Human bones found at Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree
The sun looms behind a Joshua tree at the national park in a file photo.
(Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)

Authorities discovered skeletal remains in a remote part of Joshua Tree National Park last week with the help of photographs of the area that were taken during the summer.

An outside agency that was analyzing aerial photos it had taken of a rocky, steep portion of the national park away from trails spotted evidence of human remains in the pictures and called the National Park Service on Thursday. The next day, rangers hiked to the Fortynine Palms Oasis area and discovered the heavily decomposed body, National Park Service officials said in a news release.

Belongings were near the body, but rangers could not find any personal identification. The remains appear to have been in the area for an extended period of time, and officials said there were no signs of foul play.

The National Park Service and San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department are working to identify the remains and determine how the person died.


It is not clear whether the discovery was related to the disappearance of Paul Miller, a 51-year-old Canadian man who was believed to be hiking in the Fortynine Palms Oasis area when he went missing in 2018, according to the Desert Sun.

Mike Leon, a park law enforcement officer, told the newspaper that the park is in contact with Miller’s family. The San Bernardino County coroner’s office has taken custody of the remains.

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