Investigators looking into the death of a husband, wife and their 1-year-old daughter say the family died of hypothermia and probable dehydration, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.
The findings put to the end of one of the original theories that toxic fumes from a mine or toxic bacteria blooms from the Merced River caused their death. Authorities say the nearest mine was two miles away and they don’t believe the family got close to it. They also found no evidence the family drank any water from the river.
“This is an unfortunate and tragic event due to weather,” Briese said, reported USA Today. “If you’re going to hike, prepare appropriately.”
Rescuers received reports of Ellen Chung, Jonathan Gerrish, their one-year-old daughter Aurelia Miju Chung-Gerrish and their dog Oski missing on August 17. Crews found them dead along with their dog the next day.
Temperatures reached up to 103 degrees during their hike.
“The loss of a close relative is pain almost beyond words. When that loss is multiplied by four and one of that four is a baby of just one year old, then that pain is indescribable,” Sheriff’s spokesperson Kristie Mitchell said. “Some questions have been answered, and we will use this information as a way of helping us come to terms with the situation. However, the question of why can never be answered and will remain with us.
“Our hearts will never forget the beautiful lives of Jonathan, Ellen, Miju and of course Oski, as they will remain with us wherever we go,” the statement read.
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