CA - Jonathan Gerrish, Ellen Chung, daughter, 1 & dog, suspicious death hiking area, Aug 2021 #5

Discussion in 'Up to the Minute' started by dalsglen, Aug 18, 2021.

  1. 5W's

    5W's Member

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    Another thing I find puzzling is that why would experienced hikers take only one water bladder for the entire family. Like I stated before more questions than answers. Yes it is ambiguous that we don't know what they carried with them. However, if they had for example small boxed juice drinks or energy drinks that would say that perhaps they intended to hike some ways. But, one water bladder doesn't make sense to me unless they only intended to be hiking a short distance or at a slow pace. They would also want to keep it light even if they intended a short hike. So I can't see them taking the juices if it was short and sweet. Maybe if they were distributed between them. But even then the amount of juice drinks plus one water bladder wouldn't be enough for a longer hike. MOO.
     


  2. 5W's

    5W's Member

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    Another thing I find puzzling is (this might be a duplicate of a post I tried to post earlier oh well mistakes happen) why would experience hikers take only one water bladder for the entire family. IMO one water bladder would indicate a short slow paced hike. However, it is ambiguous what they carried with them. If they carried small boxed juice drinks distributed evenly between them that may indicate a longer hike. But even if they had small juice drinks plus the one water bladder with them it wouldn't be enough it would only be adding weight. It doesn't make sense that experienced hikers would take one water bladder for all of them including Oski.
     
  3. MrsEmmaPeel

    MrsEmmaPeel Well-Known Member

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    So does this mean they had only just moved into this house on Hites Cove Road? If so, totally reinforces the idea that Jon was not familiar with SL and HC OHV Trails, imo.
     
  4. Karuna

    Karuna Verified Licensed Clinical Psychologist

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    @5W's It's been suggested here that the full loop wasn't necessarily the family's plan and that maybe they did intend something shorter (hence less water) but got in over their heads with the heat and the baby's/dog's reaction, as well as the possibility they were constrained by lack of working technology to fully assess their best exit route. Also, we don't know AFAIK how many containers of water they had or whether they had any food or other drinks, we just know they at least had the one bladder, the remaining contents of which were sent for testing. Maybe there was more...
     
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  5. jonjon747

    jonjon747 Well-Known Member

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    Bad feelings or not, possibility of suicide should be thrown out completely that is because the more details we learn about this family, that's just not it.
    They have a 1 yo baby, own several properties, he has a well paying job, and most importantly they enjoy hiking.
    Their bodies were found in a such positions that it could easily rule out the suicide.
    There's a possibility of staged homicide though but it seems pointless without any monetary gains or for other motives.
    I can't find or haven't seen any leads yet to believe that a homicide is even likely at this point. MOO of course
    That comes down to only one, a natural cause of something.
    And if you believe in paranormal stuff, why not this case?

    Someone here had mentioned instantaneous rigor mortis when I questioned about how likely is it for someone to die in a seated position.
    I have heard or read about a few cases of dying sit up on a chair or a couch, but haven't yet to find cases where someone just sat down outdoor without leaning onto anything and stayed that way for more than 48 hours?
    Is there any old cases or data available to compare this to and see if rigor mortis could in fact cause someone to naturally die as such outdoors?


    .
     
  6. lotus777

    lotus777 Well-Known Member

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    Earlier someone mentioned that the only information given about his position was he was seated--not whether he was leaning against something, which is a possibility.
     
  7. 10ofRods

    10ofRods Verified Anthropologist

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    Can someone point me to the page where body positions are mentioned? Thank you in advance.

    I will try and look up positional data on heat stroke victims - I just read that people who are on the ground, dying from cold temperatures tend to discard their clothing around their bodies in what is called a "curlicue" pattern but haven't found pictures.

    Is it clear that all family. members and dog were right next to each other? What's this about someone being in a seated posture? I would think that if people were struggling to forward/upward would end up more or less face down (leaning into their stride and then passing out). I'm very interested in the relative positioning of the bodies.

    This story is beyond tragic.
     
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  8. katydid23

    katydid23 Well-Known Member

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    It is hard to compare the S&R teams to a family on a hike. S&R is full of experienced healthy adults. No infants traveling on a front pack.

    And they have plenty of water and emergency supplies and are in contact with helicopters in case of the earliest signs of trouble.

    I think the infant and doggie were in the earliest signs of distress and that triggered an unfortunate series of tragic events. A S&R team would have the ability to respond to that kind of emergency without endangering the rest of the crew.

    I have experienced my 18 month old son, being carried in a backpack by my husband, beginning to exhibit signs of heat exhaustion. Thank Goodness we were not in a remote area on a hiking trail. We were at the LA Zoo in August and were able to get him to a medical tent within 10 minutes and they jumped into action.

    I had no idea how serious the situation really was. But they immersed him in water briefly, then laid him on a little bed with ice packs on the back of his neck and on his chest. We were in the a/c and they turned it up to help him cool down faster.

    When we arrived at the tent he was sluggish, pasty white, skin was beaded with sweat, and he looked exhausted and was almost unresponsive. It was frightening.

    Within minutes he was crying and fidgeting and having a little tantrum and the doctor was very pleased with that reaction. He said it would have been much worse if he continued to be passive and weak. So getting annoyed by the fuss and chaos was a good reaction on his part.

    But if their baby girl had the same symptoms, I can't imagine how they could have reversed the symptoms, while out in the blazing heat. We had ice packs, cold water bath and a/c and shade. They were considering giving him an IV of fluids but decided he didnt need it.

    All the Gerrish family could do was pour some of the precious water they had on her and try and get her to drink as much as she could. But that is not enough to reverse Heat Exhaustion and she likely progressed into heat stroke at some point. :(
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2021 at 9:17 PM
  9. Lexiintoronto

    Lexiintoronto Well-Known Member

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    “Gerrish was in a seated position with the baby and dog beside him, according to the Chronicle. Chung was a little farther up the hill.”
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/08/23/mariposa-family-death-mystery/

    “About 1.5 miles down the switchbacks, around 11 a.m. Tuesday, the team found the family in the middle of the trail. The husband was in a seated position, the child beside him along with the dog, and the wife just a little farther up the hill. Briese said they believe the family was returning to their truck.

    A cell phone was in Gerrish’s pocket. There is little to no cell coverage on that section of trail. Investigators are trying to determine if the phone saved any failed text message drafts, attempted calls or photos, along with GPS location data, Briese said.

    The family also had a backpack with a bladder that held a small amount of water, the sheriff said. They sent the water for testing. There was no indication whether the family had been swimming, as they would have dried off by the time they were found, he said.”
    'Not one clue': The mystery is only deepening around the family found dead on a Sierra trail

    There are differing reports of whether the dog was somehow attached to JG. I haven’t read a reputable source that mentions whether the dog was tethered or not, imo.

    Dailymail—(grain of salt, imo)—
    “There were no signs of foul play and no traumatic injuries indicated at the scene, where Briese said, Miju was 'in a backpack carrier near the dad, but not on the dad,' and Chung was found about 30 yards away.

    Their dog, Oksi, lay close to the baby.”
    Investigators hope phones of family found dead on hiking trail might solve 'baffling' mystery | Daily Mail Online

    ETA: The terrain would be a factor as well: they were found on a steep switchback, believed to to be climbing towards where their truck was parked about 1.5 miles away.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2021 at 10:21 PM
  10. katydid23

    katydid23 Well-Known Member

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    That's just heartbreaking.
    [​IMG]
     
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  11. Lex Parsimoniae

    Lex Parsimoniae Well-Known Member

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    That's very helpful information regarding the effect of heat on small children. Thank you for sharing.
     
  12. RickshawFan

    RickshawFan Verified Outdoor Recreation Specialist

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    IMO they were excited about having a carrier, not that the carrier was exciting.
     
  13. RickshawFan

    RickshawFan Verified Outdoor Recreation Specialist

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    I disagree. If they relied on their phone, and the phone wasn't working, it would be super-easy to lose one's way in all that.
     
  14. 5W's

    5W's Member

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    Not to be argumentative but I don't believe HS would suddenly occur. Someone posted what seems like a suggestion that HS would occur very quickly, yes after doing something strenuous in overly hot temperatures. In JG/EC's case we don't know for sure that they did the entire loop. Being experienced hikers I doubt that they would spend hours doing this hike with a baby and pet dog. We know that they had only a little bit of water left in their water bladder. If they had more water bladders then LE would have said so. LE specifically said one water bladder. LE would have said that the family had enough water with them for the entire hike. All MOO. I think something may have spooked them into doing the entire hike if they did so if no other footprints were found then possibly a drone. The operator threatened them and they did the entire loop. They did it under duress. Then yes HS would happen plus shock. On the other hand if they didn't do the entire hike then how could HS happen to them so quickly earlier in the morning and close to their vehicle. The way EC was found it was like she was desperately going back to the vehicle with what energy she could muster. HS causes people to be confused. On EC's part trying to go back to their vehicle was not a sign of confusion rather it was an attempt to get help since she knew the phone wasn't working. MOO.
     
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  15. 5W's

    5W's Member

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    However, if they were aware of the hike as they had done it previously then I wonder why they would do something so strenuous on the hottest day upto that point in terms of temperature. It doesn't make sense.
     
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  16. RedHaus

    RedHaus Well-Known Member

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    RS&BBM
    Well, @5W's, there is always good 'ol poisoning of their drinking water in that bladder they had with them, IMO. Maybe they stopped for a break after launching their jaunt down the Savage-Lundy trail that morning, and took turns drinking the water, including Oski (if they had a water bowl for him - was one found by LE?). For the sake of our mental health and the families' grief, I will not detail how their deaths may have unfolded in that scenario. You can use your imagination just as well.
     
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  17. Auntie Cipation

    Auntie Cipation Context Matters.

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    Why would you think HS "suddenly occurred"?

    Plenty of folks have posted their expectation that the family would have started feeling the effects of the heat within the first hour or so of their hike, or even half an hour.

    The timeframe between when they first began to experience the effects of HS, and when they actually died (not all at the same instant, presumably), is how long it took for HS to happen.

    Many, many folks have posted their own experiences or with reference links, about how once HS gets past a certain threshhold of body temperature, it then is unstoppable unless/specific intervention occurs quickly, involving ice baths and sometimes intravenous cooling (as was posted just a few posts before yours).

    We don't know if they did the loop to the point where they were found, but even if they did a lesser hike, they hadn't gotten back to the truck before it was too hot to hike. And the remaining trail between them and the truck was uphill, no shade. And once the effects of heat began to be felt, that almost certainly slowed them down further as their energy drained and other effects began (such as the confusion you mentioned, or even just plain dizziness, or the need to stop and assess the baby and/or dog).

    One mile of that hike was too much in those conditions. It does not matter that "the loop" was longer -- don't fall prey to the illusion that just because they only hiked part of a loop therefore it wasn't strenuous or too exposed to the heat. Look at it objectively and think about how far you'd want to hike in extreme heat with no shade. Then add about twenty degrees to whatever you think constitutes "extreme heat".

    I know it's hard to fathom that this happened. Personally I think a cascade of events produced this tragedy, not just one thing. And I do think part of it is that the weather is becoming more extreme, and even people who felt they were experienced in how to assess the safety of extreme conditions before, can no longer trust their instincts in that regard. For that reason, I hope LE can conclude definitively what happened to these folks and eventually share that with the public, so their experience can be part of people realizing they need to think differently about extreme climate conditions now. MOO
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2021 at 12:07 PM
  18. Auntie Cipation

    Auntie Cipation Context Matters.

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    I also just noticed the news reports quoted LE as saying there was no cell coverage on that section of the trail, which raises the question whether there is coverage elsewhere along the route they appear to have hiked?

    It would be especially heartbreaking if there was coverage along the HC OHV road and/or along the SF Merced but not on the S/L switchbacks... MOO
     
  19. minazoe

    minazoe Well-Known Member

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    But what on earth is the motive?? does anyone stand to gain from these murders? Is there anyone from their pasts that may not have accepted this relationship It's hard to fathom. mOO
     
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  20. IceIce9

    IceIce9 Well-Known Member

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    I have no problem believing that they all succumbed to heatstroke. I have been an avid hiker for years and have come across quite a few people who were not prepared to hike in extreme heat.

    Even an experienced hiker may occasionally underestimate a trail, conditions, or ability of each member of the group.

    I hiked last weekend and met a couple with a baby in a backpack. The man had the baby, the woman was carrying a large bag of supplies. I could see a roll of paper towels and baby supplies. Both were struggling, and at the time I passed them they were discussing turning back due to the heat. Good for them, they were realizing their limitations.

    I was about two miles into an uphill trail when I passed another couple who had an Australian shepherd. The dog lunged and tried to get to the water bottle I had hooked to that side of my pack. The couple apologized and sheepishly admitted that they forgot to bring water and the dog bowl. Yikes! The dog recognized the water bottle and desperately wanted some.

    The couple seemed embarrassed and said they were heading back to the parking lot, pulling their dog away.

    Several years ago I went with a few friends on an extremely rugged hike where you had to sign a log book with the time you began the hike, and demonstrate to the ranger that
    each person had at least 128 ounces of water. You were also required to wear hiking boots. We were several hours into the hike when we passed a couple of guys who had NO water and were wearing tennis shoes. This despite prominent signs in the parking lot stating hikers must check in and meet requirements before beginning the hike. Another sign stated that 8 hikers have died on that trail.
     

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