An investigation into the discovery of skeletal human remains is underway in the 49 Palms Oasis area of Joshua Tree National Park. On Thursday morning, December 19th, park authorities were contacted by a cooperating agency and alerted that they may have found evidence of human remains while analyzing photographs of the area taken last summer. The discovery is in a remote, rocky, steep location away from any trails.
On Friday, December 20th, Joshua Tree National Park law enforcement rangers hiked to the reported location where they found human skeletal remains and personal belongings. There was no personal identification located with the remains, which appear to have been in that location for some time.
An interagency investigation is currently ongoing, led by National Park Service law enforcement and San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department investigators. At this time, the decedent’s identity has not been confirmed, and the manner of death is undetermined. There are no initial indicators of foul play.
Park officials advise hikers to always let someone know where you plan to hike and what time you plan to return. Always carry more water than you think you will need.