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

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

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Kittybunny

    Kittybunny Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,192
    Likes Received:
    13,007
    Trophy Points:
    113
    According to Wikipedia, Mariposa County is over 1700 square miles. That is huge. Just because they lived and died in Mariposa County doesn't mean that every death there is related to marijuana or every person there has something to with it.

    Also the area where they hiked looks extremely barren to me, we know that there was no shade whatsoever. It doesn't look like anything grows there. So question for you - how are illegal marijuana grow operations relevant here? Are you implying that the family was involved in illegal marijuana activities and they were forced to go on a death march with their family? Or that they ran across one that the Sheriffs missed in retracing their steps? Just trying to understand here. Witnesses also saw the family going to the trail, not under duress or with other people driving behind them, I presume.

    I'm just having such a hard time understanding why people are struggling with this. (Other than those who knew them personally, that's different).

    People make bad decisions all the time - some with consequences, some without. They may have been amazing people, but they were not infallible. No one is. They were human, and to err, is human.

    It's very clear to me that this investigation presumed nothing, which is why it took so long for them to release any information. They approached it like a homicide investigation, and took it to all of its logical conclusions. These people were not shot or stabbed. They had extremely thorough toxicology tests done on them. Despite some people's skepticism, I'm sure they would have noticed if there were other foot prints behind them, people forcing them down to the river.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2021


  2. RickshawFan

    RickshawFan Verified Outdoor Recreation Specialist

    Messages:
    7,288
    Likes Received:
    28,220
    Trophy Points:
    113
    There seems to be a misunderstanding of my point. My post responded to a prior post about the role of relationship dynamic on the trail. My point was that, actually, preparation for the hike was a key determinant, and EC’s preparation choices were very unlikely to reflect relationship dynamic because they were personal apparel choices.
    One pre-trail item was the decision not to wear a pack herself, which would have enabled them to carry more water.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2021
    RedHaus, Lucy Locket, 5W's and 5 others like this.
  3. RedHaus

    RedHaus Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    422
    Likes Received:
    3,187
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Indeed, @ItalyReader. That is why in a previous thread I opined about tracks - human and paw prints - and what they might tell LE about this story. If the tracks were truly visible to LE then they must know if and how far Oski was carried and by whom. In retrospect I wish that question was asked at last Thursday's presser.
     
    Lucy Locket, starviego, 5W's and 7 others like this.
  4. Rocky Mountain Hi

    Rocky Mountain Hi Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    143
    Likes Received:
    1,056
    Trophy Points:
    93
    How would any of this have implications for this case, though? We know they weren't shot or assaulted. They apparently weren't robbed, not that they would have been carrying any valuables on a hike, anyway. We also know that JC researched the trail prior to their hike, and footprints corresponding to the family and pet were found, that indicated they'd done most of the loop. Those footprints weren't accompanied by any others. We also know they had a history of underestimating the potential effect of heat on their "adventures", per EC's IG posts.

    What your research does say to me, though, is that their "dream" location they'd moved to, with starry-eyed visions of raising their child in nature, was poorly researched. Yikes! I wonder what their friends' opinions of life in Mariposa county are. A good place to raise a family? I wonder how people rationalize decisions like that. Ignorance may be bliss, until it kills you...
     
  5. lotus777

    lotus777 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    595
    Trophy Points:
    83
    I think some of the questions about the amount of water they had and their clothing and backpack are beside the point. I don't think there's any amount of water or any type of clothing (except perhaps insulated cooling suits laden with ice?) that could have prevented heat stroke in this scenario. I keep going back to the temps between 107-109, direct sun, heat radiating off the terrain, the exertion of carrying a baby, and the exertion of hiking uphill on Savage-Lundy. 104 F is the danger zone body temp.

    Dehydration was listed as a likely additional factor, but more water wouldn't have prevented heat stroke.

    At the end of the day, the main lesson from this case is to not go hiking in such hot weather.
     
  6. Rocky Mountain Hi

    Rocky Mountain Hi Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    143
    Likes Received:
    1,056
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Except that he wasn't exploring a new and compelling adventure. Before they relocated permanently to Mariposa, they'd been using their home there as a vacation location and a hiking base for at least a couple of years. What you could say, though, was that JC in general enjoyed adventuring and perhaps pushing the envelope: a hiking trip to the Himalayas, where they found themselves in some sort of life-threatening situation regarding heat or lack of water (per EC's social media posts), a trek through the Gobi desert that also turned out to be strenuous in spite of their being part of a group with support staff and supplies, and various hiking trips around Mariposa County, at least a couple of which involved steep descents and ascents back up from canyons, per JC's All-Trails maps.

    As to the dynamics of the relationship, there was discussion about that near the beginning of this series of threads, but moderator/s deleted that, as being too speculative. I think JC was the leader in terms of "adventures", and EC his enthusiastic follower. That may be as far as we're able to go with that.
     
  7. MrsEmmaPeel

    MrsEmmaPeel Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    334
    Likes Received:
    2,758
    Trophy Points:
    93
    I wrote about this much earlier in the case. People who don't know California think of it as one big open, liberal, beautiful, wealthy paradise. Remote areas in CA are more like West Virginia, where I once lived: backward, drug-ridden, paranoid, poor. Add to that the extreme drought, on-going massive wildfires, tourist economy dependent on urban dollars, clannishness and often, resentment of non-locals who may be rich, vegan, different. Visiting Yosemite is 100% different than living there. It is NOT the English countryside. I tried once to live in a remote part of CA, and I lasted a month. It was unbelievably lonely and scary for an educated independent woman.

    Perhaps the GC's had good friends in the area. I sincerely hope so. On top of the adjustment to the new baby, they also had the adjustment to living in a place as different than the Bay Area as you can get, no matter how many times they had visited it. IMHO.
     
  8. neesaki

    neesaki Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    13,198
    Likes Received:
    26,878
    Trophy Points:
    113
    What a beauty!
     
  9. RedHaus

    RedHaus Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    422
    Likes Received:
    3,187
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Quotes RS&BBM

    All good questions, my fellow sleuthers. And I don't have many good answers... just more questions. Here is the thing. I do not dispute the cause of death finding, although I still wonder about what drugs, toxins, poisons, etc. might not be detectable three days post mortem in the baking heat and sun. So IMO there may be a contributing factor to their demise - or at the least their decision making abilities that day. Is there is a forensic toxicologist among us who could help tease that out?

    If you haven't yet read the Audubon article I posted long ago about Carbofuran - a highly potent lethal pesticide - and its rampant use by grow ops, please do.
    This Brutal Pesticide Creates a 'Circle of Death.' So Why Is It Making a Comeback?

    "Often the teams encounter Gatorade bottles filled with carbofuran and tuna tins stuffed with carbofuran-tainted meat. The labels on jugs of chemical are frequently in Spanish, indicating they were smuggled from Mexico. Gabriel questions the growers on site, after they’ve been arrested, and some have admitted to using carbofuran to keep animals from rampaging their camps because, they say, it worked great for getting rid of jaguars preying on livestock back home in Mexico.

    The scientists’ bold field work is paying off, if only to document a compounding problem. In 2013 they discovered carbofuran at 20 percent of the raided sites. Just six years later it’s been found at more than 80 percent of them. Gabriel suspects the growers are increasingly using carbofuran not just because of its potency with animals, but also with law enforcement: Media outlets have reported officers exposed to the chemical being hospitalized for nausea, blurry vision, and migraines."

    So yes, possible accidental exposure to a pesticide such as Carbofuran - Oski eating a baited food trap for instance, or a spray trap got one or more of the family if they went off trail to explore something or for a bio break. This would have been a contributing factor for sure, even if not detectible post mortem. And are there in fact grow ops near where the family was? Well, of course I don't know. And while I certainly cannot quote social media content as fact, there is noise out there about just this.

    What I also wonder about still is the manner of death, which, although not clearly stated by the Sheriff last Thursday, is presumably 'accidental'. But don't you think death by heat stroke could be the perfect crime? It would take a psychopath to do such a thing, but it is plausible. Death marches are an effective and cruel devise. Or again, could they have been intentionally exposed to a poison, toxin, or drug that rendered them incapacitated or dead but not detectible at their autopsies?

    But then of course, the question is why would someone or criminals due such a thing. Certainly it would not be robbery and it is likely not a crime of convenience.

    Here is where the darker partitions of my mind go when I let it try to explore this question:
    • Revenge: Did JG or EC report to the Sheriff any information about a criminal element that might have led to the huge drug bust in the county five days earlier?
    • Defense: Did JG or EC see something incriminating that day or sometime prior that they were not supposed to see and this was the opportunity to silence them?
    I am not suggesting any of this did happen because there are few if any facts to suggest this. But taken in its totality, Mariposa County is not a bucolic, suburban community by any stretch of the imagination. It is a remote, poor, rural county with cheap real estate and a very dark history of crime that appears to drift into the present.

    All this is my way of trying to answer: Why did a family apparently outfitted and prepared for a short stroll that morning, end up attempting an 8 mile hike in steep terrain in 107-109 degrees with two very vulnerable dependents? Occom's Razer says "because they wanted to". But I wonder if that's true.

    All IMO!
    ETA: All IMO!
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2021
    5W's, wary, Daisyeve and 5 others like this.
  10. Recidivist

    Recidivist Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    597
    Likes Received:
    5,197
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Mariposa is a lovely community. The scenery is beautiful. The people are nice. I would love to live there myself
     
  11. Lex Parsimoniae

    Lex Parsimoniae Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    213
    Likes Received:
    2,067
    Trophy Points:
    93
    They can. In my county I have read news reports of two dogs dying from toxic algae in the past 5 years, including one in the Russian River, on a day when there were lots of other dogs (and people) playing in the same river. Apparently if a dog ingests a clump of the algae it can be lethal, but not many do. Two in five years is pretty low. MOO
     
  12. LifeIsAMystery

    LifeIsAMystery Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    295
    Likes Received:
    1,967
    Trophy Points:
    93
    I wondered about electrolytes too, key for maintaining the hydration balance.
     
    5W's and RickshawFan like this.
  13. Lex Parsimoniae

    Lex Parsimoniae Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    213
    Likes Received:
    2,067
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Weren't they dressed in a similar fashion, tank tops and no hats? I wouldn't rule out a relationship dynamic to that decision, they seem like a stylish couple- Burning Man is all about style. Yes, she should have been carrying her own water, besides needing more, it's odd to have two people drinking from one bladder. If I'd been planning this hike, and the evidence is that JG was the planner, I'd be telling my wife what to expect, how else would she know? I would expect some discussion about what they needed in the way of supplies for the baby, and how much food and water to bring.
     
  14. LifeIsAMystery

    LifeIsAMystery Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    295
    Likes Received:
    1,967
    Trophy Points:
    93
    There were photos of them hiking with the dog on EC's IG. No idea re: season / heat.
     
    Lex Parsimoniae and IceIce9 like this.
  15. Rocky Mountain Hi

    Rocky Mountain Hi Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    143
    Likes Received:
    1,056
    Trophy Points:
    93
    snipped for brevity

    Who said their intent was a short stroll? I think the fact that JG had researched the route prior to the fateful day indicates they intended to do the loop. If that's true, it means they got in over their heads, which wouldn't be the first time that had happened to them.

    The answer could be simple: bad judgement, or---not. But well-intentioned humans do sometimes make dumb mistakes. I still wonder if EC ever asked the pediatrician about her baby's ability to handle hot temps and hikes. Presumably, the baby was getting regular check-ups and weigh-ins during the first year....? I guess she viewed hiking as a healthy activity, and it was their dream to raise the child to love nature, so she may not have seen the need to ask the baby's doctor about certain things.

    Babies need to come with manuals. A lot of people don't understand how their developing bodies and psyches don't have the same capacities as adults or older kids.
     
  16. MrsEmmaPeel

    MrsEmmaPeel Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    334
    Likes Received:
    2,758
    Trophy Points:
    93
    FWIW Mendocino CA is very beautiful, with ocean, forests, which are a hikers dream, and lovely people. I lasted one month which it was meant to be forever. Just saying and each to his own. I love the outdoors, but I like diverse populations including people other than retirees, access to the internet, people who read, enough and varied jobs so there isn't unbearable poverty, and a place where giant grow farms aren't hidden on the mountain sides . . . . living in a remote cute CA town is different than visiting. I suggest trying to live there before you sell your home.
     
  17. IceIce9

    IceIce9 Verified EMT

    Messages:
    3,721
    Likes Received:
    35,408
    Trophy Points:
    113
    RSBM

    IMO I think they intended a short stroll to try out their new baby carrier.

    They were not wearing appropriate clothing for a lengthy hike in the sun and heat. No hats, sleeveless tops and shorts aren’t what hikers wear in the sun.

    The main thing is that they didn’t bring adequate water for a longer hike, and I water bowl for their pup.

    Those things lead me to believe they intended only a short hike.
     
    5W's, Daisyeve and RedHaus like this.
  18. RedHaus

    RedHaus Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    422
    Likes Received:
    3,187
    Trophy Points:
    93
    BBM
    I completely agree, @IceIce9. That is why I find myself continuing to shake the proverbial branch.

    ETA: bolded emphasis
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2021
  19. rahod1

    rahod1 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    274
    Likes Received:
    2,080
    Trophy Points:
    93
    BBM
    For me it's a very important point since it gives us some insight into their thought process (mind set). For me, lack of provision for water/dog bowl and EC not wearing a back back speaks volumes. MOO
     
    5W's, wary, Daisyeve and 5 others like this.
  20. lotus777

    lotus777 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    595
    Trophy Points:
    83
    I understand. I guess I've put their thought process into the "things we'll never know for sure" box. But I understand the desire to ponder it further.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page



  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice