Young couple from Orange County missing in national park

JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK — A young Westminster couple went hiking in the national park Thursday and have not been seen since.

Searchers in the air and on the ground, including K9 teams, are scouring the national park for 20-year-old Rachel Nguyen and 21-year-old Joseph Orbeso.

The two were staying at an Airbnb and were supposed to check out at 11 a.m. Friday. When they did not, the host became worried and looked for them in their rental. “It did not appear that anyone had been there overnight,” Dan Messaros of the National Park Service said.

The Airbnb host reported Nguyen and Orbeso missing to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, and a search was launched.

The couple’s car, a burgundy Lexus, was found Friday afternoon about 1½ miles into the park from the Joshua Tree entrance, left on a dirt lot in the Maze Loop area, Messaros said.

The volunteer Joshua Tree Search and Rescue Team was called in at 4 p.m. Friday and trackers found prints near couple’s car, the team reported.

Team members believed they found the couple’s tracks heading north into a canyon, but they did not find any further sign of Nguyen or Orbeso.

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