Mystery of Brit family found dead on hiking trail finally solved

A BRITISH family mysteriously found dead on a remote hiking trial in California were killed by hyperthermia and dehydration, cops have confirmed.

Software engineer Jonathan Gerrish, 45, his wife Ellen Chung, 31, and their one-year-old daughter Muji, were discovered by crews in an area of the Sierra National Forest known as Devil's Gulch on August 17.

It brings to an end a two month long investigation into the case that had previously been shrouded in mystery.

Authorities were initially left at a loss after the family were found, but detectives soon ruled out homicide.

However, theories including lightning and poisoning were posed as a possible explanation for their cause of death.

But now authorities say that – alongside their pet dog – the group were found 1.6 miles from their vehicle in temperatures that could have risen to above 100F (37C).

They added that there was also only one empty water bottle with them, – indicating that the symptoms relating to the rising temperature and a lack of sustenance likely contributed to their death.

According to Healthline, dehydration can cause dizziness brought on by extreme heat fatigue.

Meanwhile, hyperthermia is abnormally high body temperature caused by the failure of heat-regulating mechanisms. 

Both can be fatal.


An initial theory posed by cops suggested that the group could have been poisoned by toxic material in the water. 

Authorities confirmed the presence of toxic algae in the Merced River a few miles from where the bodies were found.

Most read in US News


Death row killer wanted THREE PINTS of strawberry ice cream before execution


Luxury life of girl who became a millionaire at SIX & had chauffeur-driven car


Scary 'threat' against school cheerleaders as ‘13 sacrifices’ scrawled on pic


Family of 3 all found dead in their car days after going missing in bad weather

According to Elizabeth Meyer-Shields, of the Bureau of Land Management, the poisonous blooms were capable of producing toxins that can make people and pets extremely sick.

At the time, local reports claimed investigators were looking at whether the family may have drunk water from the river – but no evidence was found.

Days later, police then confirmed they were investigating possible lightning strikes in the Sierra National Forest area after the bodies showed no signs of trauma.

It was prompted after the death of Fresno hiker Nicholas Torchia, 37, who was killed just weeks earlier by lightning when thunderstorms hit the forest.

But, following the conclusion by cops this week, the family thanked the sheriff's office for having '”truly gone the extra mile' in trying to find answers. 

In a statement issued on the Thursday they said: “The loss of the family is pain beyond words and when that pain is compacted by lack of knowledge about their death, the questions of where, why, when and how fill the void, day and night.' 

“Some questions have been answered, and we will use this to help us come to terms with this.

“They will remain with us wherever we go, or whatever we do”.

    Source: Read Full Article