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A California family of three reported missing this week were found dead with their dog in a remote area of the Sierra National Forest on Tuesday, according to authorities.
The family was reported missing by a friend Monday night and search teams located their vehicle near a gate in the Sierra National Forest that led to Hites Cove, California.
John Gerrish, Ellen Chung, one-year-old daughter Miju, and their family dog were later found dead near an area known as Devil’s Gulch in the Southfork of the Merced River Drainage, according to the Mariposa County Sheriff’s office.
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“This is never the result we want or the message we want to deliver. My heart breaks for your family,” said Sheriff Jeremy Briese. “Our sheriff’s chaplains and staff work with their families and will continue to support them through this heartbreaking time.”
There was no clear cause of death, which led the authorities to treat the area as a dangerous goods site. The investigation into the cause of death of the family is ongoing.
“It could be a carbon monoxide situation. That is one of the reasons we are treating it as a dangerous goods situation,” said Kristie Mitchell, a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office.
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The bodies were found in a remote area with no cell phone connection, Mitchell noted. The area was near the Hite Cove Trail – known for its eye-catching spring wildflower displays.
The sheriff’s office, with assistance from the California Department of Justice, is conducting an investigation into the deaths.