Fresh details reveal a transparent picture of the Northern Californian family who went missing and was discovered lifeless on Tuesday.
The Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office said that family members John Gerrish, Ellen Chung, and Miju, their 1-year-old daughter, as well as their dog, were found dead in the Sierra National Forest, particularly at the Devil’s Gulch area in the south fork of the Merced River.
The cause of death could probably be a “carbon monoxide situation,” as said by Deputy Kristie Mitchell to media outlets.
In a report by the Fresno Bee, the death of the family could also be linked to an “exposure to toxic algae.” Mitchell told Bee that no signs of acute trauma were detected.
The family was originally from San Francisco and had transferred to Mariposa when the pandemic broke. The Bee said Gerrish, a software engineer at Snapchat, was given the chance for remote work. His wife, Chung, was in graduate school towards becoming a family and marriage therapist.
The couple were die-hard concert and festival fans before transferring to Mariposa. In 2017 posts, the couple was seen with a huge circle of friends.
Gerrish and Chung both wanted their child to grow up in a “quiet, slow-paced environment” with nature around, far from the busy San Francisco.
Their Sunday hike was supposed to only take a day. This has raised concern among their family friends when they were unable to come back as expected.
Their family friend Steven Jeffe said his friends’ death was “freaky and strange”.
“We’re all just devastated,” he told the Bee, as reported by SFGate. “They were really beloved by the people. A super generous, sweet and loving couple that was devoted to their daughter.”
The family’s death is not being investigated by the California Department of Justice and sheriff’s office workers.