Discovery of body ends search for missing 38-year-old at Joshua Tree, rangers say

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Joshua Tree National Park officials found a body in the park days after they began searching for a missing man.

Patrick Lynn Welz, a 38-year-old from Twentynine Palms, was last seen on June 5 leaving for a drive to Riverside to visit his father, according to the National Park Service. Five days later, he was reported missing to the National Park Service.

Park officials began searching for Welz and found his truck abandoned in a parking lot.

Joshua Tree rangers said Monday that they suspended the search for Welz after a body was found within the park.

The body has not yet been identified. Park officials did not say where or how the body was discovered.

“A recovery operation is ongoing,” park officials said. “Identification is pending an investigation by the San Bernardino County Medical Examiner.”

This is the second hiker death in Joshua Tree in the past 30 days. The body of a 20-year-old Oceanside man was found after being missing for nine days in May.

Body of hiker missing for 10 days found in Joshua Tree desert, officials say

Joshua Tree encompasses 800,000 acres of desert land and has few facilities within the park. The weather can change quickly, and there is no cell phone service in the park.

“Though beautiful, the desert environment can be harsh and unforgiving,” park officials said. “Preparedness is critical for your safety.”

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