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Joshua Tree National Park deaths probed

August 24, 2011 |  9:05 am

Joshua Tree National Park
Authorities are investigating the deaths of two people found in Joshua Tree National Park, where temperatures have soared above 100 degrees this week.

Authorities believe the man and woman were traveling together when they became stranded, according to a statement from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

The man’s body was found at 7 p.m. Monday along Black Eagle Mine Road, about one mile from the park’s major thoroughfare.

Hours later, deputies discovered the woman’s body a mile east. They also found what they believe to be the couple's vehicle about five miles away from her body.

The sedan appeared to be stuck in the dirt road, said Cpl. Courtney Donowho of the sheriff's department.

She said the cause of death had not been determined and autopsies were scheduled Wednesday.

“It was extremely hot and this could have been heat-related, but we don’t know yet for certain,” she said, adding investigators are trying to “retrace these folks’ steps that they took prior to being found out there.”

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-- Sam Allen

Photo: Joshua Tree National Park. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times.

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