October 22, 2017

About that couple found dead in Joshua Tree National Park and "locked in an embrace"...

Remember we were talking about Rachel Nguyen and Joseph Orbeso, based on reports that made it seem as though this loving couple had gotten lost and wandered around until they succumbed to heat and thirst?

It turns out that the two were dead of gunshot wounds (BBC):
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.
No, they were not "embracing each other." He was embracing a dead woman. 
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.
Again: He outlived her, so the positioning of the bodies and the clothing are attributable to him.
"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."
How about the evidence that he shot her to death?

Why was this story ever reported without the obvious detail of death by gunshot wound? And doesn't it still sound like PR? The article ends:
Mr Orbeso's father said in an email to the Southern California News Group that he wants his son "to be remembered as a kind, caring and thoughtful person". "The way he was found beside Rachel holding her as they were seeking shade under the brush says everything you need to know about him as a man and as a human being," Mr Orbeso said.
It's understandable that a father would choose that interpretation, but the news should be the news. 

49 comments:

Oso Negro said...

Let this be a lesson girls - don't go wandering in the wild with a man who carries a gun but lacks a compass.

rhhardin said...

"Almost immediately the two halves of the [divided] original cell began experiencing a desire to unite again, usually with a half of some other cell. This urge has survived down to our time. Its commonest manifestations are marriage, divorce, neuroses, and, a little less frequently, gunfire."

Thurber, Is Sex Necessary

Oso Negro said...

Perhaps later we will discover that her Vietnamese family couldn't bear the idea of her romantically involved with a Filipino, and there was nothing "sympathetic" about the murder-suicide at all.

MisterBuddwing said...

Shades of "Elvira Madigan" (1967):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gazoyvAJYig

Mark said...

Why was this story ever reported without the obvious detail of death by gunshot wound?

This situation is no different from euthanasia/assisted suicide/suicide which is committed as a "merciful release" from suffering and low "quality of life." And under that ideology, now enshrined in law in some places, the official cause of death listed on death certificates is not intentional overdose of deadly medicine or gunshot wound or anything else. Rather, the cause listed is the underlying condition -- in this case, heat and thirst, etc.

Yet another fruit of a totally messed up ideology that is mostly of the left and which has already done so much to cause destruction to humanity.

Robert said...

This story sounds familiar. In the late 60's a high school couple (boy and girl) were found dead on a golf green in Addison IL. He was Asian she was Caucasian. Parents did not approve of relationship. Why do I remember? Years later I found out I was working with the father of the boy. He was one of the nicest and best people I ever worked with. It saddens me to this day. Especially when I hear stories like this. The only thing that brings me a little light is knowing that the son of another coworker married the daughter of our next door neighbor. Japanese. Brings tears to me eyes discussing this.

David Begley said...

This is how fake news happens.

wild chicken said...

Both links go to the same jump rope post.

Ray said...

Because news has become all about the message, and not the facts.

Gabriel said...

You get articles like this because journalism is mostly writing what you are given to write that supports a narrative. So many articles are very nearly verbatim press releases.

The Daily Mail piece originally linked to was composed of snippets taken out of more local newspapers.

Only rarely does a journalist try to get at what's under the surface of the narrative.

Fernandinande said...

I give myself about one-third of a "toldja so!" for making fun of people in the previous thread who were worried about dying from exposure in places like Joshua Tree. Maybe a half...

gspencer said...

". . . that he wants his son 'to be remembered as a kind, caring and thoughtful person,'"

Who just incidentally, and wholly beside the point, is a murderer.

William said...

I can think of a scenario that makes the boy involved look good. I wouldn't blame the parents of either party for thinking of this scenario as the truth. Oslo Negro 's opening and telling comment might also be the truth......Tomorrow I'll forget this story. The parents will live with this to their own deaths. I suppose you can say I'm a more disinterested observer of the truth, but the parents are more heavily invested in their version. They're welcome to it, and maybe they're right. Far more people die of stupidity than malice if you want to play the probabilities.

William said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sane_voter said...

I see no evidence in any of the articles that there was animus between the parents and the dead couple regarding their ethnic differences. I do see a spin from the father of the killer being uncritically reported.

J. Farmer said...

All the evidence does seem to suggest some kind of murder-suicide pact. I suppose we can all speculate until the cows come home, but that and 4 bucks will get you a gallon of milk. The Nguyen family certainly do not seem to believe their daughter was murdered out of malice.

Yancey Ward said...

Putting my cynicism hat, I will offer this explanation for the media stories by way of a hypothetical:

What if the male had been named John Smith and was a white mechanic? How, then, do you think the story would have been reported?

The facts are almost conclusive by themselves- this was a garden variety murder/suicide committed by a man who couldn't stand the thought of losing his girlfriend.

Fernandinande said...

Always carry at least one gallon of water for each person who is going to die.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

Why was this story ever reported without the obvious detail of death by gunshot wound? And doesn't it still sound like PR? The article ends:

Because the hack press cannot be trusted to get anything right, ever.

Lyle said...

Fuck the media. How ugly of them.

Lyle said...

#MeToo was so yesterday.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

If the media want a murder to be kind and loving, the media will paint it that way.

Remember - Trump and Russia colluded for real.

The Clinton made millions thru secret Russian Uranium deals while she was Sec of State - not news worthy.

Michael K said...

It's OK. It's California.

Phil 3:14 said...

That's my narrative, and I'm sticking to it!

Yancey Ward said...

Maybe Chuck can offer us a comment about how they were driven to suicide by Trump.

Phil 3:14 said...

He: okay then, we agree, murder-suicide?
She: Yes...You go first.

Bob Ellison said...

James Thurber on journalism:

When I got to work the next morning, the city editor came
over to my desk. “Let’s see,” he said, “what did I send you out
on yesterday?” “It didn’t pan out,” I told him. “No story.” “The
hell with it, then*” he said. “Here, get on this — lady says there are
violets growing in the snow over in Red Bank.” “Violets don’t
grow in the snow,” I reminded him. “They might in Red Bank,”
he said. “Slide on over there.” I slid instead to a bar and put in
a phone call to the Chief of Police in Red Bank. A desk sergeant
answered and I asked him about the violets. “Ain’t no violence
over here,” he told me, and hung up. Ij: wasn’t much to hang a
story on, as we say, but I hung one on it. But first I had a few
more drinks with a man I had met at the bar, very pleasant fellow,
captain of a bafge qr something. Shortly after the strange case of
the violets in the snow, I left the newspaper game and drifted
into the magazine game.

Big Mike said...

@Althouse, your link to the BBC story doesn’t take me to a BBC story. I don’t get the tone of your post — barring evidence you have yet to present the most plausible hypothesis based on the evidence that they were out of water and their tracks showed them wandering in circles, is that they gave up and took “the easy way out.”

tim in vermont said...

Probably was never a Boy Scout, and had she been a Girl Scout, it wouldn't have helped, except she might have been taught that men were scum and she should have avoided the whole mess!

the most plausible hypothesis based on the evidence that they were out of water and their tracks showed them wandering in circles, is that they gave up and took “the easy way out.”

So, why doesn't the news just present the facts, and allow you to come to whatever conclusion you think is appropriate?

chickelit said...

About eighteen months or two years after the events which terminate this story, when search was made in that cavern for the body of Olivier le Daim, who had been hanged two days previously, and to whom Charles VIII. had granted the favor of being buried in Saint Laurent, in better company, they found among all those hideous carcasses two skeletons, one of which held the other in its embrace. One of these skeletons, which was that of a woman, still had a few strips of a garment which had once been white, and around her neck was to be seen a string of adr├ęzarach beads with a little silk bag ornamented with green glass, which was open and empty. These objects were of so little value that the executioner had probably not cared for them. The other, which held this one in a close embrace, was the skeleton of a man. It was noticed that his spinal column was crooked, his head seated on his shoulder blades, and that one leg was shorter than the other. Moreover, there was no fracture of the vertebrae at the nape of the neck, and it was evident that he had not been hanged. Hence, the man to whom it had belonged had come thither and had died there. When they tried to detach the skeleton which he held in his embrace, he fell to dust.

~Victor Hugo, "The Hunchback Of Notre Dame."

Guns spoiled the modern day narrative and so the journalists, steeped in novels and romanticism, had to remove them.

DavidD said...

Maybe they embraced before he shot her.

Big Mike said...

So, why doesn't the news just present the facts, and allow you to come to whatever conclusion you think is appropriate?

No, tim-in-vermont. Couldn't do that. We are the piss-ignorant unwashed, just ask ARM or Freder or Toothless, and consequently we must be directed how to perceive the story.

James K said...

My first reaction was that they were both dying of thirst, and they opted for suicide rather than a painful death by dehydration. The only question is how close to death were they before the shootings?

vanderleun said...

".... but the news should be the news. "

Oh you funny girl teacher. Me love you long time boom boom.

EDH said...

"Play a U2 record while you're there!"

Mike said...

My first reaction was that they were both dying of thirst, and they opted for suicide rather than a painful death by dehydration. The only question is how close to death were they before the shootings?

Well this is the story being pushed by Orbeso's family locally. They are all over the local news in Palm Springs claiming he "must have had to do it" as an act of mercy. My problem with the story is that everyone who lives in the desert knows you don't go anywhere without adequate water and hiking without water and protective clothing would be even more foolish.

Now ask yourself, who goes hiking without any prep but remembers to take a weapon? What were they afraid of in Joshua Tree, a giant desert tortoise coming up on them? This has premeditated murder suicide written all over it.

James K said...

That could well be, Mike. But it's hard to understand the motive or the method: Why go out to the middle of the desert to do a murder-suicide? It's not as though they're trying to get away with something. And don't underestimate how stupid or naive people can be about nature and hiking. We had a cousin, a doctor and experienced hiker in the NE, who went out hiking alone on Mount Rainier and never came back.

Rabel said...

"Evidence found at the scene shows that the hikers tried desperately to sustain life despite not having viable nourishment."

"It appears they had been rationing their food and had no water."

Leslie Graves said...

I agree with Mike...which then brings up the question of whether it was premeditated by both of them, or just by one of them.

R.J. Chatt said...

I checked Google maps and the trail they were on was less than two miles from the paved road.

RigelDog said...

I wonder why, if they were lost, they would not have used the gun to attract attention.

Ken B said...

J Farmer points out the obvious. It is so obvious I wonder how Althouse can have failed to imagine it. As JF says, we might never know for sure but it sure has the look of, there is no hope and let’s end the suffering. I am a bit taken aback at the implication that if in such a case she had wanted to be shot it would still be reprehensible of him to do it. That smacks of cruelty.

Etienne said...

The first piece of survival equipment I tell people to buy, is a signal mirror. It even works with a moon. Hang it around your neck.

J. Farmer said...

@Mike:

Now ask yourself, who goes hiking without any prep but remembers to take a weapon? What were they afraid of in Joshua Tree, a giant desert tortoise coming up on them? This has premeditated murder suicide written all over it.

News reports have described the male as a security guard and a survivalist. I know many people who travel pretty much every where armed, and none of them have proven to be premeditating murderers. Of course, the premeditate line, like many other lines, is logically possible. Consider your first question, "who goes hiking without any prep but remembers to take a weapon?" If the man was planning to commit murder and did not prepare as a result, what about the woman? You would have to assume she was either okay with going into the desert unprepared or was not knowledgable enough to know she was unprepared. If this is true, the same exact claim could be made of the man. In other words, this question gets you pretty much nowhere.

richardsson said...

I'm familiar with the Joshua Tree National Park. My parents owned property 20 miles north of there from 1955-1992, and I spent months at a time out there during those years. Looking at the map on the UK Daily Mail site, the road where the car was found is Quail Springs Road. A friend of mine's late mother owned a house and five acres across the road from where the car was found on the border of the Park. I visited her in the later years. The Quail Springs Road is all uphill from the Twentynine Palms Highway to where the car was parked and then further uphill to where the bodies were found. All they had to do was walk down hill on the right hand side of the road and they'd be back where they started. They could have even seen the car along the way down. So, I don't believe that part of the story about getting lost and dehydrated. But, I don't know anything else about it. R

Rusty said...

J. @ 5:43
Or the other option. They both knew what they were going there to do.

Mike said...

Hadn't heard he was a "survivalist" but that only adds to my WTH? reaction to their state of preparedness. Could be she trusted him, thinking he was prepared for a nice hike.

Mike said...

It's the combo of "unprepared" and armed that got me. We also take weapons into the hills when we go 4X4ing, but we have reflective items, lots of water, etc.

Rusty said...

Mike.
A lot of people call themselves survivalist who have a closet full of guns and a pantry full of canned bacon. it doesn't make them actual survivalists.