Mariposa County Security Officer said Thursday (October 21) that a family of hikers who had mysteriously died on a California hiking trail two months ago died of possible hyperthermia and dehydration. Clarified in.
The bodies of John Gerish, Ellen Chung, 1-year-old daughter Miju, and 8-year-old dog Oski were found on August 17 along the Savage Randy Trail near the Merced River in the Sierra National Forest. Live Science previously reported.. There were no signs of trauma to their bodies and investigators could not immediately find the cause of death.
“It’s very difficult to investigate heat-related deaths,” Mariposa County Sheriff Jeremy Breeze said at a news conference. Since the body was discovered, the Mariposa County Sheriff’s Department has worked with the FBI, toxicologists, the environment and other experts to identify the cause of the tragic death. Investigators investigated various possibilities, including whether high-level toxic algae on the Merced River and smoke from nearby abandoned mines could have poisoned families.
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There is no evidence to suggest that the family ingested contaminated water or accessed a nearby mine, Breeze said. Investigators have recently ruled out other causes of death such as lightning strikes, gun wounds, and suicide.
Autopsy reports, their disappearance timeline, the weather that weekend, the path they followed, the lack of shade along the path, and their lack of water all indicated hyperthermia and possibly dehydration as causes of death, Breeze said. Said. “We are confident in our discovery.”
Hyperthermia occurs when the body’s temperature control mechanism fails due to extreme outside temperatures. According to the National Institutes of Health.. Breeze says that when body temperature exceeds 105 degrees Fahrenheit (41 degrees Celsius), it can damage the brain and other organs, causing muscle spasms, malaise, weakness, dizziness and ultimately death. He said.
The cause of death of the dog Oski remains “unknown,” but evidence suggests that he was also suffering from heat-related problems, he said.
The body was found at the beginning of an 8-mile (12.8 km) loop, including the Height Cove Trail and the Savage Randy Trail, approximately 1.6 miles (2.6 km) from the car. Investigators found an empty 85 ounce (2.5 liter) water bladder, but no other water container or water filtration system. They also found some snacks and a little milk powder. It is not clear if they all died at about the same time.
The road they followed had a steep slope, some of which was unshaded. The temperature of the day reached a maximum of 109 F (43 C). “My message would be to prepare if you plan to hike,” he said. This was an “unfortunate and tragic event due to the weather.”
Originally published in Live Science.
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