According to the sheriff's office, a man from Michigan wanted to investigate a California family that was found dead on a trail through the Sierra National Forest. He had to be rescued by the sheriff after getting lost.
Unidentified hiker reported missing near Savage Lundy Trail last Wednesday. This is the same area John Gerrish and Ellen Chung, their 1-year old daughter, Miju, as well as their dog, were found dead in August.
According to the Mariposa County Sheriff's Office, the man is believed to be in his 60s and began his hike in an area that was closed off from the public. A sign stating "CLOSED" was posted at the gate.
According to the sheriff's office, the man became lost when he couldn't locate the trail leading to Savage Lundy.
After noticing the car of the man parked at the trail's entrance, another hiker reported him missing. According to authorities, the hiker claimed that he had seen the man on June 28th. He also stated that he was interested in doing personal research about the deaths of his family members because he found them "odd."
"The reporting party saw that his rented vehicle was still parked at trail head, and called our office. The Fresno County Sheriff's Office activated a Search and Rescue mission and the Eagle One Helicopter was used to locate the man on the Hites Cove Rd section of the trail.
The sheriff's office stated that the man complained after he was saved and had to stay the night in the wilderness because he couldn't find the trail leading to the Savage Lundy section.
According to the man, he attempted to call 911 several times but couldn't get through due to poor reception. He also complained that he ran out of water and had to drink from a river.
According to the sheriff's office, the man lost his way on one of the "hottest days" this year. He had "badly burned feet" and was dehydrated, but he drove away from the scene without any medical advice.
Sheriff Jeremy Briese expressed frustration at the incident and stated that the man deliberately put himself and others in danger.
"It is difficult not to feel angry about this rescue mission. I want people come here to enjoy the incredible nature Mariposa County offers. Families should be able to enjoy the outdoors and recreate. He stated that it was extremely important for me to ensure safety while doing so in a Facebook post.
"There was national, local and international news about the terrible incident that occurred last year on the Savage Lundy Trail. We informed the public about ways to keep the area safe each time we discussed it. It is sickening to see someone deliberately put themselves in danger and use vital resources, all in an effort to prove us wrong.
Investigators concluded that the family died of heatstroke and dehydration while hiking in triple-digit heat. Briese stated that the family was given a water bladder backpack weighing 85 ounces. There were no other water containers or water filter systems.