Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday [7/27/17]

General Palm Springs area.

Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday

Postby cynthia23 » Wed Aug 02, 2017 2:12 pm

Perhaps they completed an uneventful, early morning hike somewhere in low lying, canyonish area of the park, took a longish outdoor nap (after their early morning start) and were returning to their car (where they pinged the tower)--and then something bad, as in criminally bad, happened, i.e. a kidnapping.

Or--here's another even wilder theory--the guy murdered the girl early in the a.m. somewhere else (a more distant area) in the park, stashing her body, and then drove to the Maze trailhead at around 4pm, perhaps knowing he'd ping the tower around there. Left the car there and hiked downhill to JT, where he picked up a ride and booked it out of the area, counting on the idea that they would both be declared permanently 'missing' and the search would center on the wrong area. It is interesting that he took a friend from Japan on a recent trip to Joshua Tree, but they didn't go anywhere in the park, just visited the town of JT.

Lurid theories I know but the situation is becoming increasingly inexplicable by 'natural' means, and I do think the quote from the friend who said the guy always hiked 'with knives' a bit weird. Certainly if I were in charge of the investigation (and thankfully, I'm not) I would at least be considering crime as one possibility.

Wildhorse, you are right, there is something in human nature that is deeply drawn to 'disappearance' stories. I wonder why that is? Speculating, I'd say that death itself is a kind of inexplicable 'disappearance', and that these sad stories kind of double down on that sense primal bewilderment. I will check out the Modiano story, thank you for referral.
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday

Postby Cy Kaicener » Wed Aug 02, 2017 2:55 pm

Today (Wednesday) on Joshua Tree Facebook

Joshua Tree National Park
3 hrs ·
Please do not enter the closed Maze Loop Trail area. Search & Rescue operations are ongoing and your added scent causes problems for dog teams.
Some have suggested taking drones to help with search - DO NOT DO THIS. Helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft being used in the search cannot fly with drones in the air. This is same reason drones are prohibited near wildland fire fighting operations.
. Please visit my website at www.hiking4health.com for more information especially the Links.
http://cys-hiking-adventures.blogspot.com
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday

Postby Ed » Wed Aug 02, 2017 3:33 pm

cynthia23 wrote:Lurid theories I know but the situation is becoming increasingly inexplicable by 'natural' means, and I do think the quote from the friend who said the guy always hiked 'with knives' a bit weird. Certainly if I were in charge of the investigation (and thankfully, I'm not) I would at least be considering crime as one possibility.


Speculation, I know. But since I knew a guy who shot his girlfriend and then himself, it rings a bell with me. He was a good mountaineer and a doctoral student in physics at UCLA. His girlfriend was a graduate student, had been on the swimming and water polo teams, her father was an engineering professor, all at UCLA. Mike had a temperament that would probably be described as bipolar today. I met him on the Mexican volcanos, and often saw him at UCLA after that. I was not too surprised by his suicide, though I certainly was not expecting it, but I was stunned by the murder.

One of my memories of the Mexican volcanos is circling around the crater on Orizaba to the summit. All snow and ice, except for a small patch of sand called The Beach. Turned a corner, and there were Mike and Mardi, his previous girlfriend, lying on The Beach making out. Altitude was 18k plus, they were wearing multiple layers of wool and down, and I don't think had showered or bathed since they arrived in Mexico, a few weeks earlier. A lot of ashy soil on the Mexican volcanos, a few miles on the trail and you feel like a chimney sweep. Mardi left Mike for a dog kennel owner in Virginia, I guess she saw problems in the future.

I also think hiking with knives is a bit weird. Hope I am not offending anyone here, I feel a bit guilty about stereotyping people like that.
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday

Postby cynthia23 » Wed Aug 02, 2017 3:52 pm

Thanks for sharing that personal story, Ed. A sad tale. Hopefully my speculations are wrong and the situation is more natural. But I did read further details on the guy, Orbeso, and was disquieted to read his best friend saying that Orbeso and the girl 'had been' dating but were now 'just friends'. Sometimes romantic situations just quietly die down into friendship but sometimes there are bad feelings on one person's part. And sometimes women try to 'let the other party down easy' by continuing to try and be 'friends' and it backfires badly.

However this is all just speculation and probably the explanation is more ordinary, although just as sad, i.e. two naive young people unprepared for such severe conditions.
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday

Postby drndr » Thu Aug 03, 2017 8:14 am

I know they've asked the public if anyone knows anything to please report but I cant help but think someone out there may have caught on a dash cam or go-pro the car in the parking lot. It might help determine when the car arrived at the lot. Or maybe spotted somewhere else in the park. I realize dash cams aren't as popular here as they are in say, Russia, but maybe someone.

And in my reading of the events I haven't heard where anyone has stepped forward and said they saw them. But maybe just not reported.

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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday

Postby RichardK » Thu Aug 03, 2017 3:09 pm

Recall the case of the French couple who died in White Sands two years ago this month. They succumbed to heat and dehydration in a single afternoon. The father lost it mentally telling his son, who survived because he was given extra water, that the car is "right over here, right over here." The car was two miles away. There are similar cases. Heat and dehydration kill really fast in the hot desert.

I have not hiked the Maze, but descriptions make it sound more like a cross country hike than a maintained trail. Backpacker magazine says "it is not the most obvious trail in the world."

Hot dry day, confusing terrain, a couple who had no reported navigation skills - an obvious recipe for a tragedy. They lost the trail, they wandered in the heat, mental confusion set in, heat and dehydration did their work. I am going to believe these circumstances before I resort to murder-suicide or foul play or staged disappearance.
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday

Postby Ed » Thu Aug 03, 2017 3:47 pm

RichardK wrote:Hot dry day, confusing terrain, a couple who had no reported navigation skills - an obvious recipe for a tragedy. They lost the trail, they wandered in the heat, mental confusion set in, heat and dehydration did their work. I am going to believe these circumstances before I resort to murder-suicide or foul play or staged disappearance.


It is the most likely scenario. But since they have not been able to find the bodies after a long, intensive search, I don't fault Cynthia for raising another. It has happened before.
Last edited by Ed on Thu Aug 03, 2017 3:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday

Postby cynthia23 » Thu Aug 03, 2017 3:47 pm

Normally of course I'd agree with you, RichardK, but if you read back in the thread, you'll see that the speculation of a crime has arisen because the searchers can't find the missing couple's bodies. As Ed and OtherHand have mentioned, that's hard to explain--by now the bodies should have been found, given the fairly limited search area and intensive rescue efforts. For instance, in the White Sands case you mention, the unfortunate people were found quite quickly. It's been a week now, with dogs and air search--it seems strange there's no sign at all of this missing pair. If they had simply passed out of heat exhaustion and died on the spot, their bodies surely would have been found by now. However, it's still possible, as Myth suggested, that while scrambling they got themselves trapped into a deep hole, and the dogs have missed it.

Whatever the truth of the situation, I sure hope the searchers find some clarity very soon. It must be torture for the families :cry:
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday

Postby Ed » Thu Aug 03, 2017 4:53 pm

Since I am not familiar with the Maze Loop, I googled it and came up with the below:

https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/california/north-view-and-maze-trails

Notice that it says it is 'best used from March to September'. Hard to believe, though, that anybody from Southern California would not realize that this is an error.
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday

Postby RichardK » Thu Aug 03, 2017 5:38 pm

Ed wrote:they have not been able to find the bodies after a long, intensive search.


Bill Ewasko has not been found after a far longer, far more intensive search. JT has a lot of nooks and crannies. See Occam's Razor: among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected.
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