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A family in Northern California and their dog, who were found mysteriously dead in a remote hiking area, may have died of hyperthermia and possible dehydration, officials said Thursday.

The Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office previously said the update on the deaths of John Gerrish, wife Ellen Chung, their 1-year-old daughter Mizu and their dog Oski, an 8-year-old Australian/Akita mix, would be the final investigation. Update on the matter.


California officials turn to cellphone data and social media in family’s mysterious deaths

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The family was found dead on August 17 on the Savage Lundy Trail near the Merced River in the Sierra National Forest. Gerrish, a software engineer who previously worked at Google, was reported missing by a friend after he failed to report on the work.

Mariposa County Sheriff Jeremy Bryce said the area where they were hiking had temperatures between 107 degrees and 109 degrees at one point and there was little shade.

“This is again, an unfortunate and sad event because of the weather,” he said. “It is extremely difficult to investigate heat-related deaths.”

He said Gerrish and Chung were wearing shorts and tank tops on the hike and their water container was empty. They were found more than 1.5 miles away from their vehicle.

Hiking trail map shows where the Gerrish family was found dead in August.

In a statement to the Gerish-Chung families, they said the loss of their loved ones was compounded by the death of a young child.

“The question ‘why?’ Can never be answered and will be with us,” the family said. “Our hearts will never forget the beautiful lives of Jonathan, Ellen, Mizu and, of course, Oski. Wherever we go and whatever we do, they will be with us.”

The deaths stunned investigators as foul play was denied. Officials said at the time that there were no signs of wounds or trauma on the bodies.

One theory investigated was the high levels of toxic algae in the river. In July, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife warned that “water testing along the Merced River near Hitts Cove…[s] A high concentration of algae blooms.”

Other possible causes that were thought to be responsible for the deaths were toxic gases in the area.

The deaths led the Bureau of Land Management to shut down campgrounds and recreation areas along 28 miles of the river, between the cities of Brisburg and Bagby, when samples of the water downstream from where the family died showed high levels of toxic algae. showed to

Sierra National Forest A family in Northern California and their dog were found dead on a trial hiking in the woods.

Autopsies performed on the family and autopsy of the dog were considered inconclusive. Investigators have worked with toxicologists, environmental experts, and other experts.