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

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

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  1. Countem

    Countem Verified CPA - assurance services

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    Based on the posts and articles above, the mother, while near the others, was further along the trail towards the vehicle, showing signs that her husband was left to sit and rest with the baby and the dog while she continued on, as you describe.
     


  2. SophieRose

    SophieRose Well-Known Member

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    He was a member of AllTrails, doesn't that track your hike as you do it?
     
  3. StarryStarryNight

    StarryStarryNight Well-Known Member

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    It doesn’t sound to me like the old mines were close enough to be a danger to them, and if the mines were emitting toxic gas, it seems like they would have been overcome very quickly and been found close to a mine.
    I’m thinking the heat played some roll in it but my question would be wouldn’t the autopsy show something that pointed toward heat stroke or exhaustion?
    My thoughts are that they went for a semi-spur-of-the-moment afternoon hike, meant to be fairly short and they were not completely prepared. They misjudged the heat and got in trouble. In desperation they may have tried to cool off or drunk or refilled their water with some of the contaminated water. This made things worse. The steep walk back to their car seemed like Everest. Dad collapsed, dog and baby were in bad shape, mom tries to get to car to go get help but does not make it.
    It’s all very sad.
     
  4. GrimonTV

    GrimonTV Active Member

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    This tradegy reminds me of the Levison Wood programme Walking the Nile, where a journalist, Matthew Power, joined him to cover part of the walk.
    On the third day while walking in heat of 117F, Matthew started vomiting and becoming disorientated, then he went into hyperthermia, apparently when this happens you only have 30 min to cool the body down before you slip into a coma. Matthew died within a few hours before help could get to him.
     
  5. SeattleStew

    SeattleStew Well-Known Member

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    I read in this article that Dad had a cellphone in his pocket when he was found. To me that rules out that Mom was going for help. If it were me going for help, I would have taken the cell phone and kept trying to connect with 911 as I made my way to the trailhead/parking area.

    'Not one clue': The mystery is only deepening around the family found dead on a Sierra trail
     
  6. tara83

    tara83 Well-Known Member

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    But if it was heatstroke I doubt a person would be thinking clearly about how to get help.
     
  7. Auntie Cipation

    Auntie Cipation Context Matters.

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    I find it hard to imagine, with their experience, that they would set out on even a very short stroll in that heat in the afternoon. I guess they might have been so excited about now living right there by the trailhead, that they might have tried it, but it doesn't sit right with me with their extensive experience hiking in desert climates.

    But something you said brought an image to mind -- that is, of the (figuratively) slippery nature of any hike that starts off downhill, with the uphill on the way out.

    Like -- what if they only intended to venture down a very short way before turning around, but *something* happened to cause them to go farther? Like maybe the dog ran ahead and wouldn't come back?

    MOO
     
  8. Noelscat

    Noelscat Active Member

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    For those of you that think heatstroke is the cause -- what do you think the reason is that law enforcement hasn't said something to the effect of, "Due to lack of other obvious causes, these are likely a heat-related fatalities, but we aren't ruling it as such until we complete our investigation," rather than saying, "We've never seen anything like this..."

    editing to add specific quotes:

    Mitchell said:

    "We've never seen anything like this, and I don't think this is a typical case that any agency throughout the nation has seen.

    "When you come across, like I said at the beginning, a family, seemingly healthy family, and you come across mom, dad, dog, and baby all deceased, that's not normal."

    Mariposa County Sheriff Jeremy Briese said:

    "I've been here for 20 years, and I've never seen a death-related case like this.

    "There's no obvious indicators of how it occurred.

    "You have two healthy adults, you have a healthy child, and what appears to be a healthy canine all within a general same area. None of the bodies had physical wounds such as gunshots or signs of trauma, and no suicide note was found," Mitchell said. "It makes for a very unique, very strange situation," she said. "I think it's going to be a very long and in depth, thorough investigation because it isn't as clear cut as what some cases are."
    So, again I ask, for those of you who think heatstroke -- you think that local law enforcement with more than 20 years of service has never seen people succumb to heat related death before?
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2021
  9. ttcRider

    ttcRider Well-Known Member

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    Did a quick refresher on the Jamieson Family which reminded me of this family.

    The Jamison family of Eufaula, Oklahoma, United States, consisting of Bobby, his wife Sherilynn, and daughter Madyson, mysteriously disappeared on October 8, 2009. No cause of death was determined, and the circumstances surrounding their disappearance remain unknown. ...
     
  10. Speculaytor

    Speculaytor Well-Known Member

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    You have a point, but that is assuming they were of sound mind to think of that. I just think there would be vomit from at least one of them if it was heat stroke or poisoning. Maybe a different type of drug, in the water they brought?
     
  11. MizStery

    MizStery Missing Pregnant Lacy P. brought me here in 2005

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    Oh yes! Most of us have good intentions scheduling our family trips for an early morning departure. Perhaps they had planned on leaving earlier but babies are on their own schedule.

    So very sad.Beautiful family.

    ‘Just My Opinion
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2021
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  12. Tower

    Tower Well-Known Member

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    RSBM
    I have never heard of a case of a mom, dad, baby and dog all dying of heat stroke except one (possibly) similar case of the German tourists in Death Valley. Almost every heat-related fatality I’ve ever heard of, the person dies alone. Jmo
    ETA: I do think it’s possible they all 4 did die of heatstroke within a short timeframe.
     
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  13. TootsieFootsie

    TootsieFootsie Well-Known Member

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    I'd forgotten this case.

    Very strange. Seems more than just a case of heatstroke.


    Jamison family deaths - Wikipedia


     
  14. WillieMac

    WillieMac Chief Procrastinator Extraordinaire

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    Also, I'm not sure that we've heard anything about Mom's cell phone. Perhaps it was in the car that she was headed to?
     
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  15. GrimonTV

    GrimonTV Active Member

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    Law enforcement probably mean they haven't seen a whole family die from heat stroke together, which is unusual.
    You only have to look at the case of David and Ornella Steiner back in 2015, or Augustinus Van Hove and Helena Nuellet in 2011. If the parents suffered heatstroke, the chances of the dog and child surviving alone for a period of time are low.
     
  16. SophieRose

    SophieRose Well-Known Member

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    There was the French couple who died from extreme heat at White Sands Monument in 2015.

    French couple die during midday White Sands hike

    Sheriff Benny House said Ornella Steiner, 51, began feeling ill on the trail and decided to turn back to the family’s vehicle, while David, 42, and his son pressed on. The parents would both be found dead hours later, their little boy alive and suffering from heat exposure.

    Park rangers found the body of Ornella Steiner around 5:30 p.m. on a routine patrol of the Alkali Flat Trail. They discovered David’s body and his son farther up the trail about an hour later, House said.
     
  17. mickey2942

    mickey2942 Well-Known Member

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    The wild card here to me, is the dog. What type of dog was it? All four, just dead? No apparent cause? Was there vomit in the area? That would be significant.
     
  18. sasha17

    sasha17 Curiouser & curiouser

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    Apologies if this was explained elsewhere, but I'm a little confused on the searching timeline. The car was found at the trailhead at (if I'm remembering correctly) about 2:00am. A helicopter was reserved at 3:20am. But they weren't found on the trail until 11:00am? If searchers started at the trailhead at, say, 6 or 7am (when it was daylight), why did it then take several hours to find them when they were only 1.5 miles from the trailhead?
     
  19. kittythehare

    kittythehare Well-Known Member

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    A search had to be organised.
    'Not one clue': The mystery is only deepening around the family found dead on a Sierra trail
     
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  20. happyday

    happyday Well-Known Member

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    It’s a good question and one I’d like an answer to. But we really don’t know that LE doesn’t have heatstroke on their list. Since it doesn’t seem to be a cut and dry determination, perhaps they’re waiting for toxicology first.

    We haven’t seen LE quoted in MSM talking about heatstroke, but I think MSM has jumped on toxic algae and mine gasses because those are sensational— so maybe we’re not getting all of what LE is thinking. I don’t know. I would think if they had reason to think this was absolutely NOT heat related we would have heard something about that. But who knows.
     
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