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 OtherHand » Thu Nov 02, 2017 12:34 pm

It's apparently been legal to carry firearms in national parks since 2009. I did not know this. I would never, ever feel such a thing was necessary for a place like Joshua Tree, despite having come across mountain lion tracks. But there are plenty of idiots out there who feel "safer" by carrying a weapon in JTNP. This story, in the OC Register, discusses it a bit. Especially depressing is reading the comments of all those enlightened folks who feel guns make them safe, even in a place like Joshua Tree. Register commentators do have a reputation of being some of the nastiest around, so bear that in mind. There is an argument to be made that if Orbeso wasn't carrying a weapon they wouldn't have been able to ended their unbearable suffering and just maybe walked to town instead. If you buy that scenario anyway.
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday [7/27

Postby Ed » Thu Nov 02, 2017 2:29 pm

I believe that Joe Orbeso was said to be carrying a knife, before we knew he was carrying a gun. Could have been a pocket knife, but if he was a would-be survivalist, it was probably a big hunting or military knife. Surely his father knew he was carrying a gun, but did not seem to be advertising it. I wonder if he mentioned it to the authorities.

People who carry guns and big knives in the wilderness make me nervous. I am sure many of them are good people, but they certainly have a mistaken view of where the dangers lie. And I must admit to being mildly prejudiced against people who are into survival stuff and guns. Again, I am sure many of them are good people, but they strike me as people who want some kind of faux military or wilderness air, without the actual discipline, hardship or danger.

I do know of one case where a person packed a magnum revolver into the wilderness where I was sympathetic. He was a Sierra Club leader on a trip to Glacier National Park. He was concerned about grizzlies. I knew him, liked him, and respected him, and am sure he was more concerned about the safety of the people in the group than his own safety. It was illegal at the time, and he was run out of the Sierra Club for doing it, when it was brought to the attention of the Angeles Chapter management.
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday [7/27

Postby cynthia23 » Thu Nov 02, 2017 3:40 pm

I mentioned the shade issue in my post. Even though in July shade would be minimal (maybe only a foot or two from cliff) I think it provides a logical answer to why they turned into that side canyon--IF we accept the 'lost hikers in confused distress' theory.

I notice that in the OC article (and thanks for that, OtherHand) the author says their Final Location was 'a day's cross-country hike from any road or trail' :roll: Would be nice if reporters checked on their facts. No wonder people think the 'mercy killing' theory is legitimate.

Eric, previous ranger up at Mt San J, once told me it was perfectly legal to carry guns up there and he couldn't stop people from doing so.
Q: How many therapists does it take to screw in a light bulb? A: Only one, but the light bulb has to want to change ...
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday [7/27

Postby zippetydude » Thu Nov 02, 2017 5:15 pm

In this case reporter ineptitude may turn out to be for the best. If the father and immediate family all actually believe it, they may find some consolation there. I doubt that Rachel's family buys it, but if they do it may bring them some consolation as well. In any case, thanks to Otherhand's efforts the truth seems clear now that the killing took place in such proximity to civilization that there is virtually no chance that they were unaware they could simply walk back out.

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

Postby Wildhorse » Thu Nov 02, 2017 6:15 pm

The state wilderness rules appear to make it illegal to have a gun in wilderness. In federal wilderness it is illegal to shoot anything. That I know. It may be illegal to have a gun as well. That I don't know. So many federal and state laws restrict use in wilderness that it is hard to imagine why a sane person would carry the weight and risk violating a law.

Fortunately, that law from 2010 does not apply to wilderness. And fortunately, a future Comgess might revoke that law and again allow more restrictions in national parks.
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday [7/27

Postby zippetydude » Thu Nov 02, 2017 9:42 pm

Kind of a separate issue from homicide, but a quick take on it:

I run into hunters all the time in the San Gorgonio Wilderness. It is apparently legal to hunt both deer and bear there. I think that is probably a mistake, but I don't have data to back that - it may be that the hunting to extinction of certain apex predators has made it okay to hunt deer, and that the apex predators that survive and are replacing the previous apex predators (i.e. black bears replacing grizzlies) are not as efficient so that it makes numerical sense to hunt them. I'm not knowledgeable enough on the subject to say, but I will hazard an opinion: Until we have so many deer and bear that it becomes a problem, let's let them live their normal life spans in the wilderness along with us so that we can get to know them, come to understand them, and no longer have the desire to kill them. I don't hate hunters - it is a natural instinct for every predatory species including ours. I just think that they ought to have to hunt with a knife and nothing more. That's fair, right? A hunter that jumps a bear with nothing more than a knife has my total respect...though I may pay my respects in more than one way unless he is extraordinarily capable. And that's Nature at its best. Why argue with a system that has worked perfectly up 'til now? Just my 2 cents. : )

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

Postby Wildhorse » Fri Nov 03, 2017 6:45 am

Hi Zippetdude, my understanding has been that hunting is only allowed in certain zones in the forest and not in wilderness. The website shows the sites. I have confirmed that recently with USFS. If you saw hunters recently in wilderness, that is disturbing for all the reasons you gave, and I believe it was illegal.
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday [7/27

Postby Ed » Fri Nov 03, 2017 9:03 am

I think I posted this story once before, but here it is again. I once was browsing in a backpacking store - that's what we called them then - when a man strode in, walked up to the salesperson, and said in a loud country-accent voice 'I want a green backpack for the hunting season'. The salesman politely said, 'No, you want an orange pack for hunting season.' The answer was 'No, last year I had an orange pack and I was shot at. This year I want a green pack.'

Hunters do make me nervous. They particularly made me nervous when I hiked with dogs. I once went to the web to figure out when and where hunting was allowed, but it seemed very complicated.

A doctor in my home town was killed by a shot from an in-law while hunting in Idaho. Not entirely sure it was an accident, judging from the behavior of the widow. But his parents bottled up their suspicions, for fear of losing the connection with their grandchildren.
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday [7/27

Postby bretpct » Fri Nov 03, 2017 11:10 am

I wonder if any more information is likely to be released by the authorities, especially regarding anything recovered from their cell phones, or any other findings from the autopsies. Nguyen's family was told that "Rachel may have been in distress; her T-shirt had been wrapped around her head like a bandage."

One friend dismissed that Orbeso brought a gun with intent to murder, stating, "That is not the kind of person Joseph is... I think he brought a gun out there to protect Rachel. I think they got lost and were suffering in 100-degree heat." This agrees with Orbeso's father describing him as "a protector", as well as his occupation as a security guard.

Statements from friends and family of someone accused of murder should obviously be taken with a grain of salt, but as of yet, no one has come out to say that Orbeso displayed any psychopathic or sociopathic tendencies. And I think the act of luring a friend out in the middle of the desert to murder her would be pretty sociopathic. If he wanted someplace private, why not head down Geology Tour Road? Sure beats hiking in 100 degree heat.

Regarding their final resting place, Otherhand's scouting trip has shown that it would make little sense for them to abruptly head East, when if they followed the main wash, they would have reached town. But there is a possibility they climbed out of the wash in an attempt to get a call out. Then proceeded into the canyon where they were found.

The purple line is a route that follows the washes, and would go over the 40' waterfall where town is visible.
The dashed red line is a possible CC route. Red lines are existing trails.
Image

Perhaps they hiked to the point where some left-behind snacks were found, then back-tracked, and hiked up a gently sloped wall of the canyon. Failing to get a call out, they proceeded North again, and entered the canyon where they were found. It doesn't seem like they would have been able to see houses at any point, except for possibly on the CC route, at which point they reacted normally by heading toward it.
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday [7/27

Postby OtherHand » Fri Nov 03, 2017 12:22 pm

Interesting points, but a few comments.....

First, we really have no idea if any of the clues listed are indeed related to the case. I had an email exchange with someone who had volunteered after the main search was well over, and that person was told none of the clues had panned out. Also, the "blood" clue, while very compelling, shows virtually no searching around it. If the searchers thought it were actually something, they would have flooded the area.

It doesn't feel right to me that they would backtrack up the canyon from the fork, and take an obscure cross country toward the east. At the point they would have turned around, the main canyon is starting to get wide and there's the sense it's starting to open up. I can't imagine someone turning their back on that to head uphill, then an even steeper cross country uphill.

I think, but don't know for sure, that at the crest of the proposed cross country route homes in Joshua Tree would be visible (per Google Earth) and there would be cell coverage. If homes are indeed visible, then it would be more likely to turn around and head back down into the wash as it would be apparent that's where the wash is heading.

Below is a panorama I did from the easterly side of the canyon, just above their final location. It spans almost from the south to the north. The proposed cross country route can be seen in the upper part of the panorama, just to the left of the middle. It's pretty flat up there with likely good views and cell coverage.

Orbeso-pan.jpg
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