Ellen Chung and Jonathan Gerrish's Family Speaks Out After Their Cause of Death Revealed: 'Never Forget'

·4 min read
Ellen Chung and Jonathan Gerrish's Family Speaks Out After Their Cause of Death Revealed: 'Never Forget'

The family of Jonathan Gerrish and Ellen Chung — who were found dead alongside their 1-year-old daughter Miju and dog — released a statement as their cause of death was revealed after a months-long investigation.

In a press conference on Thursday, the Mariposa County Sheriff's Office confirmed that the California family died of hyperthermia and probable dehydration, while their 8-year-old dog Oski also suffered a heat-related death.

"For Mariposa County, this is rare," remarked Sheriff Jeremy Briese. "This is the first hyperthermia cause of death that I've witnessed here in 20 years."

Later on, the Mariposa Public Information Officer read aloud a statement shared on behalf of their loved ones.

"The loss of a close relative is pain almost beyond words. When that loss is multiplied by four, and one of that four is a baby of just one years old, then that pain is indescribable," their family wrote in the statement.

"When that pain is then further impacted by the lack of knowledge and certainty as [for] reasons for the death then the question of why, where and when and how fill your mind all the days and all the nights," they added.

Jon Gerrish, Muji, Ellen Chung
Jon Gerrish, Muji, Ellen Chung

Rosanna Heaslett John Gerrish, Ellen Chung and daughter Muji

RELATED: What to Know About the Gerrish Family Who Mysteriously Died on Hiking Trail in California

The family's loved ones went on to thank all of the officials for their tireless work in uncovering what happened.

"They have felt our pain, shared the distress of our loss and have responded with sympathy, empathy, and total dedication trying to find some answers for us. We would like to say a heartfelt thanks for their dedication and commitment," the family wrote. "They have truly gone the extra mile."

"Some questions have been answered and we will use this information as a way of helping us come to terms with the situation," the family added. "However, the question of why can never be answered and will remain with us."

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As the statement came to a close, the family shared that "our hearts will never forget the beautiful lives of Jonathan, Ellen, Miju and of course, Oski."

"They will remain with us wherever we are and whatever we do," they wrote. "In the future, when we sit beneath the trees listening to the wind soaring through the branches we will hear them and we will remember."

gerrish family
gerrish family

Ellen chung/ instagram Ellen Chung and John Gerrish

The family of three and their dog were discovered dead in the Devil's Gulch section of the Hites Cove Trail on Aug. 17, just one day after they were reported missing by their nanny.

As authorities worked to determine their cause of death, a portion of a river located near where the family was found was closed in September due to toxic algae — which can cause sickness or death in humans and animals when ingested or swam in.

During the press conference on Thursday, police said they do not believe the family ingested the water in the area. They also noted that one 85-ounce water bottle and a bottle with formula were found near the site, but both came back with no toxins.

RELATED: 'Beloved' Family and Dog Who Died in Mysterious 'Hazmat Situation' Had Moved to Enjoy Nature

The family and their dog reportedly did not have any physical wounds or signs of trauma on their bodies, leading the Mariposa County Sheriff's Office to initially rule out exposure to chemicals and use of a gun or another deadly weapon as potential causes of death.

Later that month, authorities ruled out six more potential causes, including suicide, lightning strike, exposure to carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, or cyanide and illegal drugs and alcohol.

John Gerrish and Ellen Chung
John Gerrish and Ellen Chung

Courtesy Steven Jeffe John Gerrish, Ellen Chung

Prior to their deaths, Gerrish and Chung had moved about 160 miles from their home in San Francisco to Central California during their pandemic, family friend Steve Jeffe previously told The Fresno Bee.

The couple made the move after Gerrish, a Silicon Valley software engineer, began working from home, Jeffe said. They wished to raise their daughter away from a major city and enjoy nature, he explained.

"We're all just devastated," Jeff told the outlet. "They were really beloved by the people. A super generous, sweet and loving couple that was devoted to their daughter."

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