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Search for missing pair continues into fourth day

The pair was last heard from Thursday afternoon

Search and rescue efforts in full force

JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. - It was all hands on deck on Monday for the third day in the search of two missing hikers in Joshua Tree National Park where search and rescue teams are facing thousands of square acres of land, in an area which is bigger than the state of Road Island.


“As Far as resources, we’ve thrown everything that we can to find these two young people,” said public information officer for the park, George Land.

Rachel Nguyen, 20, and Joseph Orbeso were last heard from by a ping of his cell that came from inside the park around 4 p.m. Thursday. A lack of any other information has caused frustration for search and rescue teams.

“We have no idea what their intentions were, what their plans were, how long they were going to be here,” co-captain of the volunteer search and rescue team, David Pylman, told KESQ News Channel 3's and CBS Local 2's Katie Widner.

Officials described the couple as being in their early 20's, from the Los Angeles area. Both were expected to check out of their Airbnb accommodation at 11 a.m. on Friday. Authorities said all of their belongings were left behind in their room.

“There were some footprints and we found them in sporadic places, through intermittent areas through the park," Land said. "One thing that will happen when people are in heavy heat stress is that they’ll start taking off pieces of clothing. We haven’t found any of that so far.”

One major discovery on Friday did not provide many leads. The vehicle the pair used was found at the head of a trail located just inside the West entrance to the park. Authorities said it had a few 'scent' items the K-9 search dogs were using as a reference, but no other clues. The vehicle did not show any signs of foul play.

 

Searchers on Monday were also hindered by the weather conditions.

“Given the 30 percent humidity, it’s been really rough out there. The searchers are going through a lot of water and it’s really making them exhausted early,” said Pylman.

Pylman said multiple team members had be come ill during the search. However, the teams remain optimistic.

“We’re always hopeful," said Land. "No-one ever wants to tell a family their loved ones not coming home.”

Members of both the Nguyen and Orbeso families have been out with search teams. Agencies helping in the search include Joshua Tree National Park Search and Rescue, the San Bernardino and Riverside County Sheriff's Departments, the California Highway Patrol, the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service and Border Patrol.

 

"Members of both of the families are here. obviously, they are very concerned, as you or I would be in a situation like this," said Land. "They have been very helpful. We just hope that we can give them a positive outcome.”

If anyone has seen or had contact with a couple fitting the description, you're asked to call San Bernardino Dispatch at (909) 383-5652.

Stay with KESQ and CBS Local 2 for any updates regarding this search. 

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