New details emerge on family who mysteriously died in Sierra National Forest


The new report paints a clearer portrait of the Northern California family who was found dead Tuesday after being reported missing just a day earlier.

John Gerrish, Ellen Chung and their 1-year-old daughter Miju – as well as their family dog ​​- were found dead in the Devil’s Gulch area at the fork south of the Merced River in the Sierra National Forest, Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office you say.

Deputy Kristie Mitchell told media that the cause of death could be a “carbon monoxide situation.”

“That’s one of the reasons we’re treating it as a hazmat situation,” Mitchell said.


Bee in Fresno also reported that “exposure to toxic algae” could be a possibility of death. There was no indication of acute trauma, Mitchell told the Bee.

The family moved to Mariposa from San Francisco during the COVID-19 pandemic when Gerrish was presented with an opportunity to work remotely for good, the Bee reported.

Gerrish was a software engineer at Snapchat, Bee reported; Chung was in graduate school to become a family and marriage therapist.

Before moving to Mariposa, both were hungry concerts and festivalgoers; social media posts dating from 2017 show Gerrish and Chung at shows with large groups of friends.

The two wanted to raise Miju in a “quiet, slow-setting” surrounded by nature, in an environment unlike the bustle of San Francisco.

The family’s Sunday trip was designed for just a day trip, which raised concerns from several family friends when they were not returning home.

Steven Jeffe, a family friend, used the phrase “bizarre and strange” to describe his friend’s death.

“We’re all just devastated,” Jeffe told the Bee. “People really loved them. A super generous, sweet and loving couple who were devoted to their daughters. “

The California Department of Justice and sheriff’s office workers are investigating the deaths. Their death is being handled as a hazmat and coroner investigation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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