Family found dead on a hiking trail near Yosemite. The authorities don’t know what happened


Authorities in Mariposa County, Calif., Are trying to determine why a family of three and their dog died on a secluded hiking trail in the Sierra National Forest near Yosemite National Park.

Search and rescue officers on Tuesday found the bodies of John Gerrish, Ellen Chung, their one-year-old daughter, Miju, and the family dog ​​near the Devil’s Gulch area in the Merced River watershed , the Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office said. in a press release.

They had been reported missing on Monday evening.

There was no immediate sign of trauma for family members, no suicide note or other clear indication of what caused their deaths, County Sheriff’s Information Officer Kristie Mitchell told CNN. by Mariposa.

First responders initially treated the area as a potentially dangerous scene due to fears that carbon monoxide from nearby mines had poisoned the family.

Last month, the US Forest Service warned that toxic algae had been discovered in the Merced River and urged people not to swim, wade or allow their pets to drink the water.

The bodies have been recovered and are in the process of an autopsy, but Mitchell said they will likely have to wait for toxicology results – which could take weeks – to determine the cause of death.

“It’s just a tragic and frustrating case for us,” Mitchell said. “It will probably be a long and tedious investigation.”

The family’s bodies were found on the Savage-Lundy Trail, which is popular in the spring due to its colorful wildflowers. Mitchell said it is very hot this time of year and there is little shade.

She said the family were well prepared for a day hike.

There is no cell service in the area, so search and rescue teams had to rely on satellite phones to communicate.

“It’s never the outcome we want or the news we want to announce, my heart breaks for their family. Our chaplains and sheriff staff are working with their families and will continue to support them during this heartbreaking time,” he said. Sheriff Jeremy Briese said in a statement.

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