Tourist gets lost researching California family’s hiking deaths in Sierra National Forest – SFGATE

A Michigan man who got lost in the Sierra National Forest last month while investigating the famously mysterious demise of a young California family got lost himself and required rescue, according to the Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office.

In a news release that was posted on Facebook Saturday, the sheriff’s office said the man — who was reported missing on June 29 — was investigating the deaths of Ellen Chung, 31, Jonathan Gerrish, 45, their 1-year-old daughter, Miju, and their dog, Oski, whose mysterious fates last August made international headlines. Deputies say the man told another hiker that he found the determined cause of the deaths in that case “odd” and wanted to do research on his own.

A sheriff’s office investigation that concluded in October said the family likely died of hyperthermia and dehydration due to extreme heat, but a 77-page report on the case shows that investigators looked for algae-infested water, mines that might emit toxic gas, poisonous vegetation and evidence of lightning strikes before coming to their determination. 

After the hiker spoke to the Michigan man on the Hites Cove/Savage Lundy Trail on June 28, they noticed that his rented vehicle was still parked at the trailhead the next morning. They called the sheriff’s office to report him as missing shortly after. They said the man was in his 60s and was wearing sweatpants.

It’s unclear how long the man was lost and when exactly he was rescued. A spokesperson for sheriff’s office did not respond to an SFGATE request for such information. The news release from the sheriff’s office said the man entered the area through a gate that was affixed with a “closed” sign, and that he became lost after being unable to find the trail that leads to the Savage Lundy portion of the area. 

The release said the man tried to make numerous 9-11 calls after becoming lost, but no calls went through. Deputies say he had two one-gallon jugs of water with him, but during extremely hot days, had to eventually resort to drinking river water. After a search and rescue mission was conducted in coordination with the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office — the search involved the use of a helicopter — the man was found along Hites Cove Road. The release said …….


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