CA - Jonathan Gerrish, Ellen Chung, daughter, 1 & dog, suspicious death hiking area, Aug 2021 #6

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LifeIsAMystery

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It was in the Q&A after, I believe @Han noted the time. I think it was just after the 26 minute mark. It's very brief, and I missed it, but with the time I heard it too. There is a story there, but we'll never know what it is. "Take the keys and go" or similar.
Thanks!
 

Yvettea

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Dogs can eat many fruits and vegetables and some, cucumber for instance, are mostly water. Of course people can hydrate in the same way. Maybe EC and JG did this; I haven’t heard that they didn’t. JMO
 

5W's

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I can only speak to very limited experience as a paramedic no longer practicing, thankfully not dealing with kids as that would have broken me. Babies (and dogs) with life-threatening but non-obvious injuries, MOO, are the equivalent of patients with sub- or epidural hematomas (e.g., Natasha Richardson). One minute they’re fine, the next they are dying. Sometimes referenced as “walk and die” or “talk and die” patients; OK until they were not.
Or being lifeless in their carrier. Either way when there is no movement of the baby that should and would signal something wrong with the child.
I’d like to know who was the ‘witness’ who saw the vehicle at 7.45am driving in the direction of Hites Cove and again saw the vehicle parked at the trailhead 15 minutes later. Was this person out on a hike? Did they know the family or were they just visitors to the area? If he/she was walking in the same direction there are only two paths to take (the same as Jon and Ellen). The one which LE says Jon and Ellen took to the left and the on the right, the Savage Lundy where they were found.
Surely the same conditions prevailed for this person? Where did they go? What did they see? If they had continued on the same trail as Jon and Ellen wouldn’t he/she have passed them being less encumbered? If he/she chose to trek down SL trail to the right, what was their experience? Obviously, at least one other person didn’t think it strange to be out walking that way on a hot Sunday morning - but nobody else.

LE and SAR dogs could not continue they were only able to do short stints. And this was due to the fact that their paws were beginning to get burnt. Plus regardless of loyalty (which is admirable) with no water Oski could not continue as suggested doing the entire loop. Look at how much fur the poor thing has.
 

Lilibet

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The deceased's close family want it private and kept it confidential? do you have a source of information regards to this?

Careful reading would tell you that I said the following, simply expressing a possibility to consider for those who insist that LE should release every detail. This was not information needing a source, but speculation.

“And there may be certain facts that the families would prefer to keep private, so that overrides our wish (not need) to know more.”
 

5W's

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Why does there have to be more? The explanation of how they died makes sense to me.

Unfortunately there are too many unanswered questions that can have other answers. So the facts are very important. But here in this mysterious case the facts are making me question things further. Some questions haven't been answered. And I wonder why that is so. For example Oski's condition. Remember he had no water. According to the route that the family did how is that possible. Its not IMO.
 
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5W's

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LE had never raised keys as an issue, that was speculation by a poster on WS raised repeatedly. MOO.
I think people are confused to the conflicting statements about the keys as to where they were found.
 

5W's

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Overconfidence, most likely, IMO.

But even on a short hike they should have taken a water dish for the pup.
IMO it wasn't suppose to be a hike it was a test to to just try out the new baby carrier.
 

Karuna

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Unfortunately there are too many unanswered questions that can have other answers. So the facts are very important. But here in this mysterious case the facts are making me question things further. Some questions haven't been answered. And I wonder why that is so. For example Oski's condition. Remember he had no water. According to the route that the family did how is that possible. Its not IMO.

We don't know that Oski didn't have water, we just know they had an 85 oz bladder, not how full it was or how it was shared among the group. BBM Per the MCSO (in response to a question they received on their facebook page about Oski), "Jay thank your for your comment- What we know about Oski is that he was 8 years old, had very thick fur and went on a very strenuous hike in very hot weather. We don't know what kind of access to water he had, we don't know if he ever drank from the river and we don't know if the family shared any of their water supply with him. This is why we have stated that Oski's death is undetermined however we can give our thoughts based on the evidence we found at the scene.

I think people are confused to the conflicting statements about the keys as to where they were found.
I'm not aware of conflicting statements. My understanding is that there was confusion about what was said due to the audio quality of the presser. Though I think we don't know the story of the placement of the keys as I think @Lex Parsimoniae suggested upthread.
 

5W's

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I’d be interested to know the details of the investigation, but I think that’s up to the families if they care to share them.

Sheriff Briese gave a long and extensive list of experts that worked on this case for two months.

JG mapped the route, SAR tracked the family on it: the loop is not in dispute. They chose not to share all the details of their investigation, but mentioned the families were fully informed.

IIRC JG did not map the route he only configured some information about it. IMO not enough to have a good understanding of it. Although as he lived in the area and had active friends and neighbors he would have likely known the conditions and the exact configurations himself prior to visit to the AllTrails site.
 

5W's

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We don't know that Oski didn't have water, we just know they had an 85 oz bladder, not how full it was or how it was shared among the group. BBM Per the MCSO (in response to a question they received on their facebook page about Oski), "Jay thank your for your comment- What we know about Oski is that he was 8 years old, had very thick fur and went on a very strenuous hike in very hot weather. We don't know what kind of access to water he had, we don't know if he ever drank from the river and we don't know if the family shared any of their water supply with him. This is why we have stated that Oski's death is undetermined however we can give our thoughts based on the evidence we found at the scene.

I'm not aware of conflicting statements. My understanding is that there was confusion about what was said due to the audio quality of the presser. Though I think we don't know the story of the placement of the keys as I think @Lex Parsimoniae suggested upthread.
I actually meant confusion about the statements. I just want to know for my own knowledge where they were were they close to EC or closer to JG. Its only stated they were in the dirt if I'm correct if not sorry.
 

5W's

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Someone I know hiked it a few days ago - six hours with a couple of breaks - no baby to carry or dog to monitor and much lower temperatures.
Oh my goodness that's horrible. So sad. Just imagine if that's what they did. It was too extreme for them. Please forgive me I don't have the information right now but there was a story hopefully some WS posters here on his thread can remember about the family who walked in the desert (Death Valley?) temperatures at 110 degrees and gave they're son I think 11 years old the only water they both had between them. I think only three bottles. They started feeling the effects of that extreme heat within a few minutes and confusion set in and they didn't turn back. They sucumbed to the heat shortly after arriving and they didn't have switchbacks. That family was on a level path. So its difficult for me to believe that JG and EC could have even done the entire loop.
 

Karuna

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I actually meant confusion about the statements. I just want to know for my own knowledge where they were were they close to EC or closer to JG. Its only stated they were in the dirt if I'm correct if not sorry.

That makes sense and I think that's right. Maybe something like with them, in the dirt (not using quotes because I don't remember the exact quote). It would be interesting to know placement relative to EC/JG. Also, as an aside, early reports had EC farther up the trail, but I noticed in the presser the Sheriff stated the family was together. Those early reports didn't have her that much farther up the trail, so I'm not sure if that marked a change or not. If they were altogether then the key placement (with them, in the dirt) wouldn't be that significant (except I'm not sure why the keys would be in the dirt versus in their pack or pocket).
 

ItalyReader

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I m still working on it.
MrsEmmaPeel stated in thread number 1 (I think) that the probable COD was HEATSTROKE based on the recent death of another person in the area. Two months down the line and that’s pretty much spot on!
I am still formulating my thoughts which is why I came on here originally. Some of my posts have been deleted - as I am not a verified member - and I am unwilling at present to put my thoughts in print. The people on here have been really helpful and considerate to the feelings of the family but I have sometimes found it difficult not to be able to contribute more.

We respect that you’re not ready.

In the past you mentioned you might become a Verified Contributor if you had the right information and if other family members were ok with it.

Is it fair to say the family is choosing for now to keep details private and that’s why you are waiting to share?

If so, I respect that. It would be a long, painful grieving process no matter what the situation.
That makes sense and I think that's right. Maybe something like with them, in the dirt (not using quotes because I don't remember the exact quote). It would be interesting to know placement relative to EC/JG. Also, as an aside, early reports had EC farther up the trail, but I noticed in the presser the Sheriff stated the family was together. Those early reports didn't have her that much farther up the trail, so I'm not sure if that marked a change or not. If they were altogether then the key placement (with them, in the dirt) wouldn't be that significant (except I'm not sure why the keys would be in the dirt versus in their pack or pocket).
maybe in hand trying to set off the car emergency alarm from afar?? Just a completely long shot guess on my part. moo
 

Karuna

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Oh my goodness that's horrible. So sad. Just imagine if that's what they did. It was too extreme for them. Please forgive me I don't have the information right now but there was a story hopefully some WS posters here on his thread can remember about the family who walked in the desert (Death Valley?) temperatures at 110 degrees and gave they're son I think 11 years old the only water they both had between them. I think only three bottles. They started feeling the effects of that extreme heat within a few minutes and confusion set in and they didn't turn back. They sucumbed to the heat shortly after arriving and they didn't have switchbacks. That family was on a level path. So its difficult for me to believe that JG and EC could have even done the entire loop.

Is this what you're thinking of? French couple who died in desert gave son extra water, sheriff said | CNN So very sad and does put into perspective how quickly and disabling heat stroke is. I can imagine them getting down to the river, but it is hard to imagine, based on this French family's story, how they made it 2 miles up the SLT.
 

Lex Parsimoniae

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BBM
@Lex Parsimoniae

Let's assume both of you decided to take this hike at that time.
I'll pose the same question to you as I did with @MrsEmmaPeel:
Under the same circumstances.... 40 years ago with wife, baby and dog..... would you or your wife have considered a 180 at some point? We know getting back to the car became an urgency, that isn't in question. They obviously had that urge by the time they reached SL or prior.
The question I ask here is would you have made a decision to get back to the car when it was actually probable. The "Safe Rather than Sorry" mindset. This isn't a matter of blame. As you pointed out it was tragic ...MIND BLOWING tragic. I'm just trying to understand the MIND SET that drove JG ...a very intelligent person with some hiking experience......to pursue going down this rabbit hole with the fate of his family in his hands. MOO
We like to have fun; a big part of that is picking something that suits the season and weather. Thinking back, we did abandon what was supposed to be a 3 day backpacking trip with our toddler and two Labradors because we went too early (early June) and the mosquitos were unbelievable- clouds of them. Turning back or changing our plans has never been a problem for us, if that's the best thing to do. I've wondered if JG's work required meticulous project planning and meeting deadlines. "Plan your work, work your plan." Maybe a personality type that is very successful in his field because they don't quit would keep pushing on like that.
 

ilovewings

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Unfortunately there are too many unanswered questions that can have other answers. So the facts are very important. But here in this mysterious case the facts are making me question things further. Some questions haven't been answered. And I wonder why that is so. For example Oski's condition. Remember he had no water. According to the route that the family did how is that possible. Its not IMO.

Here's the thing- these questions are unanswerable- I accept what the police have told us the cause of death is ---As I have said in prior posts, these apparent intelligent and caring couple made some very bad and fateful decisions that day, and for those terrible decisions they paid the ultimate price, along with their precious child and pup. There are lots of aspects of this tragedy that shall remain a mystery.
 

ItalyReader

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We don't know that Oski didn't have water, we just know they had an 85 oz bladder, not how full it was or how it was shared among the group. BBM Per the MCSO (in response to a question they received on their facebook page about Oski), "Jay thank your for your comment- What we know about Oski is that he was 8 years old, had very thick fur and went on a very strenuous hike in very hot weather. We don't know what kind of access to water he had, we don't know if he ever drank from the river and we don't know if the family shared any of their water supply with him. This is why we have stated that Oski's death is undetermined however we can give our thoughts based on the evidence we found at the scene.

I'm not aware of conflicting statements. My understanding is that there was confusion about what was said due to the audio quality of the presser. Though I think we don't know the story of the placement of the keys as I think @Lex Parsimoniae suggested upthread.

It’s true we don’t know what access to water Oski had. But there’s no evidence he had any access, either.

It’s possible to give a dog water via means other than the drinking bowl, we occasionally do it ourselves to our dog, from cupped hands, but it’s not an efficient use of water, you can lose a lot of water doing so. I know Lex has mentioned they have a method that works for them, correct me if I’m wrong.

The lack of dog drinking dish is one element of the family’s water situation, which also includes that the family carried a very small amount of water considering the weather and loop JG had mapped on his app and which LE said they almost completed.

If the family intended to give Oski access to water without a drinking dish, then I see three options.

1) from their own supply which has already been assessed as insufficient even for the humans (to Oski via cupped hands or direct pouring which wastes a lot of water in the process)

2) from the river, which apart from the algae factor, how would he drink prior to the river or after the river on the ascent? All in the heat. “He’ll just drink and cool off in the river”?

3) some combination of the above

Other ideas?

It is also possible they didn’t think about the fact that dogs need water to cool off because they don’t cool by sweating as humans do.

All MOO.
 

ItalyReader

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RSBM Yes. There have been a lot of comments along the lines of "why didn't they run to the car?" That may have been exactly their thought, "We must get to the car!" It was the wrong choice, bad judgment, but apparently a common response. "It was a grievous fault,. And grievously hath G-C answered it." I feel no anger toward them, yes they made inexplicable mistakes and failed in their duty to protect their child and dog, but they too died horribly. As I previously mentioned, ~40 yrs ago I was hiking and backpacking with my wife, baby, and dog. I asked my wife if she would have gone along with it if I planned something like this G-C hike. (She's been my co-leader on the hundreds of hikes and other outings such as camping/hiking, backpacking, kayaking, kayak camping, etc that we've organized for our hiking club.) She said "Maybe when we were first married." That surprised me.


May I ask - were you married at the same ages more or less as J and E? I only ask because they were 30 and 45, and 40 years ago people tended to be much younger as newlyweds. People tended to marry in their twenties.

45 and 30 on the other hand seem to me ages where people should be informed and have a certain level of responsibility. (I am a hopeless dreamer in this regard, I know).

Was your wife referring to age or perhaps her/your level of hiking experience at the point you were first married? Or maybe both age and hiking experience?

just some thoughts.
 

MsBetsy

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It’s true we don’t know what access to water Oski had. But there’s no evidence he had any access, either.

It’s possible to give a dog water via means other than the drinking bowl, we occasionally do it ourselves to our dog, from cupped hands, but it’s not an efficient use of water, you can lose a lot of water doing so. I know Lex has mentioned they have a method that works for them, correct me if I’m wrong.

The lack of dog drinking dish is one element of the family’s water situation, which also includes that the family carried a very small amount of water considering the weather and loop JG had mapped on his app and which LE said they almost completed.

If the family intended to give Oski access to water without a drinking dish, then I see three options.

1) from their own supply which has already been assessed as insufficient even for the humans (to Oski via cupped hands or direct pouring which wastes a lot of water in the process)

2) from the river, which apart from the algae factor, how would he drink prior to the river or after the river on the ascent? All in the heat. “He’ll just drink and cool off in the river”?

3) some combination of the above

Other ideas?

It is also possible they didn’t think about the fact that dogs need water to cool off because they don’t cool by sweating as humans do.

All MOO.
Well, they were found only a mile and a half from the river so I wouldn't be surprised if the dog had a swim or a drink at the river. Maybe they all went in to cool off.

They would have had another 3 miles to go before they got to the car so I can see why they thought they would make it back.

I don't think they anticipated how long and strenuous the switchbacks were. If the walk back had been less challenging or more shaded they may have made it. They had already completed most of the loop and only had a mile and a half to go.

I can't remember who first said it, but it was if they were "trapped" once they started up the switchbacks. They were out of water and there was no escaping the intense sun. They had no choice but to keep going, hoping to make it back to the car.
 

ItalyReader

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Well, they were found only a mile and a half from the river so I wouldn't be surprised if the dog had a swim or a drink at the river. Maybe they all went in to cool off.

They would have had another 3 miles to go before they got to the car so I can see why they thought they would make it back.

I don't think they anticipated how long and strenuous the switchbacks were. If the walk back had been less challenging or more shaded they may have made it. They had already completed most of the loop and only had a mile and a half to go.

I can't remember who first said it, but it was if they were "trapped" once they started up the switchbacks. They were out of water and there was no escaping the intense sun. They had no choice but to keep going, hoping to make it back to the car.

RBBM
I agree about the fact that they may have completely underestimated the difficulty of the switchbacks. They may have even thought it would be the easiest part. MOO.
Re what I have bolded above - even if Oski had access to drink river water and cool off in the river, what about the several miles leading up to river access - in the heat - and what about the 3 miles between the river and the truck, again in the extreme heat?
Dogs cannot cool off without water, unlike humans who sweat to cool off.
 
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