California family found dead on hike likely killed by heat and dehydration, sheriff says

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The California household that died successful August portion hiking successful Sierra nationalist wood was killed by vigor and probable dehydration, instrumentality enforcement officials announced connected Thursday, providing immoderate answers to a enigma that had baffled investigators for months.

The Mariposa region sheriff’s section believes John Gerrish, 45, his wife, Ellen Chung, 30, their one-year-old daughter, Miju, and their dog, Oski, died connected the hiking way connected 17 August. Temperatures were arsenic precocious arsenic 109F (42.8C) that day, and the bulk of the way has small shadiness oregon trees.

“Heat-related deaths are highly hard to investigate,” said Jeremy Briese, the Mariposa region sheriff.

The antithetic lawsuit had stumped instrumentality enforcement since 17 August erstwhile officials recovered the bodies of the household and their canine connected a distant hiking way adjacent the Devil’s Gulch country successful Sierra nationalist forest. Their conveyance was located a small much than a mile away, adjacent a gross to the forest. A person had reported the family, described arsenic avid hikers, arsenic missing.

When officials found the bodies, nary signs of the origin of decease were instantly clear, and the country was concisely treated arsenic a hazmat site. The sheriff’s section described the lawsuit arsenic an “unusual, unsocial situation”.

The lawsuit transfixed the authorities and prompting nationalist quality sum arsenic instrumentality enforcement and online sleuths sought to find what happened to the family.

In the months since, officials had considered but yet ruled retired a fig of different causes of death, including toxic algae, c monoxide, utmost heat, vulnerability to state from mines successful the area, a lightning strike, termination and drugs.

Water sources successful the country wherever the household was recovered tested affirmative for toxic algae. In September, Sierra nationalist wood closed trails adjacent wherever the household died, citing “unknown hazards recovered successful and adjacent the Savage Lundy trail”.

A person of the household antecedently told the San Francisco Chronicle that Gerrish was a San Francisco-based bundle decorator who “fell successful emotion with the Mariposa area” and bought respective homes there. Gerrish was primitively from England, the Fresno Bee reported, and worked remotely for Snapchat portion Chung, who was from confederate California and had antecedently worked arsenic a yoga instructor, was successful postgraduate schoolhouse to go a matrimony and household therapist.

“From everyone we speech to they were highly happy, outgoing and loved uncovering Mariposa, and they were capable to enactment from location and bask nature, and successful the abbreviated clip they were present they made a batch of friends,” Briese told the Chronicle.