Missing 411 by David Paulides

c.a.

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Cold case update!
And why would a experienced hiker, backpacker go against the Odds..of success.

Links to Maps within and a Video synopsis of her movements and reasoning....🤔

28 November 2020
A British woman who has spent six years on a campervan tour of Europe has gone missing while walking in the Pyrenees.
Esther Dingley, 37, last spoke to her partner Dan Colegate via Whatsapp last Sunday, when she was atop Pic de Sauvegarde on the France Spain border.

She had been due to end her solo trek on Wednesday but has not been seen.
French authorities confirmed they were searching for Ms Dingley, and Mr Colegate said he was "broken" and "shattered" by her disappearance.

Ms Dingley had been travelling in the couple's camper van while Mr Colegate stayed at a farm in the Gascony area of France.
On the weekend she set out on the trek, the couple's story about exploits around Europe in the camper van since 2014 was published by BBC News.

View attachment 47643
Esther had been walking in the area around Pic Sauvegarde

Mr Colegate said she had been away for a month and their last conversation had been about "how excited we were to see each other as this was her last trip before driving back".

Her last known location was on top of the mountain at about 16:00 GMT on 22 November.

Ms Dingley had started walking from Benasque in Spain on Saturday and had a plan to spend Sunday night at Refuge Venasque in France, Mr Colegate said.

He said searches had yielded "no sign at all" and temperatures were dropping with light snow fall in the area.

View attachment 47644
Experienced walker Esther has completed solo treks before

She has previously completed solo treks, and Mr Colegate said: "She always tried to keep in touch but sometimes on her hikes was out of contact for a couple of days.

"This is not looking good."

The couple had lived in Durham before deciding to pack up their lives and go travelling after Mr Colegate nearly died from an infection.
In a post on Facebook, the Peloton de Gendarmerie de Haute Montagne, said it was "actively looking" for Ms Dingley.

Mr Colegate, who has gone to the Luchon area to help look for his partner of 18 years, said helicopters and dogs have been involved in the search but have so far found "no trace".

Update:

'DRAGGED OUT SKULL' Missing British hiker Esther Dingley’s remains may have been ‘moved by animals’, says police
23:36, 26 Jul 2021Updated: 23:36, 26 Jul 2021
The skull with long hair was discovered on a path regularly used by walkers in the Pyrenees.

It was found near Port de la Gléré, a mountain pass on France’s border with Spain near where Esther, 37, was last seen hiking in November.

Commander Jean-Marc Bordinaro said: "This is indeed the area that Esther Dingley was supposed to be in when she disappeared, but we need to be cautious while the identification process is underway.

“Everything suggests that these bones were recently moved by animals.

"They would not have been there a few days earlier.”

Brown bears and wolves roam free in the Pyrenees and vultures are a common sight.

Forensics experts are investigating whether DNA from the remains matches a sample provided by Oxford University graduate Esther’s mum, Ria Bryant, 74.

An investigating French source on Saturday said there was no ‘immediate proof as to the identity of the remains’ and that ‘a medico-legal procedure will be followed to establish the identity of Person X in the days ahead.’

Specialist forensics officers from the General Directorate of the National Gendarmerie (DGGN) will carry out the task, under the supervision of France’s Interior Ministry and an examining magistrate.

Up to 3000 unidentified bodies are found in France every year, including ones in vast rural areas such as the Pyrenees, said the source.


Speculation:
The Disappearance of Esther Dingley, Nov 2020
 

Voyageur

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
@c.a., had finally caught what you posted from David back on the twentieth of July.


Of particular mention, was David's accounting of the missing brother, Ketil Ulvang, of the Norwegian cross country racer, Vegard Ulvang. Ketil was 31-years of age, and his loss was in the year 1993.

It points out here that in 1994 Ketil was found after he "went for a run in the mountains near his home last October. His remains were found earlier this week, in a lake about 5 miles off the path he was following when he disappeared during a sudden snowstorm."

David adds many points, and makes reference to Ketil knowing the land where he went often to train like the back of his hand, more or less. Despite the weather, which would not have seriously affected him, he could find his way around through that landscapes markers that he knew so well. David said it made no sense for him to be found 5 miles away in the lake after the ice thaw the next year.

There are no real details found that discuss aspects of Ketil's body, clothes etc. after he was found, although there may be Norwegian articles that point more at the body recovery.

Reading here, from before he was found the next year, it was interesting to read further about Ketil's and his brother, Ulvang. Here are a couple of paragraphs (not in order):

But here, the bigger story is the fate of Ulvang's older brother, his best friend, his constant partner on his expeditions around the world.
That is close.

When Ketil Ulvang disappeared, police tracked through the wilderness for four days. When they could not find him, they called off the search. Hundreds of volunteers joined Vegard Ulvang and his family for 12 more days, skiing through forests, searching for the body.

Still, they could not find Ketil.
David might have added that some of the search parties were military - this search was a really big deal in Norway.

David did not mention that the area where he was lost leans heavy to granite rock, one of David's indicators. There is also a German connection to the area (Kirkenes, Norway) that reads like this out of wiki (the copy paste map below deleted the town, which is basically the last Northern Fjord along the east boarder of Finland up against Russia:

1628145419149.png

World War II​

See also: Operation EF (1941)
During the occupation of Norway by Nazi Germany, Kirkenes was one of the many bases for the German Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe's Jagdgeschwader 5, and apart from that, the area served as a main base for supplies to the Murmansk front (see Lapland War).


In closing, Ketil's Olympic champion brother, Vegard, is himself an interesting fellow if more is read from here.
 

c.a.

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I'd say that this was a 99% error in the victims judgment and his lack of the limitations of success.
And a one percent blip of something out of the Twilight Zone.

Missing Pleasanton man vanishes on July 10 and is found 14 days later.

Local law enforcement with search teams and volunteers were unable to locate the victim during there attempt. Until yesterday.

The below indicting he died of a catastrophic injure. Not sure if his body was fully cloth. As indicted things may have been scattered which would have been light wear for the heat wave that week. Proper hydration would have been crucial.

Anchorites have indicted that a homicide is not out of the question.

The first accounts of this story are listed first. I've also added links for the maps for the sake of reference, map orientation of the lay of the land before his disappearance.

The Pleasanton Police Department said Friday the official search for a Bay Area man whose bewildering disappearance occurred nearly three weeks ago is resuming.

Berkeley resident Philip Kreycik, 37, went missing on a run at Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park on July 10 and a large-scale rescue effort was underway for several days by dozens of agencies from across California.

The search was called off two weeks ago, though volunteers have continued to patrol the area through the help of a Facebook group with more than 12,000 members.

But today Pleasanton police said they are deploying search teams once more along with members from the Alameda County Sheriff's Department.

"Tomorrow, members will return to where Philip intended to run and comb select areas in hopes of bringing him home," police said in a statement posted on Twitter. "We will provide an update after the search is complete."

The police department said the on-the-ground search comes after reviewing the GPS coordinates of those places that have been covered and determining new areas to search.

"They’re searching higher in Tehan Canyon, just to explore a new area," said Sgt. Marty Billdt, a Public Information Officer with the police department. "They want to double check in the lower probability areas where he could have possibly gone."

Philip Kreycik, 37, of Berkeley, Calif. Photo shared on "Find Philip Kreycik" Facebook group. Facebook / Find Philip Kreycik

Kreycik, a PG&E analyst and avid runner, parked his car near the Moller Ranch staging area around 11 a.m., after telling his wife he was going for an hour-long run. When he didn't return home as expected, his wife reported him missing at 2 p.m.

Kreycik's car was found undisturbed, with his wallet and cell phone in it, police said.

Family and friends had a brief glimmer of hope on the fourth day of the search when two residents adjacent to the park heard cries for help. A search of the canyon yielded nothing.

Anyone with information about this case can call (925) 931-5107 or e-mail tip@cityofpleasantonca.gov.
Managing Editor Katie Dowd and Local Editor Andrew Chamings contributed to this report.


I've add an additional edit for more detail's left out with an earlier version perhaps of other interesting details.

Snips of other details: Video
Even though there have been no new clues or pieces of evidence into Kreycik's disappearance, the volunteers have identified an area near the Tehan Canyon that authorities said they need to take a deeper look at, Lt Erik Silacci said. He did not elaborate.

Tehan Canyon is about a mile from Moller Ranch where Kreycik started his run and left his car and phone behind.

Kreycik's wife reported him missing on July 14 after he didn't return from his midday run.

Kreycik would track his frequent long runs on an app connected to a wearable fitness tracker.

But his run wasn't recorded that day because he left his phone inside his car, so police couldn't pinpoint his location.

His wife allowed police to access his phone and they learned that Kreycik planned to run six to eight miles that day.

Search dogs picked up his scent, but lost it after a short distance;
it's believed the smell of him was eroded by the 100-degree heat and wind.

What seems unusual is that in a park that has hundreds of visitors daily, not one person has said they saw Kreycik running.

Update: No foul play has been determined with lots questions of Philip Kreycik's final resting area and passing.

Amber Lee and Aja Seldon Published 19 hours ago Updated 13 hours ago Missing Persons KTVU FOX 2
PLEASANTON, Calif. - Authorities on Tuesday confirmed that a body located near a trail at the Pleasanton Ridge open space area is believed to be that of Philip Kreycik, who was reported missing over three weeks ago.

Pleasanton police Lt. Erik Silacci said around 2:30 p.m., a volunteer searcher discovered a body matching the description of Kreycik near a tree, about 250 yards from a game trail near the northern part of the ridge.

"Everything leads us to believe that it is likely we did find Philip on the ridge," said Sergeant Ray Kelly with the Alameda County Sheriff's Office. "We wanted to bring him home alive and safe."

Investigators have not ruled out the possibility of foul play in this case.


The body, along with clothing and shoes that matched Kreycik's, was found near a game trail, which is mostly used by deer or other animals. Captain Lance Breed with the East Bay Regional Parks District described the area as not being easily accessible or frequently traveled as it's not designated for recreation. But he said Kreycik could have thought it was a running trail, as game trails are often beaten paths.

"Philip was located in a very remote area of the park," he said. "It's very easy to get disoriented out there."

Sgt. Kelly further explained that based on the terrain, "you can continue on straight and not realize you had gone off the [running] trail potentially."

Preliminary measurements placed the proximity of Kreycik's body about 2,000 feet from the end of the trail where he should have made a turn to go back to the start of his route.

"We don't know at this time if there was any sort of injury or if he had succumbed to some sort of heat distress,"
Lt. Silacci told KTVU.

The medical examiner and coroner's office still needs to positively identify the body and determine an official cause of death. An autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday.

"It's devastating, especially for the community because this just doesn't happen," said Justin Fisher, one of the volunteer searchers who mountain bikes in the open area. "The fact that it took this long to find him is what kind of blew me away. Everybody tried their hardest."

On Saturday, authorities once again deployed their search and rescue teams to the area to look for signs of the 37-year-old father of two after volunteers, who had continued their efforts, pointed them to an area where Kreycik is said to have started his run.

It's unclear if the area where Kreycik was found had been searched before.


"Maybe when we were searching, maybe we were just feet away from him. And if that's the case it would be pretty heavy to know that maybe we didn't look to the left just long enough to find him," Fisher said.

Kreycik's wife reported him missing on July 10 after he failed to return from his midday run. Kreycik was a scientist and the father of two young children.

His family members said they are grateful for everyone who worked hard to bring Kreycik home.

The latest Quote: Facebook:
Silacci said an individual who set out on his own managed to find the body around 2:30 p.m., and then contacted other people who were searching nearby before reaching out to alert law enforcement.

An official identification and a cause-of-death determination will fall to Alameda County Sheriff’s Office coroner’s officials, but on Tuesday, Sgt. Ray Kelly appeared certain about the grim discovery.

In response to questions from press, officials said there did not appear to be any preliminary sign of foul play.
And Today's follow up:
News Release Page with curl Body Found Matching Description of Missing Man.
Comment's
So sad. Such a large search was conducted for him.
More questions than answers. Professional SAR could not locate him after 3 weeks and a volunteer searcher found him easily? Very strange
That’s sad, I was hoping he’d been found alive. Wasn’t there a woman lost hiking in Utah (?) that was found alive weeks after she went missing? I was hoping he’d turned out the same (Link)
For details: http://ow.ly/ayhq50FJRcn


Philip Kreycik Search - VOLUNTEER NEEDS & FAQ
Second insert-SS Created on Jul 12, 2021
Third insert was a comment with a map of the body near a rural private residence.
The Eight mile Loop
 

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c.a.

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
More information on the disappearance of Philip Kreycik.
Joshua Bote , Andrew Chamings , SFGATE Aug. 6, 2021
A preliminary autopsy of the deceased Berkeley man Philip Kreycik rules out foul play, officials confirmed Friday.

Sgt. Ray Kelly at the Alameda County Sheriff's Office told local news outlets that speculation that he died from physical trauma are likely unfounded.

"It looks to us like he sat down in the shade under a tree, and that during that time he had some type of medical event," Kelly told the San Francisco Chronicle.

KGO reports, however, that the Sheriff's Office said there is a possibility Kreycik's cause of death may not be determined because of "decomposition."

Kreycik's family, including wife Jen Yao, confirmed Thursday in an emotional interview that his body was found in Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park earlier this week by a volunteer.

Kreycik, a running enthusiast and an analyst for PG&E, left his home July 10 to go for a run at the park but never returned. A three-week investigation, involving multiple agencies, drones, a running app called Strava and hundreds of volunteers, took place in the following weeks with occasional halts in the search.

Police said law enforcement officers and search and rescue teams had earlier been in an area only 100 to 200 yards from where the
body was eventually found.



A smartwatch may provide further clarity to his death, as will further autopsies.

"Hug your families, because you really never know what happens," Yao said Thursday. "Please take care of each other."

Kreycik leaves behind his wife, Yao, and two children. A GoFundMe set up on behalf of the family has surpassed $135,000 as of Friday.

This story is now on Davids radar. Not sure if there will anything forthcoming.

Aug 8, 2021

Dave covers this case here. King Canyon
 
Last edited:

c.a.

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Published: 18:59 BST, 11 August 2021 | Updated: 18:59 BST, 11 August 2021
  • Esther Dingley went missing on November 22 while out hiking in the Pyrenees
  • Her boyfriend Dan Colegate discovered her body and equipment on August 9
  • A fragment of her skull was discovered on a mountain pass in France last month
  • New find follows police saying they would not rule out chance Dingley was killed
French detectives have blamed 'terrible weather' for their failure to find the body of British hiker Esther Dingley, which was eventually discovered by her own boyfriend in an area already searched by police.

Dan Colegate, 38, uncovered 37-year-old Esther's body on Monday after she vanished last November during a solo hike in the Pyrenees mountains.

Her remains were surrounded by some of her hiking kit, including brightly coloured clothes and a yellow sleeping mat.

Yet specialist French teams made up of mountain police and soldiers supported by aircraft and sniffer dogs had completely failed to locate any of it.

This was despite a bone from Esther's skull being found close to her last known route on the Porte de la Gléré mountain pass between Spain and France.

An investigating source in France said: 'Yes, this failure has raised questions but terrible weather including high winds and rain over the past couple of weeks hampered the search.

'It was impossible to get a drone up, and some of the higher areas were extremely [difficult] to get to as the weather deteriorated.'

The source added: 'The bad weather set in soon after the skull bone was found at the side of the path.'

The French teams included soldiers from the High Mountain Gendarmerie Platoon from nearby Luchon, and also a company of gendarmes from Saint-Gaudens.

It is common for the military to be tasked with search operations in France because of their specialist training.

Christophe Amunzateguy, the public prosecutor in Saint-Gaudens, is coordinating the investigation into Esther's death, and he too has blamed wind and rain for hampering French efforts to gather evidence.

Investigations have been 'complicated by the wind and the weather of recent weeks in the mountains,' said Amunzateguy.

He added that the spot where Esther's body was found was 'not the kind of place you just come across. It is high in the mountains and difficult to access.'

Amunzateguy confirmed that a drone with a remote pilot in Saint-Gaudens had been allocated to search teams, but that it had trouble flying in poor conditions.

In December, French police even claimed to have 'fully searched' 17.4 square miles of the Pyrenees for Esther – including the point where her body was eventually found.

Gendarmerie Captain Jean-Marc Bordinaro said at the time: 'We have searched a very large area – 28 square kilometres in all – with specialist mountain teams, with dogs, with helicopters all along the route she said she was taking, and there is nothing.

'It's not a particularly difficult route and at the time she was on the mountain the weather was good,' he added.

This led to Captain Jean Marc Bordinaro concluding that 'there was no evidence at all that the missing hiker was ever even in France.'

1-of-16 Photos
46520105-9879993-image-m-1_1628665618705.jpg

Last month, human remains later confirmed to be Esther's were found by Spanish hikers at Port de la Glere, a mountain pass on France 's border with Spain , just south of Bagneres-de-Luchon. The trail is known as Puerto de la Glera in Spanish

Colegate, who is believed to have been searching alone, alerted officers to his find on Monday morning.

He said he was concentrating his search efforts on the area where Esther's skull bone was found, around Port de Gléré in particular.

Despite the apparent failures in the French police and military searches, Amunzateguy was relying on them for vital information from the scene.

On Wednesday, a team of Criminal Investigation Technicians (ICTs in French) from Toulouse was still up in the mountains, examining the place where Colegate found Esther's 'skeletal remains'.

They were said to be in a 'natural hideaway', such as a gully or cave, said another investigating source.

The breakthrough came soon after French investigators admitted for the first time that Esther's death may have been the result of foul play.

While 'prioritising a tragic accident,' Amunzateguy said: 'The aim is to put forward a scenario to explain the disappearance of Esther Dingley,

'To find out what may have happened — whether it was an accidental thesis, or a criminal thesis, because we are not closing the door to any hypothesis.'

Missing equipment includes Esther's missing yellow Lanshun ½ Ultralight tent, which has always been considered crucial to solving the mystery, because of forensic clues it is likely to yield.

The tent is made of nylon, silicon and aluminium, and so would last in the wilds of the Pyrenees for days, despite exposure to the elements.

A spokesman for Esther's family said before the latest find: 'When this clothing and kit does turn up, it is likely to answer a lot of questions — or pose some more'.

Amunzateguy said he had given his team 'a month to investigate, so that they could work in peace and try to find out what happened.'

As public prosecutor of St-Gaudens, Amunzateguy has been tasked with investigating Esther's death, and is being supported by judicial police and other agencies.

He has the power to escalate the case into a full-blown criminal enquiry if compelling evidence of foul play emerges.

Esther went missing on November 22 while solo hiking in the Pyrenees. She was reported missing by Colegate on November 24, just a day before her trip was due to end, sparking a massive manhunt.

The search was suspended in December due to deteriorating weather but resumed in the Spring and human remains, later confirmed to be a piece of Esther's skull, were found a fortnight ago.

Colegate announced Esther's remains had been found in a statement yesterday, adding an accident was 'the most likely hypothesis, given the location and other early indications.

'A full investigation is underway to confirm the details surrounding this tragedy.

'The family remain incredibly grateful for the efforts of the police units involved and their commitment to understanding the exact circumstances of Esther's death', the statement added.

Privately, French and Spanish police are known to have put murder low down on their list of theories and believe the Oxford graduate suffered a mountain accident.

Esther went missing on a mountain pass on France's border with Spain, just south of Bagneres-de-Luchon. The trail is known as Puerto de la Glera in Spanish.

The discovery of a fragment of Esther's skull by Spanish hikers on a mountain pass on France's border with Spain last month sparked a renewed hunt for the rest of her remains and equipment.

Investigators suggested that Esther's remains may have been moved by animals to the well-trodden trail where the initial bone fragment was discovered, after the hiker perhaps died in a fall. 'Everything suggests that these bones were recently moved by animals. They would not have been there a few days earlier', Bordinaro said.

Brown bears and wolves are among the creatures roaming freely in the mountain range, where birds of prey such as vultures are also a common sight.

Dingley had planned a solo hike from the Spanish town of Benasque to Pic de Sauvegarde, a mountaintop in the Pyrenees - which she reached on November 22, sending Colegate a picture via WhatsApp, which was their last contact.

She was seen by several witnesses including an Olympic Spanish skier asking for some fruit hiking on the path leading up to the summit.

From there she planned to walk between Port de la Gléré and Port de Venasque - a route of some eight miles - before hiking back down from the mountains.

The couple, both Oxford graduates, had been travelling around Europe in a camper van for years after quitting their careers and Durham home.
 
Got another one in the Bay Area out of Mariposa unfortunately:


Aug 18th
Sheriff’s deputies remained mystified over how a family of three, along with their dog, perished on a remote hiking trail in Mariposa County.

“This is a very unusual, unique situation,” said Kristie Mitchell, a spokesperson for the Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office. “There were no signs of trauma, no obvious cause of death. There was no suicide note. They were out in the middle of a national forest on a day hike.”

The bodies of Jonathan Gerrish, his wife, Ellen Chung, their 1-year-old daughter, Miju, and their dog [🥺] were to be transported on Wednesday to the coroner’s office in Mariposa for autopsies and toxicology exams, Mitchell said.

Searchers found the bodies on Tuesday on the Hite Cove Trail near an area known as Devil Gulch on the south fork of the Merced River, a mile or so from their parked car, after a friend of the Mariposa family reported them missing on Monday. The site is about 10 miles northwest of Mariposa. The couple were known to be avid hikers.

Investigators were considering whether a toxic substance, such as gas from mines in the area or toxic algae, could have been responsible. They were treating the area where the bodies were found as a hazmat site, Mitchell said.

According to records, the area of Hite’s Cove was the site of a hard rock gold mining operation in the mid-19th century, the Asian Pacific American Heritage Collaborative history group said.

“Right now the coroner’s office is investigating,” Mitchell said. “We don’t have any answers. This is definitely bizarre.’’

The couple’s friend, Mariposa real estate agent Sidney Radanovich, said Gerrish was a San Francisco-based software designer who, with his wife, “fell in love with the Mariposa area” and bought several homes there, a residence and as rental investments.

“They were such a loving couple, they loved each other quite a bit,” Radanovich said. “He loved showing the baby all sorts of things and explaining them to her. She didn’t understand, but he would explain them to her anyway.”

Radanovich recalled that once, during a home-buying tour, Gerrish wandered off with his daughter to explore a nearby riverbed because, she said, “he just loved to explore places and show them to her.”

The couple, she said, were regulars at the annual Mariposa Butterfly Festival and at a downtown brew pub.

“Such down-to-earth people,” she said.

The parked car was searched, but nothing was found to help investigators to determine what happened to the family, Mitchell said.

Sheriff Jeremy Briese said chaplains and staff were counseling family members.

“My heart breaks for their family,” he said.

What the heck is lingering around the hills - suicided, window fallers, skin walkers, wetiko, Richard Ramirez's ghost?! Something is stalking this people. Also "treating the area as a hazmat site" with no trace of death is peculiar too. My partner mentioned an update article that claimed they are "considering a toxic algae bloom" - so they still don't know. Sounds like some high strangeness cover up and definitely getting the "vibe" since the smoke from the fires as rolled in. Also interesting is the Dad worked in tech. Wonder where he worked and what he knew at the software company?

Also, just for consideration the storm drain aspect from Joe's recent write came to mind. Storm drain's may have algae or other toxic substances that whatever is lurking likes this environment - I could be wrong but sharing for others consideration.


On June 18th, three days before Noah disappeared and presumably entered the storm drain, an inspection was carried out on the drain and it was found to be unlocked. On the 24th June, three days after Noah disappeared, council workers padlocked the drain, presumably while Noah was inside.

The game is a foot. 👹🕵️‍♂️
 

hlat

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Got another one in the Bay Area out of Mariposa unfortunately:


Aug 18th


What the heck is lingering around the hills - suicided, window fallers, skin walkers, wetiko, Richard Ramirez's ghost?! Something is stalking this people. Also "treating the area as a hazmat site" with no trace of death is peculiar too. My partner mentioned an update article that claimed they are "considering a toxic algae bloom" - so they still don't know. Sounds like some high strangeness cover up and definitely getting the "vibe" since the smoke from the fires as rolled in. Also interesting is the Dad worked in tech. Wonder where he worked and what he knew at the software company?
Paulides briefly talked about the Gerrish case today. He pointed out they were found just 8 miles from Yosemite.
 

c.a.

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Gerrish caseGot another one in the Bay Area out of Mariposa unfortunately:
Article from the Merced Sun-Star.

‘No smoking gun.’ Algae blooms considered in mysterious death of family near Yosemite
Video / All emphasis and links by the Writer. Updated August 20, 2021 02:01 PM
Toxic algae blooms are among hazards being considered by investigators working to determine how a healthy Mariposa couple, their 1-year-old daughter, and dog mysteriously died along a Sierra National Forest trail.

Emergency responders this week initially treated it like a hazmat situation because of the strange circumstances – no visible body trauma – and concerns about potentially toxic gases from old mines in the area northeast of Mariposa and southwest of Yosemite National Park. The hazmat declaration was lifted Wednesday, Mariposa County Sheriff Jeremy Briese said.

“I don’t believe it’s connected to a mine,” Briese said of the deaths of Mariposa residents John Gerrish, Ellen Chung, their daughter, Miju, and family dog, Oski, described as looking similar to a golden retriever. “We don’t know the cause. … We won’t rest until we figure it out.”

Autopsies and toxicology tests will hopefully reveal more. They are planned for Thursday in Stanislaus County for the family of three (Mariposa County has a contract with the county for coroner services). Briese said Oski will also receive an autopsy through a partnership with Tulare County and UC Davis.

Their bodies were being airlifted out of Devil’s Gulch near the south fork of the Merced River on Wednesday afternoon.

The family was found dead Tuesday on the Savage-Lundy Trail in Devil’s Gulch near Hites Cove, a popular hiking destination. Briese said the family was located a couple miles from the south fork of the Merced River and about 1.5 miles from their vehicle, a gray truck, parked at a trailhead down Hites Cove Road past the Jerseydale Sierra National Forest station and community of Mariposa Pines.

That remote trailhead down a dirt road is accessed from the side closest to Highway 49. It’s different from another popular trailhead to the Hites Cove area along Highway 140 in the river canyon closer to Yosemite.

Family not near a mine, Mariposa County sheriff said

Briese said the family was found over three miles away from the only mine he’s aware of in that area, at the bottom of Hites Cove. He said crews have been searching around where they were found to make sure they aren’t missing some mines or other hazards.

“There’s a mining community,” Briese said of the area, “so there could be some that we don’t know about.”

Mariposa County Sheriff Jeremy Briese give an update on the investigation into the deaths of three family members and their dog in the Hite Cove area of the Sierra National Forest in Mariposa County on Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021. CRAIG KOHLRUSS ckohlruss@fresnobee.com

One longtime, lifelong Mariposa County resident, Dave Givens, in the area Wednesday said there were over 300 mines in Mariposa County as of the 1950s, “and those are the registered mines.”

He was peering into Devil’s Gulch with binoculars, surveying fire damage from the 2018 Ferguson Fire and watching a California
Highway Patrol helicopter hovering over where the family was found dead this week.

A helicopter hovers over a remote area northeast of the town of Mariposa, on Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021. The area is reported to be where a family and their dog was found dead on Tuesday, the Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office said. CRAIG KOHLRUSS ckohlruss@fresnobee.com

Givens wonders if one of many toxic gases from a mine could have killed them.

“Stay out of abandoned mines. ... There’s no maintenance,” Givens said as a general warning for hikers in that area. “Timbers rot, gasses collect. Not a good place.”

Briese said investigators are considering toxic algae blooms as a possible cause of death, but added, “We’re unsure.” He said the U.S. Forest Service had posted warnings about the algae at the trailhead of the trail where the family was found.

“And from what I’ve gathered, these algae blooms are due to the recent drought,” Briese said, “but I don’t know too much detail about the toxicity of them.”

Sierra National Forest warns of toxic algae near Hites Cove

Briese said investigators are considering toxic algae blooms as a possible cause of death, but added, “We’re unsure.” He said the U.S. Forest Service had posted warnings about the algae at the trailhead of the trail where the family was found.

“And from what I’ve gathered, these algae blooms are due to the recent drought,” Briese said, “but I don’t know too much detail about the toxicity of them.”

Sierra National Forest posted a warning about the harmful blooms on its Facebook page July 13, stating water testing along the Merced River near Hites Cove showed a high concentration of algae bloom.

“The Sierra National Forest (SNF) would like to inform those visitors who like to enjoy this area of the Merced River and SNF, not to swim, wade or allow their pets to enjoy the water,” the post reads, in part.

Some species of algal mats can produce toxins, the agency continued, “and if present, can pose a risk to humans and pets.”

Ongoing investigation, and where they were found in Sierra

Briese said there’s no “smoking gun” clue indicating what happened, and that’s been frustrating.

“I’ve been here for 20 years and I’ve never seen a death-related case like this,” he said. “There’s no obvious indicator of how it occurred.”

Briese said his office is treating the investigation like a homicide “until we establish the cause,” adding, “we’re not going to rest” until that’s discovered.

He described the deceased couple as “very family oriented” and lovers of the outdoors.

“They’re smart, they know hiking and what type of gear you need or don’t need for the amount of time you’re out there, and it appears it was a day hike,” Briese said of their final hike together.

Deputies camped in Devil’s Gulch overnight Tuesday to keep the scene secure.


“We want to do everything we can to bring closure to the family,” Briese said, “to also identify the cause of what happened, and also to ensure the safety of our residents and people that enjoy that hiking area.”

The CHP helicopter hovering over the area lowered something into this location around 1:15 p.m. Wednesday, then flew away.

Briese said one rescuer was treated for a health issue related to the heat but was OK. Briese said around 3:15 p.m. Wednesday that he expected the family’s bodies to be extracted from Devil’s Gulch within that hour, then flown to the coroner’s office.

The Savage-Lundy Trail around where the family was found remained closed Wednesday.

A Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office official stopped media Wednesday afternoon along Hites Cove Road near the Hites Cove Helipad, past Apperson Mine Road, stating the scene ahead was closed. The remote location along a steep mountainside has expansive views into deep Devil’s Gulch canyon. Briese described the Savage-Lundy Trail there as a steep, established and popular trail.

A flock of wild turkeys and woodpeckers were among wildlife in the area Wednesday afternoon. The area is populated by pines, incense cedar and oaks – many killed in the 2018 Ferguson Fire.

Briese said the last major incident his office responded to in Devil’s Gulch was during that fire, when firefighter Braden Varney was found dead alongside his bulldozer at the bottom of a ravine.

“It’s tragic,” Briese said of the recent deaths. “It’s emotional for us as well as the community, and we’re going to do everything we can to ensure closure and safety of our community.”


A family who moved to Mariposa County in the past year went for a hike Sunday and never returned. The bodies of John Gerrish, Ellen Chung and 1-year-old daughter Miju, plus the family dog, were found near the Devil’s Gulch area in Mariposa County, California. Courtesy photo Steven Jeffry
Article By Carmen Kohlruss
Carmen Kohlruss is a features and news reporter for The Fresno Bee. Her stories have been recognized with Best of the West, George F. Gruner, and McClatchy President’s awards, and many top awards from the California News Publishers Association. She has a passion for sharing people’s stories to highlight issues and promote greater understanding.

Mariposa, CA — Uncertainty still surrounds what led to the death of a husband and wife, their one-year-old daughter, and the family dog, near the Sierra National Forest in Mariposa County

They were located this week deceased near the Devil’s Gulch area in the Southfork of the Merced River drainage. The couple, John Gerrish and Ellen Chung, had recently purchased a home in the county. The Mariposa County sheriff’s office confirms that there were no signs of trauma and no suicide note. Officials are still awaiting an autopsy report from the medical examiner.

Mariposa County Health Officer, Dr. Eric Sergienko adds, “From an Environmental Health standpoint I can say that we worked with the California Water Board and their surface water monitoring project to collect environmental samples from the water supply that the hikers were using to test for toxins.”

The State Water Resources Control Board confirms that it is testing the waterways for any potential toxic algae blooms. More information is expected to be known soon.

The California Department of Justice is also involved in the investigation.
Written by BJ Hansen.

And yet another case within proximity of the current discussion on the Gerrish case.
The date of this disappearance (in Sonora) was on August 2nd. Though many conflicting observations on Facebook on this incident.

Map:
Some people not from the area were asking for some information like this. A few of us have put together a time line of locations and places. They are estimated times based of interviews, map travel time and activity logs.
1:45pm Left home
2:00-2:06 pm Ace Hardware
2:15-2:30 pm Dock
3:00-3:20 pm Bank
3:20 pm Phone off line
7:49 pm Suspicious vehicle report
8:38 pm CHP called to vehicle
9:00 pm Michele starts calling around
 

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c.a.

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Something smell's very fishy about all this.

The temperature reached 109 degrees, investigators believe, when Jonathan Gerrish and his wife Ellen Chung hiked with their 1-year-old baby and dog earlier this month along a remote Mariposa County trail.

It was as hot as 106 on July 10 when ultrarunner Philip Kreycik went for a jog in the Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park.

The thermometer hit 108 on Aug. 18 along the Golden Canyon Trail in Death Valley National Park when 60-year-old San Francisco resident Lawrence Stanback braved the heat for a hike to the Red Cathedral.

None of them survived their adventures. Investigators believe heat played or may have played a role in their deaths.

As temperatures continue to rise in California and elsewhere due to climate change, state scientists warn that there will only be more opportunities for heat-related illness or death while residents enjoy the outdoors. The dangers will only increase.

“Everyone is high risk when it’s so hot outside,” said Rupa Basu, the chief air and climate epidemiologist with California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment.

Two years ago, Basu and her team published the Climate Change Indicators Report which, among other findings, determined that the risk of death increased with warming average temperatures. The warning stressed that certain groups — such as the elderly, young children, those with pre-existing health conditions and the economically disadvantaged — were at higher risk.

“Those engaged in vigorous physical activity outdoors ... are also at greater risk,” the study found.

Since 1950, extreme heat days between April and October in California have increased at a rate of about one extreme heat day per year, the study found. That rate has hastened in the past 30 years. On extreme heat days, temperatures are at or above the highest two percent of historical daily highs, while on extreme heat nights, they are at or above the highest two percent of historical daily lows.

Extreme heat nights, which have increased even faster than days, can make it harder for people to cool down during hot weather, the researchers said. That can affect higher risk people including the elderly.

“Over the last 20 years, every year is hotter than the last, more or less,” Basu said. “That’s part of the reason from a health standpoint why we need to be proactive because it’s changing so quickly.”

Heat causes more reported deaths annually on average in the United States than any other weather hazard, according to the report. And that’s despite heat illness and death being “severely underreported,” Basu said.

In 2006, a heat wave in California led to at least 140 deaths between July 15 and Aug. 1, more than 1,100 hospitalizations and about 16,000 emergency room visits.

Earlier this month, Stanback died a little more than a mile from the Death Valley National Park trailhead, which has a large warning sign saying, “Stop — Extreme Heat Danger — Walking after 10 a.m. not recommended.”

Nine of Death Valley’s 10 hottest summers have been recorded in the past 15 years, said park spokeswoman Abby Wines. Typically, she said, the park has one heat-related death every year or two, but it has seen three so far this summer.

“This particular summer has been really bad,” Wines said. “But the vast majority of our heat issues are not on the highest days.”

That’s because when the thermometer hits 130 degrees, like it did earlier this summer, visitors step out of their cars and immediately jump back in.

What also complicates matters are California’s microclimates, Basu said. The thermometer jumped from a high of 64 degrees in Berkeley on July 10 up to 106 when Kreycik decided to go for a jog 30 miles away in Pleasanton.
A search and rescue vehicle passes a poster for missing runner Philip Kreycik in Pleasanton in July..

A search and rescue vehicle passes a poster for missing runner Philip Kreycik in Pleasanton in July..Noah Berger/Special to The Chronicle

Despite his experience as a distance runner, GPS data from his smartphone indicate Kreycik experienced trouble after five miles, likely due to heat exposure, an Alameda County sheriff’s office spokesman said. He was found weeks later under a tree.

Investigators are still waiting for autopsies to come back with toxicology reports for the young and fit Mariposa family to determine what killed them and their dog. But they are already suspecting an amalgam of climate change impacts could have played a role.

Authorities believe the family left for their hike during an extreme heat day with temperatures between 103 and 109 degrees in the afternoon, under smoky conditions caused by another historic wildfire season. The 2018 Ferguson Fire burned down much of the vegetation along the trail, eliminating most shade along the grueling, 8.5-mile steep loop.

Detectives also have raised concerns that the family could have come in contact with toxic bacteria in the waterways along the hike.
Ellen Chung and husband Jonathan Gerrish, along with their 1-year-old daughter and dog, were found dead on a Mariposa hiking trail.

Ellen Chung and husband Jonathan Gerrish, along with their 1-year-old daughter and dog, were found dead on a Mariposa hiking trail. Provided by Steve Jeffe

Such freshwater blooms have taken hold in recent years, said University of Southern California biological sciences Professor David Caron. Climate change, particularly drought and hotter water, exacerbates such toxic blooms, he said.

“Freshwater is a little more of the Wild West,” Caron said. “This is something that’s come onto our radar in the last five, six, seven years.”

The bacteria can create toxins that can kill humans and animals. The U.S. Forest Service placed signage at the trailheads, warning hikers, among other things, not to drink the water or eat shellfish.

In addition to more extreme conditions, there are just more people out in the heat. The public is visiting national and regional parks in record numbers as they look for outdoor recreation amid a pandemic. From 2014 to 2016, the National Park system saw 16 heat-related deaths.

Basu, whose group plans to release an updated climate report later this year, said society should be proactive ahead of the new dangers. Perhaps closing down trails when temperatures surpass certain thresholds or increasing public education, she said.

“Communities with such measures will be better able to protect against heat-related illnesses and deaths as California continues to warm,” the study found.

San Francisco Chronicle staff writer Megan Cassidy contributed to this report.
Matthias Gafni is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: matthias.gafni@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @mgafni

Aug 27, 2021
 
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c.a.

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Got another one in the Bay Area out of Mariposa unfortunately:
10:00 PM · Sep 2, 2021
SAN FRANCISCO (AP/CBS13) — Federal officials closed a portion of trails at the Sierra National Forest in Mariposa County where a Northern California family and their dog were found dead last month, citing unspecified safety concerns.

The area of the forest will be closed until Sept. 26 to “provide for public safety due to unknown hazards found in and near the Savage Lundy Trail,” according to the order.

John Gerrish, his wife, Ellen Chung, their 1-year-old daughter, Miju, and their dog were all found dead on Aug. 17 on a hiking trail near the national forest’s Hite’s Cove. A family friend had reported them missing.

Investigators are considering whether toxic algae blooms or other hazards may have contributed to the deaths and are awaiting the results of water tests taken from the area where the family was found.

“We are uncertain of the causes of death. We still haven’t gotten the results from the case,” said Leak Pen, assistant recreation officer at the Bass Lake Ranger District, which oversees that portion of the Sierra National Forest. “So, as a precaution, let’s go ahead and close it because we know there’s some form of hazard to the public.”

The closure affects nine trails, six picnic sites and the dirt Forest Road that leads to the Hites Cove trailhead. The district took two weeks to close the trail to figure out the logistics of shuttering such a large area and when they realized answers for the deaths were still far off, Pen said.

Toxicology reports are still pending, leading investigators to wait to list a cause of death, but last week they ruled out any weapons being used or dangerous gases from a mine along the trail.

Pen said one water test has come back positive for harmful algae bloom. Others have turned up no toxic substances and still other tests are outstanding. Officials had already warned hikers of such blooms a month before the deaths along the south fork of the Merced River, so that result is not a surprise. Such freshwater blooms are not known to kill humans.

“Because of the heat there’s a chance they may have drank the water or tried to treat the water, but we don’t know,” Pen said. “It’s very mysterious, and we’re all just waiting for the results.”

The Sierra National Forest closure coincides with a statewide shutdown of all 20 million acres of national forestlands in California through Labor Day due to dangerous fire conditions and taxed firefighting crews.

1630617087085.png
Savage Lundy Trail Photo Collection


Opinion:

Aug 28, 2021

Sequence of Events:

Aug 27, 2021
 

stellar

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Autistic 3 year old boy in NSW disappears from rural property. One thing I didn't hear mentioned is tracking dogs being used.
There is an expected turn in the weather tonight which may hamper the search.

 

jar

Jedi Master
FOTCM Member
In some of David's videos, he mentioned a friend of his named Steve Isdahl. He is a professional guide for hunting and fishing in British Columbia, Canada. He has a YouTube channel called “How to Hunt”. He mentioned when he was younger, he had a face-to-face encounter with sasquatch. People pestered him to tell the story and once he did, he got bombarded with other firsthand accounts from people around the world. In order to deal with the influx of emails, he created “The Facts - How to Hunt” channel for people to share their encounters – as he say’s “to start the healing process” because of the overwhelming fear involved in most encounters. He reads the emails verbatim.

He has a disdain for any of the so-called “bigfoot organizations” (rightfully believes they are “controlled” by “agencies”) and what is happening in the world in general. His “I don’t give a #### what you think of me” attitude is refreshing on YouTube since he could care less about demonetization.

Anyway, here is a clip from a past upload to give you an idea:

 

Voyageur

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
In some of David's videos, he mentioned a friend of his named Steve Isdahl. He is a professional guide for hunting and fishing in British Columbia, Canada.
Not aquatinted with Steve Isdahl, although recall that Dave does mention some friends in Canada, a hunting guild even. Steve Isdahl wrote a book here:

The Day Sasquatch Became Real For Me​


Big game guide Steve Isdahl shares his personal experiences with the Sasquatch beings he had encountered in the mountains of British Columbia. Since his coming forward publicly of his first hand knowledge of these beings, Steve offered up his voice to literally thousands of other first hand witness’s who have been belittled, ridiculed and shamed for sharing what has happened to them in their local woods. “Enough is enough, the proof is in, it’s time to quit hiding it” are the words spoken.In addition to Steve’s experience there are dozens of first hand encounters added into this book. Experience is knowledge. Each experienced shared is knowledge shared. Take from it what you will, this book is only the begining.
Might be one to read.

In the video you posted, Steve offers two main things that one might encounter, things that denote stop 'don't go further' - he seems to describe these (paraphrasing) as 1. when everything around you (natural noises and natural dynamics - movement) suddenly stops, 2. when you mind suddenly begins to be cloudy and out of synch.

When first watching, was almost sure of where he was standing, however it was not. He is standing on the shores of Lillooet Lake (near Pemberton BC) and he makes mention of Uri Creek where 'things go on' (black helicopters and Sasquatch) and people are warned off it, apparently.

Steve also reads a few letters, like Dave does, and one reminded me of a scene out of the high strangeness of Skinwalker Ranch - the scene where camera frames are missing relative to an event.

Steve makes reference to people who work in the nuclear industry and what they have seen or know (he might describe more about this in his other videos).

Here are two shots of the area and Uri Creek drainage itself (which reaches back to glaciated terrain):

1630778818656.png

1630779418047.png
 

Nienna

SuperModerator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
In some of David's videos, he mentioned a friend of his named Steve Isdahl. He is a professional guide for hunting and fishing in British Columbia, Canada. He has a YouTube channel called “How to Hunt”. He mentioned when he was younger, he had a face-to-face encounter with sasquatch. People pestered him to tell the story and once he did, he got bombarded with other firsthand accounts from people around the world. In order to deal with the influx of emails, he created “The Facts - How to Hunt” channel for people to share their encounters – as he say’s “to start the healing process” because of the overwhelming fear involved in most encounters. He reads the emails verbatim.

He has a disdain for any of the so-called “bigfoot organizations” (rightfully believes they are “controlled” by “agencies”) and what is happening in the world in general. His “I don’t give a #### what you think of me” attitude is refreshing on YouTube since he could care less about demonetization.

Anyway, here is a clip from a past upload to give you an idea:

Thank you for the link to this video, jar. It seems he sees quite plainly what is going on. He also seems to see quite plainly the "unseen".

I found it interesting that at the end of the video, he had some very important advice for everybody. Now, this is from memory so it's not precise, but, basically, what he said was:
.....................
If you are walking in the woods, a park or forest or a field, if you start to get a feeling of dread or terror, turn around and go back the same way you went in. Don't take any other paths or turns. Just go back exactly the same way you walked in.

If you feel that time is stopping, that you can't hear one sound of nature, turn around and go back the way you came.

If you start to feel confused or your brain feels foggy, you feel weak, turn around and go back the same way you came in.
........................
It sounds to me that he is warning about what those who have survived Missing 411 experiences have said how they felt before they went missing and he's trying to make as many people as he can aware of it so it doesn't happen to them.

It's excellent advice for everyone.


Added: Listening to another of his videos, it seems he is talking about something (sasquatch?) using these techniques to keep people away from them and their area. This may be so. However, these things he was warning about are the types of things that people who have been missing and, then, are found, talk about in the Missing 411 books as how they felt before, and sometimes, while they were gone. Maybe the two are tied together?
 
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