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

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rahod1

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I can't say if they planned to use the river water for the dog, or that the dog did use the river water. I do say he got water from somewhere, he couldn't have gone that far without it. Of the two possibilities that I can think of, the river or the camelbak, my best guess is the river. A hot, thirsty dog, most likely loose beside a river... it's obvious. If not the river, then the camelbak, unless someone can think of more sources of water. They WERE woefully negligent, I'm sad to say, not just with their dog.
BBM
Agree...but I don't think it was planned. Sadly, If the dog drank all the way to SL, it could have been the LAST to perish, since I don't think the family would drink that water. Then again it all moot in the end.
 
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Lex Parsimoniae

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I agree, @5W's, but I heard the Sheriff's first answer to the question from the audience about the truck keys and then listened to it a few times since at 26:10, IIRC.

'The keys were found with them in the dirt' (paraphrasing) is what I heard the Sheriff say, quite clearly. Why they were out of their pockets / pack is a good question, other than we'd have to presume when they were sitting on that trail, they were likely severely incapacitated mentally and physically.
Yeah, that article about the French couple who died at White Sands and their son that I think @Karuna posted is enlightening on the mental and physical effects of heat stroke.
 

rahod1

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I agree, @5W's, but I heard the Sheriff's first answer to the question from the audience about the truck keys and then listened to it a few times since at 26:10, IIRC.

'The keys were found with them in the dirt' (paraphrasing) is what I heard the Sheriff say, quite clearly. Why they were out of their pockets / pack is a good question, other than we'd have to presume when they were sitting on that trail, they were likely severely incapacitated mentally and physically.
Sadly, this appears express the last conscious effort to save themselves. RIP
 

Lex Parsimoniae

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They were NOT PREPARED for this hike..not even close. In fact, they never COULD BE, given that they had an infant and dog along into the hike from HELL. Literally.
RSBM Yes, it's not what they were wearing, they shouldn't have been there at all. You could load them down like mules with water, it would still be way to hot for a baby and dog. MOO
 

Auntie Cipation

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IMO the lack of water isn't even the primary problem. Unless they had enough water to pour over themselves every 20 minutes to keep themselves cool, they still would have been overcome by the heat no matter how much they were drinking. IMO
 

rahod1

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IMO the lack of water isn't even the primary problem. Unless they had enough water to pour over themselves every 20 minutes to keep themselves cool, they still would have been overcome by the heat no matter how much they were drinking. IMO
This ALL MOO>>>
The issue with water and preparation in general is a red herring. Again.....what was the mindset and dynamic of the couple that pushed this family over the edge? What would compel them to take cursory planning with the infant and pet? I sense there was some motive to validate a plan with the entire family ..perhaps utilizing a new baby carrier. I can identify with JC to some extent and that haunts me. When I hit age 40 I was hell bent on car racing. I new nothing about cars and decided I was going to learn every thing. I bought a Porsche and joined a club to race. I turned that car into a monster. I did the most INSANE things you can imagine...nothing would stop me, nothing..not even crashing my car at high speed. I even took my son on the race track with me. I can identify with JC in that he was exploring a new and compelling adventure.
 
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RedHaus

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True. Although the hike to the 140 would be an additional 2-3 miles, it would be relatively level. However, they would definitely have to utilize river water too cool off or possibly drink to avoid death. Same with waiting at SL....they would have to use the river water for both cooling and drinking. Of course, they would probably avoid that option due to algae warnings and, as someone pointed out, >>>that's the irony of this tragedy. The warning may have actually contributed to their deaths if it prevented them from utilizing this resource.
There was also the option of turning back at the bottom of HC Road at the river. It would be steep, but *only 2 miles* to the car. This option would be much shorter than a hike to the 140 and may have been survivable even without river water, which the other two options discussed would require. MOO
Completely agree, @rahod1.

Has anyone here taken a quiet moment to imagine being JG or EC (or both) at that fateful juncture 30-60 min. from their start? That's when, IMO, at least one adult likely realized they were being significantly challenged. What would you do given the supplies you think they had and how they felt?

When I try, I get stuck on whether they had a proper detailed map (paper or electronic copy or app since no cell service). Before this case, if I didn't have one, I might decide to continue on with what I knew. But after this case I hope I'd get creative and decide to follow the river downhill, confident I'd have a tool to keep my family and me alive (the river for water and cooling) and that I'd reach civilization or be found by SAR in a day or so.

And before this case, if I was at that fateful juncture, and decided to continue on the loop, I'm not sure I'd have known enough about heat stroke to imagine my baby, dog, spouse and/or I might die in 4-5 miles. I think I have learned a lot from our discussions. Thank you all.
 
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ItalyReader

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I can't say if they planned to use the river water for the dog, or that the dog did use the river water. I do say he got water from somewhere, he couldn't have gone that far without it. Of the two possibilities that I can think of, the river or the camelbak, my best guess is the river. A hot, thirsty dog, most likely loose beside a river... it's obvious. If not the river, then the camelbak, unless someone can think of more sources of water. They WERE woefully negligent, I'm sad to say, not just with their dog.

rssb
Unless, as you mentioned earlier, the possibility that Oski was carried part of the way.
 

neesaki

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Also with all due respect, what part of "it doesn't mean the dog got no water" is it that you don't understand? I don't carry a water bowl for my dog when hiking, my dog doesn't need a water bowl. She needs WATER. I can give it to her without a bowl, directly from a bottle, or she can drink it from local sources, which she prefers. This case is driving me crazy too. How hard is it to understand that it's WATER that your dog (and mine) needs, not a bowl. When I get a chance I'll take a photo of my dog drinking water without a bowl to prove that yes, it is possible. There is no way of knowing HOW their dog was getting water, but he was. He couldn't have made it that far without water.
My main point was… sorry if I wasn’t clear… no water for the dog. With the small amount of water they had, not enough for themselves, or baby…. how did the dog have water? Only that river ? Ok, but dogs need water more frequently than that on that long, hot hike. And, Even dogs can get sick from that water…. and toxic algae? Why take that risk. Just carry some water.
 

5W's

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You’re absolutely right - the onX is a powerful tool and if you know how to use it there are many more features including, colour codes to show the difficulty of the individual trails along the route, the elevation and the weather forecast. If you use those features you can clearly see that route is not a viable option to take a dog and a child - especially with those temperatures. If they did elect to do that, they would have been much better prepared. MOO
Very good observation Pumperhouse363. The fact that these details aren't taken into consideration leave me to question "what really happened, other than the obvious fact of HS as cause of death which would happen no matter what situation the family was in during this extreme situation." What caused hem to be found where they were. Especially when they knew the conditions and were so ill prepared. I hope eventually when media asks questions they ask about the physical condition Oski was in. I just can't believe he could have done that entire loop. He had to be carried. Who carried him was it EC? JG was carrying the baby. Maybe they came up from another closer section to SL, that I can believe. But that still doesn't explain when they knew the conditions why were they so ill prepared. It seems they decided to rest on SL and confusion set in. But what made them arrive at the location they were found deceased?
 
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Lex Parsimoniae

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rssb
Unless, as you mentioned earlier, the possibility that Oski was carried part of the way.
I was thinking perhaps he was carried a short distance. Thinking of the difficulty of carrying a dog while carrying a baby in a backpack... how would you do it? Put the dog on top of the baby? Carry the dog in your arms? Pretty hard to hike several miles that way, even without the heat and steep climb. Of the ~7 miles they hiked, how many could they reasonably carry the dog? Alternatively, the thirsty dog simply helps himself to river water. Let me pull out Occam's Razor...
 

5W's

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5W's

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I was thinking perhaps he was carried a short distance. Thinking of the difficulty of carrying a dog while carrying a baby in a backpack... how would you do it? Put the dog on top of the baby? Carry the dog in your arms? Pretty hard to hike several miles that way, even without the heat and steep climb. Of the ~7 miles they hiked, how many could they reasonably carry the dog? Alternatively, the thirsty dog simply helps himself to river water. Let me pull out Occam's Razor...
Please correct me if I'm wrong but I thought dogs die due to this type of toxin. Or the very least become extremely ill as in vomiting and other symptoms.
 

ItalyReader

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I was thinking perhaps he was carried a short distance. Thinking of the difficulty of carrying a dog while carrying a baby in a backpack... how would you do it? Put the dog on top of the baby? Carry the dog in your arms? Pretty hard to hike several miles that way, even without the heat and steep climb. Of the ~7 miles they hiked, how many could they reasonably carry the dog? Alternatively, the thirsty dog simply helps himself to river water. Let me pull out Occam's Razor...

It could have been a combination too -

For example - one possible scenario - ALL hypothetical:

Oski may have walked the first stretch and then started failing. He may have then been carried another stretch to the river.

Thirsty hot dog may have drunk and jumped in the river to cool off, and may have perked up a bit.

Then they start the climb on SL, Oski walking because he has been somewhat refreshed at the river, as you say.

Then on SL, Oski may have failed again, possibly very soon into the climb.

JG may have begun to carry Oski up a part of SL.
Perhaps occasionally putting him back down, encouraging him to walk, Oski may have tried a few steps then stopped, and JG may have picked him up again and tried to go forward carrying Oski.

Maybe Ellen tried to take the baby or the dog for certain bits - maybe they alternated. Nothing is ever black and white…

This pattern could have repeated itself several times, always ascending and always with increasing temperatures.
Until clearly all perished.

All of this is just one hypothetical scenario, of which I believe many exist.

I once had a dog who I took for a long summer walk in our suburban neighborhood. I didn’t think it was particularly hot but I was a culpable, ignorant 18 year old. I didn’t know that dogs can’t sweat sufficiently to cool off.

30 mins in, the dog refused to proceed, lay down in the shade of a bush. I encouraged her to keep going and she finally did. This pattern happened 4-5 times, stopping, encouraging, restarting. Finally I saw someone coming out of their house and I asked them if I could have some water for my dog. The dog perked up with some water but the pattern continued of the dog stopping and refusing to go forward. We eventually got home ok and I learned from the experience. It was just too hot and I was an uninformed idiot who deserved to be chastised.

I hope I have learned considerably in the 30 years since!

Gratuitous photo of our current dog attached.
 

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ChatteringBirds

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Please do not blame these two parents for what happened. They could have only known on that day what they knew and understood on that day.

By all accounts they dearly loved their daughter and pet and would have never knowingly entered this situation.

Sincere condolences to their family and friends.
 

HannahJJJ

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Like some others here, I'd be interested in knowing if Oski's paws were burned. Also, were JG and EC new to having a dog...how old was Oski?
 

IceIce9

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I would like to know how they usually dressed for hikes. Did they normally wear more appropriate hiking attire than shorts and tank tops?

Also, had they taken the dog on hikes before? Or was this the first time?
 

Countem

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Like some others here, I'd be interested in knowing if Oski's paws were burned. Also, were JG and EC new to having a dog...how old was Oski?

Oski was eight years old and was originally EC’s dog.

Cause of Death Revealed for Calif. Family Who Mysteriously Died on Hiking Trail

RSBM
Also, had they taken the dog on hikes before? Or was this the first time?

Photos on JG’s and EC’s previously linked social media pages had shown Oski with them on hikes, though those trails appeared to be in cooler locations with less harsh weather conditions, IMO. ETA: If you Google image search JG’s and EC’s names, you will see several of those photographs on varying news websites.
 
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