Cause of death for Mariposa family remains undetermined; a timeline of the ongoing investigation has been released

Authorities have ruled out two possible causes of death for a Mariposa family found in Sierra National Forest.

According to The Fresno Bee,

The Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office shared a timeline of its investigation into how a Mariposa family mysteriously died this month along a hiking trail in Sierra National Forest, southwest of Yosemite National Park.

In a new update Thursday, the sheriff’s office said it ruled out weapons or “chemical hazards” along the Savage-Lundy Trail, where Jonathan Gerrish and Ellen Chung were hiking with their 1-year-old daughter and dog, as possible causes of death.

“ALL other potential causes of death remain,” the sheriff’s office said.

Here’s a timeline of events from the Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office and what’s happened with its ongoing investigation:

  • Saturday, Aug. 14: Jonathan Gerrish researches Hites Cove hike via a phone app.
  • Sunday, Aug. 15: 7:45 a.m., witness sees the Gerrish/Chung family traveling in their vehicle toward the trailhead, down Hites Cove Road north of Jerseydale in Mariposa County.
  • Monday, Aug. 16: 11 p.m., a family friend reports the family missing.
  • Tuesday, Aug. 17: 1:53 a.m., the family’s car is located down Hites Cove Road north of Jerseydale.
  • Tuesday, Aug. 17: 1:55 a.m., a search and rescue mission is initiated.
  • Tuesday, Aug. 17: 11 a.m., the family is found dead on the Savage-Lundy Trail by a search and rescue team.
  • Thursday, Aug. 19: Autopsies are completed on the family and dog. The autopsy findings state “pending toxicology” results.
  • Friday, Aug. 20: Search warrants issued for a phone found with the family.
  • Friday, Aug. 20: Search warrants issued for the family’s home and cars. “Nothing significant” is found.
  • Monday, Aug. 23: Additional water samples are collected from water sources “along the trail area.” Other samples from that area were sent to a lab the previous week. There’s a known harmful algae bloom in the south fork of the Merced River, in the region where they were found.
  • Tuesday, Aug. 24: A cell phone is delivered to the FBI for data extraction, “awaiting results.”
  • Wednesday, Aug. 25: Search warrants issued for “possible social media access.”
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    Judaea Rojo

    Judaea Rojo

    Judaea Rojo attained his Bachelor of Science in Biology, and enjoys hiking, nature photography, and is the Missing NPF Content Manager.

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