A British couple, their one-year-old daughter, and the family dog were all found dead on a remote hiking trail.
Jonathan Gerrish, 45 from Lancashire, wife Ellen Chung, 31, their one-year-old daughter Muji and dog Oski died in the Sierra National Forrest trail in California on August 17.
In a report sent to detectives , a survival expert claimed that the couple likely died while attempting to save their baby girl first.
According to the Daily Mail, the report read: "Sadly, I believe they were caught off guard, and once they realised their situation, they died trying to save their child and each other.
“It is likely the child began to succumb first, which hurried the parents’ efforts up the hill.
“When one could no longer continue, they stayed behind to care for the child and pet, while the other tried to forge on and get help for their loved ones. It is a tragedy of the highest order.”
Detectives initially had several theories around the death of the family including suicide, poisoning, and even a freak lightning strike, as reported by the Mirror .
However, they have now confirmed that all three died from hyperthermia and dehydration. While the eight-year-old dog Oski suffered a heat-related death, police said.
Jonathan, Ellen and Muji were found 1.6 miles from their vehicle in temperatures that could have soared above 100F (37C), Mariposa County Sheriff Jeremy Briese said.
They were found with one empty water bottle and a bottle of formula between them, which indicated the heat and lack of sustenance likely contributed to their death.
“For Mariposa County, this is rare,” Sheriff Briese told reporters at a conference.
“This is the first hyperthermia cause of death that I’ve witnessed here in 20 years.”
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