Los Angeles: Investigators were baffled on Monday by the unexplained deaths of a family and their pet dog on a California hiking path, almost a week after their corpses were discovered.
There were autopsies done of the bodies of John Gerrish (45), his wife Ellen Chung (31), and their one-year-old daughter Miju revealed no indications of an assault or evident poisoning.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Gerrish was seated with the dog and child, while Chung was discovered a few steps away at the location in Devil’s Gulch, a section of the Sierra National Forest in the state’s north.
Sheriff Jeremy Briese said,
“You come on the scene, and everyone is deceased. There’s no bullet holes, no bottle of medicine, not one clue. It’s a big mystery.”
Despite temperatures reaching 40 degrees Celsius, Briese said the couple last seen on August 15 had water with them, making dehydration improbable (104 Fahrenheit).
Investigators have examined the region for a disused mine shaft, working on the idea that poisonous vapors overpowered the family but have come up empty-handed.
The focus has now shifted to neighboring waterways to examine if harmful algae are to blame.
Water managers issued a notice in the area approximately a month ago, warning against swimming in this section of the Merced River due to the presence of bacterial blooms.
According to scientists, certain blooms include neurotoxins, which are frequently linked to the deaths of dogs who drink from streams.