Search for missing couple in Joshua Tree resumes, trail closed to public

Authorities resumed the search Wednesday for a couple in that went missing in Joshua Tree on Friday.

The Maze Loop Trail has been closed to the public so search teams can preserve as many clues on the trail as possible in order to find Rachel Nguyen, 20, and Joseph Orbeso, 21, of Westminster.

“The public and press were going up there, and obviously the more people walking around potentially destroys leaves and tracks,” Geoge Land, a spokesman for the park, told City News Service (via The Sun). “It’s even hard when someone’s not stepping on (the tracks).”

Officials have also asked that the public please not fly drones into the area.

About 25 searchers have been braving the triple-digit heat, thunderstorms, and monsoonal humidity since the search began.  Conditions were so bad that the search was suspended on Tuesday.

The couple’s car was discovered Friday afternoon about 1.5 miles from the Joshua Tree entrance in the Maze Loop area after and Airbnb host reported the couple missing when they didn’t check in.

Despite the heat and time that has passed by, friends and family of the missing couple remain hopeful.

“I haven’t been able to sleep knowing my best friend in the world is out there,” Austin Young told the Orange County Register. “I am praying to God he is alive.”