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Body of missing Oceanside hiker found in remote area of Joshua Tree National Park

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Posted at 10:49 AM, May 27, 2021

JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. (KGTV) — The body of a missing Oceanside hiker has been found in a remote area of Joshua Tree National Park, officials said Thursday.

The National Park Service said the body of 20-year-old Joseph Espinoza was located on Wednesday after a California Highway Patrol helicopter found several pieces of clothing leading to his body. Espinoza was found southeast of Ironage Road near Twentynine Palms Highway in the Wonder Valley area.

Thursday, the San Bernardino County coroner positively identified the body as Espinoza, according to the county Sheriff's Department.

Authorities had been searching the area since Sunday for Espinoza.

Espinoza was dropped off for a hike by a family member on May 16. Three days later, the family filed a missing person's report.

ABC 10News spoke to Esinoza's uncle, David Espinoza, who lives in San Marcos. He said that the disappearance was strange since his nephew was a self-described homebody and never ventured out of North County. He also left his phone at home.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department and coroner did not release a cause of death.