An engineer from Britain who was a Snapchatter, and his wife, tried to save their daughter. However, they were unable to stop the heat and died last summer while hiking on remote California trails. 

Jonathan Gerrish, 45, Ellen Chung, 31, and their 1-year-old daughter, Miju, and dog, Oski, all died in the 100F heat, investigators had concluded after the tragic family was discovered in August.

Detectives were informed by a survival instructor involved in this case that the young couple had likely drowned while trying to save their child.

“Sadly, they were caught unawares, and when they realized the situation, they tried to save their child, and they both died,” wrote an unidentified trainer. 

The parents were unable to keep up with the children’s progress, so it is probable that they succumbed first. The parents stayed with the children and pets until one of them could no more. They tried to get support for their family members while trying to keep going. This is an act of tragedy. 

Because of their unusual circumstances, the deaths of Jonathan Gerrish and Ellen Chung, as well as Muji, one-year old daughter, were treated initially like a hazmat.

A survival trainer involved with the case wrote an email to detectives stating that the young couple, pictured, likely died while attempting to save their infant daughter

An associate survival trainer in the case sent an email to detectives, explaining that the couple likely died trying to save their baby girl.

Mariposa County Sheriff Jeremy Briese, pictured, points to a map to show where a missing family was found dead during a news conference in Mariposa, California on October 21, 2021

Mariposa County Sheriff Jeremy Briese (pictured) points to a map showing where a missing family was discovered dead at a Mariposa, California news conference on October 21, 2020

Mariposa County investigators have been digging through algal-ridden waters, abandoned mines known to release toxic gases, and searching for signs of lightning strikes. All this in the effort to find the reason behind the mysterious death of the family. 

According to a San Francisco Chronicle report of 77 pages, Friday’s death was attributed to high temperatures and grueling terrain.   

Jeremy Briese, Mariposa County Sheriff, held a press conference to announce the deaths of their husband and wife as well as probable dehydration. 

After a relative reported them missing, the family of Northern California hiked on a trail near the Sierra National Forest’s Merced River. The family was found dead at the Sierra National Forest border August 17.

They were located 1.6 miles away from their car in temperatures as high as 103 degrees Fahrenheit. 

The Northern California family went hiking on a remote trail close to the Merced River in the Sierra National Forest, where they were found dead August 17

A family from Northern California went on a hike near the Sierra National Forest’s Merced River. They were discovered dead there August 17. 

Briese showed footage, pictured, of the 'rugged terrain' where the family were found

Briese shown footage of the ‘rugged territory’ in which the family was located, as pictured

One 85-ounce Camelbak water bladder was included with them. It was empty. Briese stated that there were no water containers. 

In a statement, relatives stated that “The loss of the loved ones is a deep and profound pain.”

“When this pain is compressed by the lack of knowledge regarding their death, the questions about where, why, and how fill in the void day and night. 

They expressed their gratitude to the sheriff’s office for “truly going the extra mile” in seeking answers. 

‘Some questions were answered. This will help us to come to terms.

They will always be there for us, wherever we are and whatever we do.

“When we sit under the trees in the future and hear the breeze blow through the branches, they will remind us of them.” 

The bodies of the family of three and their pet were found on the Savage Lundy Trail, 1.6 miles from their parked truck

Three members of the family and their dog were killed in a car accident. They were discovered on the Savage Lundy Trail, just 1.6 miles away from their truck.

Briese explained that dehydration could cause dizziness, and even death. 

Hyperthermia refers to an abnormally high body temp caused by failure of heat-regulating systems. 

Although the cause of death was not determined, it is thought that the dog suffered from heat-related problems. 

He said, “Our message to hiking communities is that you should consider aquifers and geographics.” 

Gerrish and Chung's death has mystified investigators for months

Investigators have been puzzled by the deaths of Gerrish & Chung for many months

He stated that they didn’t have any water filtration equipment. 

‘Prepare appropriately. Although the community is strong and safe, this unfortunate event is tragic because of the weather. 

Friends described them as experienced hikers who were relatively new to this area.

Briese suggests that the team may have not been aware of how fast temperatures could rise within the terrain. 

According to him, when they started hiking, the temperature was in mid-70s. But, after they had walked only two miles, the temperature reached over 90. 

Mariposa County Sheriff’s Investigators worked closely with environmental experts, toxicologists and the FBI, among other specialists. 

It was already established that the cause could not be linked to any gun, other weapons, lightning strikes, carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide exposure or illegal drugs or alcohol. 

Briese claimed that the cause of death was not apparent when the family was discovered.

The area is known for having mines and the police are worried about environmental hazards. 

Initial theories suggested that the fish could be poisoned from toxic materials in the water. 

The toxic algal blooms that were found 12 miles downstream of Gerrish’s body were discovered. This led the Bureau of Land Management to shut down campgrounds and hike trails on a portion of the Merced River.

Authorities closed the 28-mile waterway connecting Bagby and Briceburg after water samples were found to contain toxic algae. 

Briese stated that six laboratories were used to test the water.

Briese stated that the water tested positive for Anatoxin A.

Anatoxin A is a toxin naturally found in blue-green alga, and it’s also called Very Fast Death Factor. 

He stated that there was no evidence the family had ingested toxin. 

John Gerrish, 45, and his wife, Ellen Chung, 30, were said to be experienced hikers, but new to the area

John Gerrish, 45 and Ellen Chung (30), are said to have been experienced hikers who were new to the region.

The Sierra National Forest in California closed more than a dozen trails, campgrounds and picnic areas, citing 'unknown hazards'

California’s Sierra National Forest has closed more than 12 trails, campsites, and picnic areas due to ‘unknown dangers’

Witnesses saw Gerrish & Chung driving in their pickup truck to the Savage Lundy Trail at 7.45am, August 15. 

A couple, their daughter, Oski, and their baby girl, one year old, were also found by search-and-rescue teams two days later.  

An investigation revealed previously that Gerrish had been researching Hites Cove on a smartphone app before his family embarked on the tragic journey. 

They were believed to have completed most of the 8.5-mile challenging loop. This included five miles on a steep slope, with very little shade, and temperatures reaching 109 degrees. It was about 1.6 miles from where their truck was parked at Hites Cove trailhead. 

A missing person’s report was made at 11pm on August 16 and a Mariposa County sheriff’s deputy discovered their truck at the end of Hites Cove Road at the trailhead around three hours later.

Teams of search teams were sent to the remote trails. The families were located along switchbacks back to their trucks around 11:15 on August 17.

Gerrish was a software developer for Snapchat and had previously worked for Google. He graduated from Newcastle University

His American wife, Ellen Chung, was studying psychology and the couple were very active

Gerrish worked previously for Google as a software developer. From Newcastle University, he graduated. Ellen Chung (his American wife) was studying psychology. The couple had a very active relationship.

The police stated that there were no clues left for the detectives and that the crime scene did not show any signs of trauma or foul play.

The sheriff’s department stated that no evidence of any significance was located in search of the vehicle and home.

Gerrish worked previously for Google as a software developer. From Newcastle University, he graduated. 

American wife, who was studying psychology at the time, and they were both very active. They often traveled or spent time outside.