A California couple who went missing in July in the Joshua Tree National Park are believed to have died in a murder-suicide pact, police have said.

Rachel Nguyen, 20 and Joseph Orbeso, 22, were first discovered on 15 October by a search and rescue party that included Mr Orbeso’s father.

Police said evidence at the scene suggested that Mr Orbeso shot Ms Nguyen before turning the gun on himself.

It appeared they were low on food and without water, an official said.

San Bernardino sheriff’s spokeswoman Cindy Bachman told the BBC the couple was found under a tree and appeared to be embracing each other.

She said Mr Orbeso and Ms Nguyen had positioned their clothing to cover their lower legs to protect themselves from the heat.

Investigators found a handgun registered to Mr Orbeso at the scene, she added.

“The circumstances are really like no other search operation that we’ve been involved in,” Ms Bachman said.

“But there is no evidence that leads [investigators] to believe that he was intending to harm her.”

Mr Orbeso and Ms Nguyen were reported missing on 28 July after they failed to check out of their Airbnb accommodation in the Morongo Basin area.

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SOURCE: BBC News

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