Couple, their baby and dog found dead in remote California hiking area

Missing Google engineer, his wife, their one-year-old daughter and dog are all found dead in remote California hiking area: Police investigating ‘gas leak’

  • Jonathan Gerrish, his partner Ellen Chung, their one-year-old daughter and family’s dog were found dead near Devil’s Gulch in California Tuesday 
  • Family had been reported missing after failing to return from weekend hike 
  • Authorities say victims had no obvious injuries, raising possibility of a carbon monoxide poisoning  

Authorities in Northern California are trying to determine what killed a family of three and their dog who were found dead on a hiking trail in a remote area of the Sierra National Forest after being reported missing.  

Search teams on Tuesday discovered the lifeless bodies of all three victims, identified as John Gerrish, Ellen Chung, their one-year-old daughter, Muji, and their dog near an area known as Devil’s Gulch in the Southfork of the Merced River, the Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office said.

There was no clear cause of death, prompting authorities to treat the area, which is dotted with mines, as a hazmat scene, said Kristie Mitchell, a spokeswoman with the sheriff’s office. 

Jonathan Gerrish, his partner Ellen Chung and their one-year-old daughter were found dead near an area called Devil’s Gulch in a remote part of Northern California on Tuesday

The family’s dog was found dead along with its owners by search teams 

‘It could be a carbon monoxide situation. That’s one of the reasons why we’re treating it as a hazmat situation,’ she said.

A friend had reported the family missing at 11pm on Monday evening after Gerrish and Chung failed to show up for work that day, reported Fox 26 News.

Gerrish and Chung were last heard from early Sunday, when they uploaded a photo of a backpack. Rosanna Heaslett, the family friend, said they hiked on weekends.  

The family’s grey Ford Raptor was located near the Sierra National Forest gate early Tuesday. The bodies of the couple, their daughter and pet dog were found between 9.30am and 10am. 

‘This is never the outcome we want or the news we want to deliver, my heart breaks for their family. Our Sheriff’s Chaplains and staff are working with their family and will continue to support them during this heartbreaking time,’ said Sheriff Jeremy Briese. 

Gerrish, a native of England, worked as a software engineer at Google. Chung was from Orange, California, but was of Korean descent

The sheriff’s office is investigating the deaths along with the California Department of Justice.

The remote area where the bodies were found had no cellphone service, Mitchell said. It was close to the Hite Cove trail, known particularly in springtime to have spectacular wildflower displays. 

According to social media posts, Gerrish was a native of Lancashire, England, who worked as a software engineer at Google. Chung was from Orange, California, but was of Korean descent.  

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