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. reb

    reb Well-Known Member

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    Does anyone know the situation in which they were found? On or by the trail? Sprawled all over the ground erratically, huddled together, all lined up in a row, etc...?? All clothes on or off, and what were they wearing? by the river, by a tree, using shelter, by a road, etc. etc...? Did they look like they were in distress, or doing any activity when they expired? Did they have food & water with them, and was it consumed? Any details at all? I'm also trying to figure out why a couple would be hiking with a baby in the 109 degree heat... that doesn't make sense. Anyone think maybe they were lost.. or had some other reason to be on that trail in that type of extremely dangerous heat?
     
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  2. annpats

    annpats Well-Known Member

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    I think these questions can be answered by reading the posts in pages 1-4. You'll be able to get all the info you need, and more. :)

    It's very difficult when we're on page 29 to keep going over old ground.

    I always advise anyone who has just come to a thread to do a bit of background reading on the previous pages to bring them up to speed. I know that's what I do when I look at a thread that's been going for a while.

    Hope that helps.
     
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  3. Knox

    Knox Well-Known Member

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    Or Google search for news articles, I find that's helpful too when looking for background information.
     
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  4. Seni

    Seni Well-Known Member

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    I'm going with lightning strike.

    Several years ago while staying at a finca that was mostly cattle ranching we discovered aprox 40 heads of cattle deceased. No signs of anything. They were found under a big tree and the previous night we had huge thunder and lightning.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2021
  5. Lexiintoronto

    Lexiintoronto Well-Known Member

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    They were found on the trail approximately 1 1/2 miles from their truck. LE believe they were returning to where it was parked. The father was found in a sitting position wth his child and dog next to him. His wife was found close by, further up the trail. LE mentioned their clothing, but nothing specific.

    LE said they were ‘well prepared’ for the hike, but the SFC reported that they had little water left in their container. I haven’t heard any mention about food.

    Why they were hiking in the heat is a mystery, IMO.

    ETA: A rough timeline:
    • The last contact was a photo they uploaded Sunday at 6:45 a.m. of the baby backpack they took with them. Many articles refer to the hike as a ‘day trip’.
    From the SF article:
    • 11:00 pm Monday a missing persons report was made for the family
    • A curious sheriff’s deputy had a hunch: he knew the family recently purchased a property near the trailhead for Hites Cove Trail. He drove out to search.
    • He found their truck at the trailhead at 2:00 am (early Tuesday). A SAR team was called in.
    • At 3:20 a.m., the sheriff’s office reserved a search helicopter for daybreak.
    • He called for backup & additional SAR, and they found the family 9 hours later at 11:00 am, Tuesday. (I’m not sure if this is an indication of the challenging terrain, scope of search, and/or time needed to call in SAR).
    • They were located 1.5 miles down the switchbacks in the middle of the trail. “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.”

    • It was 107°-109°F (about 42°C) during their hike
    [​IMG]

    'Not one clue': The mystery is only deepening around the family found dead on a Sierra trail
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2021
  6. TootsieFootsie

    TootsieFootsie Well-Known Member

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    Many of these questions have not been answered in any of the posts here :)

     
  7. Speculaytor

    Speculaytor Well-Known Member

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    I absolutely agree you make good points. I am one that keeps thinking heatstroke or poisoning, some drug? I think LE are saying this due to the lack of vomit and other obvious signs of heatstroke that are not/ were not present. I am baffled.
     
  8. Noelscat

    Noelscat Active Member

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    This is my time-saving attempt to answer your questions by simply re-posting an earlier post I made in this thread.

     
  9. Noelscat

    Noelscat Active Member

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    I disagree -- my post with links specifically answered most if not all of these questions. I have reposted again as well.
     
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  10. Quiet Time

    Quiet Time Well-Known Member

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    Thank you Noelscat...
     
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  11. woods

    woods Well-Known Member

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    Someone who knows the people working the case was told they may have swam in the water, and that it was a popular swimming place.
     
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  12. Speculaytor

    Speculaytor Well-Known Member

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    Maybe a swim in water with toxic substance/algae, coupled with the heat? That trail is in the sun, at 104 plus degrees shade wouldn't cool the body down. The water they had with them is being checked.
     
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  13. tarabull

    tarabull Life is a puzzle.

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  14. Pizzalvr2003

    Pizzalvr2003 Member

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    I've seen this trail twice described as nothing like it's name. For example:

    (By the way, don't let the Devil's Gulch name scare you. For years, every time I passed this sign, I envisioned a harsh, steep climb through dry, hellish terrain. After all, they got Mount Diablo's name right. Instead, Devil's Gulch is a gentle, relaxing saunter through grasslands and alongside a peaceful creek. I would love to know the origin of the name.) In the summer, and on weekends, expect a lot of horse traffic. In the winter when the weather is chilly, you may have the trails to yourself, especially on weekday mornings.

    This 3.9 mile out and back hike is easy, with about 880 feet in elevation change (mostly in small increments).


    Exposure:
    Mostly shaded.
    https://bahiker.com/northbayhikes/sptdevil.html

    Personally... I've never visited so I don't know.[/QUOTE]


    This actually describes a different Devils Gulch area. The one described above as shady is in Marin County north of San Francisco. The one where the bodies were found is a few hours east of the San Francisco area. It’s super confusing.
     
  15. SunSun

    SunSun Well-Known Member

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    I'm guessing that it got much hotter than they were thinking it would be, and more than hot enough to cause heatstroke. Some of the people who have died from the heat at White Sands National Monument have passed with high temps of 97 to 99 degrees.

    Looking at the aerial photos, the trail area looks like like it burned in the last few years, so there was little to no shade on half of the trail. If the black-masked golden dog seen with them in their online accounts was was walking off leash as shown in some photos, the dog could have gotten ahead of them and consumed algae contaminated water, quickly becoming distressed and possibly incapacitated. It was hot enough to be a problem already, and if they were trying to carry a good sized dog back up a steep trail, both adults could have succumbed to the heat. Their poor baby wouldn't have outlasted them very long in the sun and heat.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2021
  16. Speculaytor

    Speculaytor Well-Known Member

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    I was just thinking, if it were heat stroke, or toxic water wouldn't the dog perish first? They wouldn't carry the dog in that heat if it had passed, would they? I love my dog, so I might try to, but their pup looks like a pretty big dog.
     
  17. woods

    woods Well-Known Member

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    Last edited: Aug 23, 2021
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  18. mickey2942

    mickey2942 Well-Known Member

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    I don't think that they realized that the heat index was as high as it was. There have been a lot of issues with this season. I agree that the dog probably drank the water, got sick, and they were trying to help the dog, then, not realizing they were also getting over heated.

    I still have a question about the air quality in the area. This year, fire season has been particularly vicious. When the smoke level may not even be evident, with the heat, it is very dangerous to do any physical activity. Looks like 132 that day...unhealthy.

    Context:
    I went biking last month, the morning the air was good, by 10:00 it was "unhealthy", normally, I have no problem riding the hill by my house, that day, I felt like I was at 10,000 feet, it was impossible. It was crazy.

    Live Data - Air (U.S. National Park Service)
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2021
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  19. Auntie Cipation

    Auntie Cipation Context Matters.

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    More things I wonder:

    How recently did they move from the Bay Area?

    At what elevation is their new house?

    And at what elevation were they hiking?

    I'm thinking the smoky air, like @mickey2942 is referring to, as well as not being fully acclimated to the elevation, may have accelerated the effects of the heat on their bodies. MOO
     
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  20. SophieRose

    SophieRose Well-Known Member

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    That reminds me that Cary Stayner used to hang out at a nude beach along the Merced River, not far from Cedar Lodge. In fact that's where LE first found him before he escaped the area and ran to that nudest colony near Sacramento.

    Just some true crime trivia.
     
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