Family’s Death Hiking Near Yosemite Still a Mystery

The couple had backpacked within the Himalayas, ridden camels by the Gobi Desert and checked off Burning Man, even creating their very own hashtag, an amalgamation of their first names: #jellonadventures.

So a day of climbing within the Sierra National Forest, even with the demanding switchbacks and triple-digit warmth, wouldn’t have been uncommon for Jonathan Gerrish and Ellen Chung, husband-and-wife transplants from San Francisco who had lately grow to be dad and mom to a little woman, Miju, through the coronavirus pandemic.

But the trek could be the household’s final: Search groups discovered all three of their our bodies on Aug. 17, in the future after the household was reported lacking not removed from Yosemite National Park. The household’s canine, Oski, an Aussie-Akita combine, was additionally discovered useless.

More than two weeks later, investigators are nonetheless confounded by what brought about their deaths. Teams in hazmat fits had already combed the world for clues. On Saturday, the U.S. Forest Service closed trails and recreation websites close to the place the our bodies have been discovered.

The Forest Service had beforehand posted warning indicators about probably poisonous algae blooms within the space. The company mentioned it had taken the step to “protect the public from unknown hazards.”

That growth additional disconcerted those that knew the household, together with Steven Jeffe, a buddy and neighbor in Mariposa, Calif.

“It’s mysterious,” Mr. Jeffe mentioned in an interview on Wednesday, “the unknown of what danger possibly lies there.”

Mr. Jeffe mentioned he turned mates with the couple when all of them lived in San Francisco. He described Mr. Gerrish, a software program engineer born in Britain, and Ms. Chung, a graduate pupil in household remedy who had labored as a yoga teacher, as out of doors varieties who have been skilled hikers.

ImageCredit…Frederic J. Brown/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Mr. Gerrish, 45, had labored as a software program engineer for Google, in line with his LinkedIn profile. Most lately, he had labored for Snapchat, in line with Mr. Jeffe. Ms. Chung, 30, was raised in Southern California and was of Korean descent, Mr. Jeffe mentioned.

“It’s such a beautiful family,” Mr. Jeffe mentioned. “It’s obviously so devastating.”

Initial post-mortem outcomes have offered no solutions to the authorities. Investigators mentioned that there have been no indicators of trauma and that they have been investigating attainable lightning strikes within the space.

A spokeswoman for the Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office mentioned in an e mail on Wednesday that there have been no new updates within the investigation.

In an interview with The Fresno Bee, Sheriff Jeremy Briese mentioned that he had by no means encountered such a mysterious case.

“It’s frustrating, and we’re not going to rest,” Sheriff Briese mentioned. “Our biggest mission is safety, but also the family and bringing closure, and being able to support them through this tragic time.”

On Aug. 19, the California State Water Resources Control Board, utilizing a water high quality reporting map on its web site, warned the general public to “stay away from algae and scum in the water” close to the south fork of the Merced River within the Sierra National Forest.

An incident description mentioned that the company had acquired a report of a “suspected illness” within the space. The warning beforehand made reference to a fatality, however was modified to say sickness, The Bee reported.

“Do NOT let pets go in the water, drink the water, or eat scum on the shore,” the warning mentioned. “Keep children away from algae. Do not eat shellfish from this waterbody.”

The Forest Service, which quickly closed all nationwide forests in California this week due to the wildfires spreading throughout the state, didn’t reply to a request for remark.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, the household was reported lacking at 11 p.m. on Aug. 16. The subsequent day, search groups discovered the couple’s automobile close to one of many gates to the Sierra National Forest. Their our bodies have been discovered a brief time later close to Devil Gulch.

“My thought initially was perhaps the car veered off the trail,” mentioned Mr. Jeffe, who reduce brief a journey to Croatia when he discovered that the our bodies had been discovered. “People were going to go out and look.”

In an Instagram publish in August 2020, Ms. Chung beamed over the start of her daughter.

“Their daughter was everything,” Mr. Jeffe mentioned. “They were very devoted parents.”