girlfriend, were first reported missing back in July.

The heart-wrenching discovery Sunday stirred up both pain and relief.

"I feel that we have closure and we know we found them. That was our main goal was to find them... Hope they can rest in peace now," Gilbert Orbeso said.

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