A new report out into the death of a mom, dad, baby and their pet dog in the high Sierra near Yosemite concludes the family died trying to save their daughter.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that investigators have concluded the couple died in August desperately trying to save their daughter from succumbing to dehydration and hyperthermia in temperatures up to 109 degrees.
They carried just 84 ounces of water, well short of the recommended 320 ounces.
Rescuers found Ellen Chung 13 feet higher in elevation than her husband Jonathan Gerrish, their 1-year-old daughter Miju and pet dog Oski.
They believe Chung went off to get help while Gerrish cared for the rest of the family.
“Sadly, I believe they were caught off guard, and once they realized their situation, they died trying to save their child and each other,” a survival trainer quoted in a 77 page report wrote to detectives. “It is likely the child began to succumb first, which hurried the parents’ efforts up the hill. When one could no longer continue, they stayed behind to care for the child and pet, while the other tried to forge on and get help for their loved ones. It is a tragedy of the highest order.”
According to the New York Post, testing of water found in the area detected levels of toxins. However, there is no indication the couple drank any of that water.
“Our hearts will never forget the beautiful lives of Jonathan, Ellen, Miju, and, of course, Oski,” the family said in a statement quoted by the Post in August. “They will remain with us wherever we go.”
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