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

General Palm Springs area.

Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday [7/27

Postby Wildhorse » Mon Oct 30, 2017 7:39 am

Otherhand, your analysis is illuminating. It seems likely that they walked up from the wash into the side canyon.

Perry, maybe they were not there until after SAR passed by and the aircraft flew over. Maybe the neighbor really did see them in town. I think we don't really know when they entered that canyon for the murder to take place.

Myth, your words so elegantly describe the peaceful experience the desert offers. Long ago, before I knew the desert, a friend told me about this peace. I believed him, but could not see it. I do now, but still there are some prickly places that I avoid. One is a canyon in southeastern Joshua Tree. It is so dense with cholla that it got all four of us. My friend described the desert as being "so clean." It is cleansing for me know. I can let go and relax there just as you have so beautifully written.

I don't like murders, especially not in the desert.
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday [7/27

Postby Ed » Mon Oct 30, 2017 9:28 am

OtherHand very correctly points out that we are all speculating with a meager set of facts. But that is fairly common, I am comfortable with that. There is something that bothers me more. Given the freedom to speculate, I can't settle on a theory that I believe comfortably fits the few facts we know. For example, the two basic facts, the final location and death by gun. It is easy for me to imagine them becoming lost, striking out for Joshua Tree, and collapsing in that location. Sean has pointed out that people can collapse very short of safety. But I can't imagine them settling on a death pact there. Either they have enough strength to hope that one of them can make it or they will be found, or not enough strength to discuss it, agree on it, and do it. It is a bit like agreeing on a suicide pact halfway down the tram road. On the other hand, it does not look to me to be the likely location for a planned murder-suicide.

Perhaps if one of us visits the site, it will seem more clear.
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday [7/27

Postby Wildhorse » Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:51 am

Going there would be unpleasant to me. Maybe someone else will go and tell us what they see.

I spent yesterday in DTLA, in its gentrifying ruins. Among the wealthy, others lie beyond hope, dumped on the ground, as around Echo Lake. It's not that different in LA and the Mohave Desert, it seems. Body dumping everywhere. Meanwhile, a few blocks away bored hip elites waited to be seated at Ostrich Farm on Sunset, holding pretty paper parasols to shield themselves from the sun, surrounded by the poor, and the stoned and the insane.
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday [7/27

Postby Perry » Mon Oct 30, 2017 12:08 pm

Ed, that's what I've been thinking. There isn't a straightforward explanation that doesn't leave questions.

Wildhorse, I was thinking of double-murder. Somebody stashing the bodies in a crevice, then later realizing it was inevitable that somebody would find them, then coming back later to stage everything. But that would be very difficult for someone to pull off without leaving evidence. Hallucinogen use by Orbeso would make it easier.

In the scenario of murder-suicide, it's seems unlikely that Orbeso would stage the whole crime scene to make it look like they were trying to survive. Technically possible, but realistic? Maybe a psychologist or criminologist would know.

In the scenario of assisted suicide & suicide, it seems likely that they would have seen houses or city lights at some point and had enough reception to send a text. Rumor has it that AT&T has an antenna on Serin Tower, and the splash map shows some reception along the route they walked in the canyons.

Like Tom said, authorities know more than we do. Maybe we'll never know the answers to some questions.
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday [7/27

Postby cynthia23 » Mon Oct 30, 2017 2:06 pm

Myth, your defense of the wild places of the desert and the indigenous people who inhabited it, was eloquent and elegant. I think for those who are realistic and well-prepared, the desert can indeed be a true haven. For those who are operating on a commercialized fantasy of the desert, it can be a harsh wake-up call ...

Otherhand's analysis seems spot on and certainly accords with the photos and maps. They were heartbreakingly and pretty obviously very close to civilization. I think we can completely rule out 'mercy killing' as a RATIONAL decision. But I agree with Ed that no one theory, including the 'planned murder' seems to offer a fully satisfactory explanation. I would really like to know if trackers have retraced the couple's journey from their final location to the trailhead. Surely that would tell us something. It might allow us to know, for one thing, how long it took for them to get to the final location. That in turn might tell us what their mental condition was at the time they reached the final location. Had they been trekking for, say, only six or seven hours, it's hard to believe they were in a state of complete heat and dehydration-induced derangement.

Another troubling/confusing issue is that if Orbeso WAS in a state of heat-induced dizzy derangement so severe he was unable to reason/see that they were quite close to civilization, how was it he was able to operate a somewhat complex piece of machinery--i.e. the gun? This isn't like someone crazily bashing someone with a rock--he had to possess enough conscious awareness to find it, cock it, aim it, and fire it, and then perform the whole operation again on himself.

To me, again, the only theory that feels like it answers most of the puzzles is drug use on the hike, causing them to lose the trail and then, combined with heat stress, creating such confusion and disorientation and distress in both of them that they both were hysterical, and he used the gun. After all, in non-hiking 'real life' we know that alcohol and drug use, combined with immediate access to a gun, trigger a majority of suicides and homicides as well as rapes and assaults. There are very few sober violent crimes.

I certainly understand why the families would greatly prefer the 'nice' explanation, but if drugs were the cause of this calamity, it would be better for society if the truth came out.

Interesting article in this weekend's Desert Sun sunday magazine about how young hipster tourists are overrunning Joshua Tree, turning all the housing stock into airbnb's, etc. Also a mention of the ongoing drug use problem.
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday [7/27

Postby Ric Capucho » Mon Oct 30, 2017 2:10 pm

Time for me to *really* stick my neck out: the energy used by the couple to purportedly manage their rations for a few days, pull scant cover over themselves, to have that final conversation with each other, and for one to pull the trigger (twice), could have been far better spent covering the final couple of miles to sanctuary. And even if one was injured, then I can’t believe that the other was too lacking in curiosity to have a peep around the corner of the side canyon to see where all the distant traffic noise was coming from.

So I don’t buy the mercy murder/mercy suicide theory one bit.

No need to “stage the crime scene to make it look like they were trying to survive” if the murder was followed by a few days whilst the murderer summoned the courage necessary for the suicide.

I believe Orbeso sat it out alone.

We may never truly know why, but the two “erroneous” ping locations set off the SAR people in a merry dance all around Lower Covington, Smithwater Canyon, Quail Wash, Quail Spring and up onto Quail Mountain itself. The Riverside police even searched Juniper Flats. That’s a huge investment in time and resources, and I have strong reason to believe (actually I know, because confined search boxes were drawn around the ping locations) that the SAR people rightly or wrongly trusted those ping locations to be accurate. Extremely accurate.

So my question is this: were the pings indeed erroneous, and the wild goose chase just that; a wild goose chase whilst Orbeso (and perhaps a dead or severely injured Nguyen) sat it out in that side canyon? Or did Orbeso (the afternoon of the first day) take a walk into the sunset which resulted in a loop of the western side of the Park, only to return the next day because there was simply nowhere else to go to?

That’s my bet.

The rollercoaster of this case continues, and I’m taking bets that the twists and turns aren’t over yet. The autopsy report will likely shed more light.

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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday [7/27

Postby cynthia23 » Mon Oct 30, 2017 10:16 pm

Some very intriguing notions in there Ric. The idea that he might have killed her, then sat there indecisively for some considerable time more, or wandered around, had not occurred to me. It sounds quite possible.

But for me, the major problem is the time of year. Had it been December, I'd be sure it was planned homicide. But in July, I'm not sure. It just seems to me that the distance they traveled between the trailhead and final location, on a hot day in July, would be impossible (for two non-hiker non-desert rat people) to traverse without getting very, very messed up. By the time they got there I can't see that anybody could be up for a planned homicide. But since I've never hiked there I don't know that for a fact. Maybe Orbeso was fresh as a daisy and ready to kill. Maybe they got there much faster than I think. That's why I think retracing their route, and establishing more clearly just how long they'd been walking before hitting the final location, would be very helpful. I wonder if any of you folks who are very familiar with the area, and who are looking at the map, would care to make a wild guesstimate of the distance between the trailhead and the final location? Obviously, they didn't go straight, and obviously we don't know how circuitious their route may or may not have been--but still I'd be interested to hear from folks how long they think it MIGHT have taken Orbeso and Nguyen to walk from the TH to the final location and how much elevation gain there was. I'm guessing, based purely on the pings, that they had been walking around all day, i.e. about ten hours, and hit the final location around 5 pm, at the peak of the day's heat, and tried to shelter under the bush. Ten hours of strenuous exercise in that weather seems more than enough to put them in serious heat stress, and to rule out a planned murder. But if they could have gotten to the final location in, say, three hours, i.e. by ten a.m.--then I think the planned murder scenario becomes very likely. If the final location was relatively accessible, and if their footprints suggest they went there directly, then I could see Orbeso luring her up there with the promise of doing shrooms in a secluded off-trail location. Then he kills her, hangs out for a while, drinks all the water, eats some of the food, wanders around, and kills himself.

But, I think Sean made some valid points about Orbeso--the mention that the hike had been planned by Nguyen, with other friends slated to come along who then bailed, seems to make it less likely Orbeso planned a murder (although, still, he could have seen his chance to get her alone in a lonely place, and seized upon it.)

I think nailing down how long they had been walking before they got to the final location is key to understanding whether it was a planned murder or basically a heat/drug-deranged act. Even if it was the latter, though, I think Orbeso is culpable morally, because, it seems to me Orbeso was a depressed/angry guy who subconsciously or passive-aggressively manipulated events to have an inevitably tragic outcome.
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday [7/27

Postby Wildhorse » Tue Oct 31, 2017 6:55 am

How did learn that he was angry and depressed?
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday [7/27

Postby Florian » Tue Oct 31, 2017 7:05 am

cynthia23 wrote:I wonder if any of you folks who are very familiar with the area, and who are looking at the map, would care to make a wild guesstimate of the distance between the trailhead and the final location? Obviously, they didn't go straight, and obviously we don't know how circuitious their route may or may not have been--but still I'd be interested to hear from folks how long they think it MIGHT have taken Orbeso and Nguyen to walk from the TH to the final location and how much elevation gain there was.

Straight line from trailhead where their car was found to location of bodies is less than 2 miles. I'd guess 3.5 to 4 mile hike. Trailhead elevation roughly 3900', bodies roughly 3300' based on topo.
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday [7/27

Postby cynthia23 » Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:15 pm

Thank you Florian! That's very, very interesting. If they were lost and doing a lot of up and down, up and down, their mileage could have doubled, and that's not 'chopped liver' on a hot day--but if they got to the final location by going slowly down a wash (which I think someone mentioned earlier in the thread), they could have arrived to FL within a few hours?

Wildhorse--re 'angry and depressed'--that's purely my armchair speculation. It's only based on circumstantial things--he was working at an embarrassing minimum wage job (according to one of his posts I saw, previous jobs had been at a Der Wienerschnizel), he had dropped out of college, didn't have a car, still lived at home, and his social media posts never show any friends or healthy interests, just pictures of anime and vaping (he seems to have been interested in the vaping business?) Oh, and he didn't have a girlfriend and seemed to use a lot of drugs. So ..... I'm gonna hazard a guess he was depressed and frustrated. Or, rather--I'm going to go out on a limb and say that a young man who seems to have been reasonably bright (posts were literate, grammatical, he mentions a few books), yet who has dropped out of college, is still living at home, working shit job, etc, probably is that way because something is wrong with him--depression, drug use. But that's not to say he committed a planned murder, at all. Just that his mental state likely is a significant factor in whatever happened.

Something that occurred to me is that someone should check on the location of the FIRST airbnB he previously stayed at with his friend and see how close it is (or isn't) to the Final Location. Someone at the websleuths page somehow tracked it down. I know that it was fairly close to JTNP. His friend said 'they' didn't hike inside JTNP during stay, but perhaps Orbeso took an early morning stroll from the airbnb right up that wash, spotted the little side canyon, and thought it would make a good place to come back to another day (for whatever purpose.) That might clarify whether their presence in FL was pure unlucky happenstance or something planned.
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