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Authorities Investigating Deaths of Two Visitors To Joshua Tree National Park



Authorities are investigating the deaths of a man and woman found in a rugged section of Joshua Tree National Park.

Shortly before 7 p.m. Monday a couple visiting the park contacted authorities to report they had found a man's body along the Black Eagle Mine Road in the southeastern section of the park. Emergency personnel who responded found the man's body on the edge of the Mine Road more than 1.5 miles east of the Pinto Basin Road.

A few hours later, deputies found the body of a female along the same road, about a mile east of the man, a release from the Riverside (California) County Sheriff's Department said.  Deputies next found a car stranded on the same road about five miles east of the woman, the release added.

The initial investigation shows the two, whose ages and hometowns were not released, might have been traveling together and might have been using the car, authorities said.

Investigators are asking that anyone with information about the incident call Investigator Prezell Burgie at (760) 863-8945, or the Riverside County Sheriff's Department Indio Station at (760) 863-8990.

At the national park, Chief of Interpretation Joe Zarki said summer is typically the slow season in Joshua Tree because it can be so hot, with temperatures above 100 degrees. Heading off the park's main roads can be dangerous because of the conditions and the lack of passersby who might come to the aid of individuals who become stuck, he said.

“It is certainly possible for a person to go out there and get themselves in difficulty," Chief Zarki said.

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