Investigators rule out some causes as to what killed California family hiking near Yosemite
MARIPOSA, Calif. - Investigators are ruling out what may have killed a family who was found dead in the Sierra National Forest but have still not determined what caused their death.
The bodies of Ellen Chung, John Gerrish and their 1-year-old daughter, as well as their family dog, were all found last week in the Devil's Gulch area of the Merced River, south of Yosemite.
The Mariposa County Sheriff's office has now ruled out exposure to chemicals from a mine along the trail, as well as the use of a gun or other weapon, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
They have not yet ruled out toxic algae from a nearby river.
Authorities are still waiting for toxicology reports and cell phone data, though the remote area where the bodies were found had no cellphone service.
The hiking trail ran through an area of forest known particularly in springtime to have spectacular wildflower displays.
The couple relocated from their home in San Francisco to Mariposa in the spring of 2020, when Chung was pregnant, according to Steven Jeffe, a close friend of the couple who also relocated from San Francisco to Mariposa last year.
Gerrish worked at Snapchat and Chung was studying to be a therapist.
"They leave behind a very grieving community in San Francisco," Jeffe said, adding that the Mariposa community was mourning, too.