John Gerrish death – obituary, cause of death : John Gerrish and family found dead on hiking trail in the Sierra National Forest of California.
John Gerrish, Ellen Chung his wife, their one-year-old daughter Miju and dog, Oski, were found dead on a hiking trail in northern California last Tuesday, just a day after they were all declared missing.
The Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office have deemed the case as “bizarre,” since there were no obvious injuries to the bodies
“You come on scene and everyone is deceased,” Mariposa County Sheriff Jeremy Briese told the San Francisco Chronicle last Friday. “There’s no bullet holes, no bottle of medicine, not one clue… It’s a big mystery.”
Briese said, Gerrish body was found in a seated position with his daughter and his dog beside him, while the body of Chung his wife was found farther up the hillside path that they’d been hiking.
officials said last week, that there was also no suicide note,
Investigators are treating the scene as a hazardous materials situation at the time.
The mystery deepens after initial autopsies were conducted and Coroners found no clear cause or actual cause of death, although they are still awaiting toxicology results that could take several weeks.
Authorities however have been mulling a range of poisonous possibilities, including toxic algae and deadly gas released by old mines near the forest’s scenic Hite Cove trail.
Gerrish, 45, was a British-born software engineer, while his wife Chung, 31, was a yoga instructor. The couple moved to Mariposa to work remotely and enjoy the outdoors, friends and family told the Chronicle.
Briese said “From everyone we talk to said they were extremely happy,”. They worked from home and enjoy nature, and they made a lot of friends in the short time they were here.”
The coroner office has not been able to narrowed in on a possible cause of death, though they have cast doubt on a few possibilities. Dehydration is unlikely because the family had water with them, the Chronicle reports. Snake bites also seem unlikely due to a lack of injuries. There were also no signs of trauma.
Authorities have also searched old mine shafts in the area for but none have been found to date.
The possibility that the family might have died from toxic algae is also be considered, after forestry officials issued a warning about algal mats on the nearby Merced River last month. Algal mats can be dangerous if touched or consumed with water. it could be weeks before more details emerge. Briese says. “It’s just so tragic and mysterious,” family friend Steven Jeff told the Washington Post. “We’re just devastated by the loss. “But I think the community is more like, ‘What the heck happened?’”