Area near where a Northern California family was found dead closed due to “unknown hazards”

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The Merced River Recreation Site in Sierra National Forest, the area near where a Northern California family was found dead, was ordered shut by the officials on Saturday.

They said the closure of the site located west of Yosemite was “due to unknown hazards found in and near the Savage Lundy Trail.”

The closure will take effect until Sept. 26. “If conditions change” around the site, the closure can be lifted sooner.

Last Aug. 17, a family consisting of a 45-year-old dad John Gerrish; 30-year-old mom Ellen Chung; their 1-year-old daughter Miju; and their dog named Oski, were discovered lifeless in the Devil’s Gulch area, according to the Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office.

The scene was handled by the responding agencies as a hazmat situation as the cause of deaths remains uncertain.

The initial autopsy results released by the Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office excluded chemical hazards, gunshot injuries, stabbing, and other acute trauma as the family’s cause of death.

Their mysterious deaths were therefore facing another challenge with the recent closure.

There is a probability that a hazard was detected not on the actual trail but somewhere near, which was likely viewed to have put the family’s life at stake.

As early as mid-July, officials have already cautioned about consuming water close to the area as the theory regarding the dangerous algal blooms continue.

The investigators have already asked to include Gerrish and Chung’s mobile devices and social media accounts in the probe as the toxicology results are set to be released in the next weeks.

The sheriff’s office also said that the water samples collected around the site were already handled by the California State Water Resources Control Board and independent laboratories, SFGATE reported.

“We know the family and friends of John and Ellen are desperate for answers, our team of Detectives are working round the clock,” Jeremy Briese, Mariposa County Sheriff, expressed in a statement last week.