Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday [7/27/17]

General Palm Springs area.

Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday [7/27

Postby cynthia23 » Fri Nov 03, 2017 2:04 pm

Some excellent posts OtherHand and BretPCT, thanks for adding further pieces of info.

As I mentioned in previous post, the (only) likely reason they would go back uphill into the second wash is because they'd seen houses below, tried to make a phone call out, failed, and then went up the second wash with the idea that they might get coverage if they just got a little higher above ground.

The blood spot, if it was legitimate, could suggest an injury received while boulder-scrambling or climbing. This could have initiated panic, perhaps worsened by drug use (I've found MANY posts online in which people talk about scrambling boulders at JTNP while ON drugs.) Maybe, after not getting cell response near the site of the accident, Orbeso foolishly decided that the fastest way to get Nguyen to help would be to go down the wash, rather than returning on the trail.

Or. The blood spot (if it was legitimate) could support Wildhorse's notion of a forced-march kidnapping, in which Nguyen and Orbeso argued violently and physically during the hike--resulting in an injury to Nguyen--and Orbeso forced Nguyen to walk down the wash. When Orbeso saw houses below, he forced Nguyen up a smaller side canyon to the area where he made the decision to kill her. A lurid and extreme explanation, certainly--but this event DID end in a murder-suicide, after all.

It seems to me the key to find the truth here will really be whether their phones show evidence of attempted 911 calls.
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday [7/27

Postby Ric Capucho » Fri Nov 03, 2017 2:31 pm

Or. The blood spot (if it was legitimate) could support Wildhorse's notion of a forced-march kidnapping, in which Nguyen and Orbeso argued violently and physically during the hike--resulting in an injury to Nguyen--and Orbeso forced Nguyen to walk down the wash. When Orbeso saw houses below, he forced Nguyen up a smaller side canyon to the area where he made the decision to kill her. A lurid and extreme explanation, certainly--but this event DID end in a murder-suicide, after all.

It seems to me the key to find the truth here will really be whether their phones show evidence of attempted 911 calls.



Thanks, Cynthia, this third and fourth paragraph of your post pretty much summarises my view.

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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday [7/27

Postby Ed » Fri Nov 03, 2017 3:03 pm

Not sure how large this 'blood spot' is. I have seen the results of several head wounds, one from a traffic accident and two from climbing falls. They produced an amazing amount of blood, which I understand is common with head wounds, even when they are not serious. Evidently the scalp is filled with blood vessels.

I agree with Cynthia and Ric, if we knew what was on the cell phones, that could make quite a difference. No last minute photos or messages to family and friends, with a compassionate murder-suicide? Seems unlikely.
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday [7/27

Postby cynthia23 » Fri Nov 03, 2017 3:27 pm

Thanks Ric. And good point, Ed, head wounds DO produce a fair amount of blood.

And, as Otherhand points out, who knows if this is a real clue? Did searchers actually find blood spots, or did the dogs just scent for blood? If the latter, Otherhand's previous post on dogs in rescue work makes me doubt how accurate they really are. Could be a false scent.

But if searchers found actual human blood residue, that certainly demands an explanation.
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday [7/27

Postby Graboid » Sat Nov 04, 2017 3:47 pm

The physical terrain pics only strengthen my assumption that there should have been ample opportunity to reach a point high enough to view civilization, even if it was just 50ft up an available slope. I find it hard to imagine they didn't have an idea of the general proximity.

My interest in this is the same as it always is in such cases. Trying to understand how catastrophically bad decisions get made, which would apply if they innocently went hiking. I've made plenty of inexplicably (in hindsight) bad decisions which always leave me aghast, but I try real hard to cover the potentially catastrophic and preventable ones. Never like to get too confident, though.

The two questions I constantly ask myself:
1. What could go wrong
2. What might I not know.

As a relevant aside, I thought the book "Deep Survival - Who lives, Who dies, and Why" was a great read.
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday [7/27

Postby cynthia23 » Tue Nov 07, 2017 1:59 pm

Graboid, thank you for reminding me that for years now, I've been meaning to read 'Deep Survival', as it has always sounded like a fascinating read. I'm going to make an effort to go get it now. As Ed says, one of the great things about this board is I get some excellent book recommendations.

We benefit from understanding how the human mind reacts to threats and danger, as this helps us to craft a more useful response in 'challenging' situations. That said--I do think that the uncomfortable truth is that random luck plays a role in 'who survives'. A response may be adaptive in some situations, fatal in others. Take 'freezing'--in disasters like ship sinkings, etc. survivors report others froze into a catatonic state and could not/would not jump to safety and thus died. Yet in other situations (especially animal attack) freezing might be correct, and those who run, are killed. Other situations (mass shootings, say) are so chaotic that both responses (running vs. freezing) might save some, kill others. Humans need to believe we have some measure of control over even the worst, but sometimes we don't. When I look back over my own life, I (shudder) as I see how many situations did not spiral into calamity purely by random luck--or the grace of God, perhaps.

All we can do is educate and prepare ourselves as best as possible, yet stay humble regarding ourselves and kind toward those who do stumble into catastrophes.
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday [7/27

Postby OtherHand » Tue Nov 07, 2017 5:24 pm

I'll second the recommendation for "Deep Survival". When I first read it a number of years ago I was initially a bit disappointed. I thought the book was going to provide insights into how some people survive almost insurmountable situations, and it did a bit, but not what I expected. But what I found to be the book's most valuable aspect was its discussion of how people get into survival situations and their developing tunnel vision. And its depiction of how people get lost remains strongly with me. That is, when a person suddenly realizes they no longer know where they are, they push forward and onward, possibly with a misunderstanding of their true position, rather than retrace their steps back to where they knew where they were. After reading that book I've learned to always keep looking back on the route I came in on so I could backtrack if I needed to.
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday [7/27

Postby zippetydude » Tue Nov 07, 2017 10:07 pm

Cynthia, I have a copy that you are welcome to "borrow" (you won't need to return it). I can drop it off with you or at a place you specify (let's say near the museum entrance to Skyline) the next time I'm out that way. I liked your description of the seeming randomness of how survival is bestowed upon some, denied others. A wonderful, relaxing read along that thread - though not about humans, but rather about the animals on the African plains that go on amazing migrations and the predators that accompany them - is Season on the Plain, by Franklin Russell. I would recommend it if you're going to have a few hours every now and then and you'd like to take a little time to just exist, to be a virtual spectator of time passing over eons on the African high plains. Cool vocabulary employed as well. Can you say "phantasmagoric" boys and girls?

Otherhand, I learned the lesson that you learned through reading, only mine was in a frightful real life experience. I was young, maybe 14, and went backpacking in the San Gorgonio Wilderness to High Meadow Springs with a cousin. He and I hiked down a way from the springs, then, when we turned around, had very different points of view about the way we had gotten there. We were each so certain of our correct memory (I was wrong, he was right) that we separated. I remember thinking, "Even if he's wrong, the trail runs along the ridge so it will save his butt." Turns out that my memory of the trail running along the ridge saved MY butt! From then on, I have kept a constant vigil on any daytime hikes to maintain a rear view perspective of the routes I go. Nowadays I will often even take pics on my phone just to clarify route choices and best ways to return.

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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday [7/27

Postby cynthia23 » Wed Nov 08, 2017 3:17 pm

I'd love to borrow the book, Zip--maybe we can figure out a good time/place to rendevous (PM me?)

Otherhand, you're right, what's really important is the process that occurs when people start descending into a calamity and how thinking becomes distorted. Also, that drive to 'push on' is one to resist. That's why that first piece of advice, we all know, is to 'STOP' and take a few minutes to calm down and think through the situation. And, to keep an eye on where you've been, not just where you're going.
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