Jonathan Gerrish, Ellen Chung, their 1-year-old daughter and their dog were all found in a forest in Sierra Nevada, California. The family had gone on a hike on Sunday August 15th. But the next morning, when the little girl’s nanny arrives home, no one is there. Not seeing the family return and having no news from any of its members, friends reported the couple and their little girl missing on Monday. As reported by Paris Match, Mariposa County police quickly announced in a statement that they had found the couple’s car near a bridge leading to the hiking trail, where the lifeless bodies were also found.

For now, the cause of the deaths has not been determined. Each member of the family has no apparent injuries, which strongly questions the investigators. “This is a very unusual and unique situation,” said the Sheriff’s spokesperson. “There was no sign of trauma, no obvious cause of death. There was no sign of suicide.”

Toxic algae involved in the death of this family?

The first hypotheses concerned the presence of possible hazardous materials, such as carbon monoxide from old mines. But the trail was quickly ruled out after the sheriff announced that no mines existed nearby. Still according to Paris Match, the possibility of the proliferation of toxic algae is also mentioned. “Algae toxins have the ability to cause death within 24 hours of exposure,” Sarah Smith, professor of biological oceanography, told Fox KTVU. The investigation is still ongoing and the autopsy of the bodies should reveal a number of clues.

For their part, the relatives of the pretty family are devastated. “This is never the kind of end we want to announce, I am heartbroken for their loved ones. Our team is working with the family and will continue to support them during this heartbreaking time,” the sheriff said to them in a statement.

Jonathan Gerrish and Ellen Chung © Ellen Chung Instagram

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