Sheriff to announce what killed California family on hike
MARIPOSA, Calif. (AP) - A California sheriff has scheduled a press conference to announce the causes of death of a Northern California family and their dog found in a remote hiking area in a case that has puzzled authorities.
Mariposa County Sheriff Jeremy Briese will hold the press conference Thursday to discuss the mysterious deaths of John Gerrish, his wife Ellen Chung, their one-year-old daughter Miju and their dog.
The family was hiking on a trail near the Merced River in the Sierra National Forest, where they were found dead on August 17 after a family friend reported them missing.
The Mariposa County Sheriff's investigators have worked with toxicologists, environmental specialists, the FBI, and other experts. You've already ruled out the causes were related to a firearm or other weapon, extreme heat, lightning, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, cyanide exposure, illegal drugs, alcohol, or suicide.
An early theory that has not been ruled out is whether high levels of toxic algae played a role in the Merced River. Investigators have results from water samples taken in the area but were still waiting for other test results to see if the levels were high enough to kill them.
The deaths prompted the Bureau of Land Management to close campsites and recreation areas along the river between the towns of Briceburg and Bagby when water samples downstream from where the family died found high levels of toxic algae.
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