A California family of three that had been reported missing the night before was found dead Tuesday along with their dog in a remote area of the Sierra National Forest. John Gerrish, Ellen Chung, 1-year-old daughter Miju, and their family dog were discovered near an area known as Devil’s Gulch in the Southfork of the Merced River drainage. The site is known for having striking wildflower displays and no cell phone service.
Kristie Mitchell, a spokeswoman with the sheriff’s office, said there were mines in the area and no apparent cause of death, leading authorities to treat the area as a hazmat scene for the safety of those responding. An investigation to determine the cause of the family’s death is underway.
“It could be a carbon monoxide situation. That’s one of the reasons why we’re treating it as a hazmat situation,” Mitchell added.