Man Reported Missing in Joshua Tree National Park Is Found Alive by Search Team

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A man who went missing for several days while hiking on a trail in Joshua Tree National Park was found alive Thursday by a search and rescue crew, a spokesman for the park told KTLA sister station KSWB. Paul Hanks has apparently fallen and was injured but was alert and conscious, and was taken to a hospital.

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A 54-year-old attorney from Santee is missing in Joshua Tree National Park after going hiking on the same trail where an Orange County couple got lost and eventually died in a murder-suicide last year.

Park spokesperson George Land confirmed that Paul Hanks, an attorney and real estate broker, left San Diego on Sunday, his 54th birthday, to go hiking in Joshua Tree, according to KTLA sister station KSWB in San Diego.

But Hanks never checked into the hotel room he had reserved for the evening.

Hanks is a frequent Joshua Tree visitor, Land said, and a minimalist who was hiking alone and may not have brought excess gear. It is rainy and cool there, so rescuers are also worried about hypothermia.

The missing man is described as being about 5 feet 9 inches tall, with dark hair and in good physical conditions.

Search teams are deployed in the area and Joshua Tree National Park Search and Rescue volunteers have an incident command center at the trailhead. Hanks’ family is also at the park, Land confirmed.

Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to call 760-367-5518.

Hanks’ white pickup truck was found at the Maze Loop parking lot, the same trail where Joseph Orbeso and Rachel Nguyen’s car was discovered before the couple’s bodies were found in the park with fatal gunshot wounds.

Authorities and family members suspected the murder-suicide had been a “sympathetic” killing after Nguyen suffered an injury at the couple became stranded in the park.

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