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. sh4dylover

    sh4dylover New Member

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    <modsnip>
    I read through this thread and saw her IG and saw that she was into yoga. How could someone so health conscious and aware of their breathing, not mention experienced in hiking, die of heatstroke?

    That first part was saved in my drafts. I did something in her earlier posts about misjudging the altitude on a hike and how they barely made it. And it seems as if she never stopped hiking or traveling. Honestly, it seems like a baby would have slowed her seemingly spontaneous life down. Maybe they tried to recapture that hiking glory after the baby and simply weren’t prepared. And what was this debilitating illness she had that caused her to be unable to work? Because she seemed to be doing things the average “sick” person wouldn’t attempt.

    This case is so strange. I can’t believe I’ve been reading so much. I apologize if my thoughts are all over the place. It terrifies me that you can just die and there’s no immediate explanation.


    Edit: I don’t get why the dog would be by the husband since the wife was the one who actually raised and owned the dog. And the baby was in a carrier next to the dad with the wife 30 yards away? I’m even more stumped.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 23, 2021


  2. Andreee

    Andreee Well-Known Member

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    I've been following this case since the beginning, and I am trying to figure out why the family wasn't found until mid morning. If the truck was found at 2 a.m. did the search not continue then or did LE wait until morning? I would think it would be a simple matter with good flashlights to search during the night, and that they would've been found fairly quickly.
     
  3. Figuring

    Figuring Well-Known Member

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    Hi everyone I have read the whole thread but there’s one thing I have a question about that I haven’t seen discussed anywhere. I want to ask it sensitively, but it is about the known details of their deaths.

    My question is: the father was found sitting down. Is that an unusual way to be found after death? Does the body not lose muscle tension, & the person would fall over? This is the one detail that makes me think of poisoning, in how some poisons (edit to add: accidental or otherwise) can cause prevent nerve signalling & cause paralysis. I probably don’t understand enough about either of these mechanisms so am just wondering if anyone else has any ideas about this (or even if it’s a relevant point).
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2021
  4. whitelilac

    whitelilac Well-Known Member

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    I WONDERED
    I wondered about that myself actually, and came to the conclusion that he may have been leaning against something...maybe a rock, small tree, or against an embankment, in such a way that he was just slumped a bit forward. I don't know if that's the case though.
     
  5. woods

    woods Well-Known Member

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    The SF Chronicle reporter was told that he was found sitting on the ground upright on the trail, and presumably not leaning against anything.
     
  6. katydid23

    katydid23 On Time Out

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    How is that possible though? How does a desceased person sit upright, without being up against a tree or something?
     
  7. Figuring

    Figuring Well-Known Member

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    Yes this is what keeps freaking me out!
     
  8. GrimonTV

    GrimonTV Active Member

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    There is documented evidence of people dying in sitting positions, gamers who have been on marathon sessions still clutching controllers spring to mind.
     
  9. Figuring

    Figuring Well-Known Member

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    Oh wow. That’s really sad too.
     
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  10. Seattle1

    Seattle1 #LiveLikeLizzy&Gabby

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    Initial autopsy fails to reveal what killed family of 3, pet dog on California hiking trail

    8/23/21

    The only explanations that have been ruled out are causes like gunshot wounds or blunt force trauma, Mitchell said, due to lack of any physical indications. There was neither a suicide note nor anything that would lead investigators to believe the deaths were intentional.

    The Mariposa County Coroner is awaiting toxicology results as investigators continue to comb the scene for possible clues. Those results are expected to take at least two to three weeks.

    "This is just a tragic, frustrating case for us," Mitchell said Thursday. "It will probably be a long, tedious investigation."

    A necropsy is being conducted on Oksi, the family dog, Mitchell said, adding that there were no other animals found deceased in the immediate area.

    They were amazing, friend says
    Steve Jeffe met the couple in San Francisco years ago and they grew very close after each relocated to the Mariposa area.

    "They were amazing people, very generous," Jeffe told CNN. "They love their daughter very much."
     
  11. CAsleuth

    CAsleuth Member

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    Interested to know why it took 9 hours to find the family only 1.5 miles from the car too. You’d think you would grab your best partner and get out there with a flash light stat. Could have potentially saved someone’s life!
     
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  12. Seattle1

    Seattle1 #LiveLikeLizzy&Gabby

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    Investigators hope phones of family found dead on hiking trail might solve 'baffling' mystery | Daily Mail Online

    8/23/21

    Investigators are probing phones belonging to a family found dead during a California hike in the hopes of finding a final recording that could solve the riddle of their deaths.

    Jeremy Briese, sheriff of Mariposa County, told The Times of London he was hoping the phones would reveal whether Jonathan Gerrish, 45, or his wife, Ellen Chung, 31, made any phone calls or recorded any messages before their deaths.

    'We've searched from the air and foot and all over looking for anything that may give us a clue to what occurred,' Briese said. 'Basically it's baffling and we've got to work through the different scenarios looking for answers.'

    [..]

    There were no signs of foul play and no traumatic injuries indicated at the scene, where Briese said, Miju was 'in a backpack carrier near the dad, but not on the dad,' and Chung was found about 30 yards away.

    Their dog, Oksi, lay close to the baby.

    [..]

    The Marisopa County Sheriff's Office is now ruling out homicide in the hiking trail deaths, Fox News reports. Spokeswoman Kristie Mitchell said: 'Initially, yes, when we come across a family with no apparent cause of death, there's no smoking gun, there's no suicide note, there's nothing like that, we have to consider all options.

    'Now that we're five days in, no, we're no longer considering homicide as a cause of death.'

    [..]

    Chung is originally from Orange, California. She was earning her Masters in Counseling Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies after having graduated from University of California, Berkley in 2012. She was a sister of Alpha Chi Omega. Chung practiced yoga and taught Hatha and Prenatal yoga classes, according to her Instagram.

    The couple were very active and often spent time outdoors or traveling.

    They moved to Mariposa County from San Francisco during the pandemic when Gerrish was presented with an opportunity to work from home on a permanent basis, according to the San Francisco Gate.
    ____________

    ITB, Ellen
     
  13. Figuring

    Figuring Well-Known Member

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    Oops I meant to reply directly to you. That’s really freaky. I didn’t know that was possible.
    Darn i still did it wrong…
     
  14. swedeheart

    swedeheart Well-Known Member

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    Investigators hope phones of family found dead on hiking trail might solve 'baffling' mystery | Daily Mail Online

    Jeremy Briese, sheriff of Mariposa County, told The Times of London he was hoping the phones would reveal whether Jonathan Gerrish, 45, or his wife, Ellen Chung, 31, made any phone calls or recorded any messages before their deaths.

    'We've searched from the air and foot and all over looking for anything that may give us a clue to what occurred,' Briese said. 'Basically it's baffling and we've got to work through the different scenarios looking for answers.'

    There were no signs of foul play and no traumatic injuries indicated at the scene, where Briese said, Miju was 'in a backpack carrier near the dad, but not on the dad,' and Chung was found about 30 yards away.

    Their dog, Oksi, lay close to the baby.
     
  15. Rosegold68

    Rosegold68 Well-Known Member

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    I think the baby was first to die then. You wouldn’t leave a baby on the ground alive, not if snakes are around. Tbh if that were me, knowing my hike had resulted in my child’s death, I’d pretty much want to give up too. So sad
     
  16. TailSpin

    TailSpin Active Member

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    I believe a lightning strike would have left some evidence on the bodies or area. The fact that it has not been mentionned by law enforcement make me think they have ruled it out. I don't mean to quote a Monty Python movie but maybe they had some bad salmon mousse for lunch?
     
  17. Officer Dibble

    Officer Dibble Well-Known Member

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    You make a very good point!
     
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  18. eptichka83

    eptichka83 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks everyone for such a thoughtful thread. Apologies if this was mentioned previously (I read each post riveted, but some of that was very late at night!) but I wonder if they started walking very fast or even running once they realized either baby or dog was in distress. Those switchbacks are a climb, so being in a rush might have just compounded the effects of the heat.

    I do have to agree with a couple standout issues mentioned previously:

    -Why no discussion of heat as a factor by LE in their comments to MSM?
    -Why did the sheriff’s deputy wait from midnight until the next morning to start the search, knowing the first 48 hours are essential in a wilderness disappearance? I know they had to gather all their resources, but if he saw footprints that night, surely one or two people could have continued down the trail to investigate? Did he assume after calling their names and getting no answer to just wait til morning?

    Sooo many questions.
     
  19. Kudzu

    Kudzu Well-Known Member

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    After hearing the seated position that the man was in with the baby and dog beside him, I think the baby died first and the couple died of a broken heart - too shocked and immobilized to think about getting themselves to safety before heat stroke overtook them. That seated position says a lot… The faithful dog stayed with them. The mom finally realized they needed help, but it was too late. Just absolutely heartbreaking all around. This is just my speculation, of course, waiting for toxicology results to hopefully shed more insight. I doubt it will if my theory is correct.
     
  20. Speculaytor

    Speculaytor Well-Known Member

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    The dog had already died when she continued on?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 23, 2021
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