Search scaled back for couple missing 2 weeks in national park amid few leads

TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. -- The search for a couple missing in Joshua Tree National Park has been scaled back after nearly two weeks with little to no sign of the pair.

The National Park Service said searchers have been looking for Rachel Nguyen and Joseph Orbeso for 11 days. Nguyen and Orbeso entered the park early July 27 and have not been seen or heard from since, the NPS said.

Multi-agency search and rescue crews have been combing the park since July 28 after the couple failed to check out of their hotel room, leaving all of their belongings behind.

"Our search teams have put forth a tremendous effort for the rescue and recovery of these two young people. We can only begin to imagine just how difficult and painful this whole experience has been for the parents, family and friends of Joseph and Rachel," said Superintendent David Smith.

"It has deeply affected the men and women involved in this search. Although we have had to scale back the active rescue, we continue to dedicate park resources to finding them."

A regional team comprised of investigators from Yosemite National Park and Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Park continues to search for the pair, along with drone specialists from the NPS. Canine teams are still searching when temperatures are not too high, according to park officials.

A vehicle belonging to Nguyen and Orbeso was found at the trailhead of a popular hiking trail known as Maze Loop. Anyone who recalls seeing a couple in their early twenties is asked to contact San Bernardino Dispatch at 909 383-5652.
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