Investigators Search for Cause in Family Hiking Deaths

Investigators Search for Cause in Family Hiking Deaths

( – On August 17, authorities found the bodies of Ellen Chung, Jonathan Gerrish, their 1-year-old daughter Muji and their dog in the Sierra National Forest, California. Police are now trying to figure out how the family died.

According to reports, the Mariposa County Sheriff’s Department is searching the phones found with the couple to see if they can find any new information. Deputies want to know if they tried to call anyone before they died or used their phones for some other reason.

The family didn’t have any obvious trauma to their bodies when authorities discovered them. Autopsies performed on the bodies reportedly ruled out blunt force trauma. Sheriff Spokeswoman Kristie Mitchell said deputies have ruled out homicide as the cause of death.

Investigators are now looking into other possible causes of death, including heatstroke, carbon monoxide poisoning, toxic algae and even snake bites as possible reasons for the deaths. Toxicology reports will take some time. In the meantime, a professional will perform a doggy autopsy on the family’s pet to see if a reason for its death can be found.

Sheriff Jeremy Briese told the press that he has never seen anything like these deaths in his 20 years on the force. “I have never seen an incident like this where there is zero explanation,” he said.

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