In the California desert, a family was out on an afternoon walk when they became overheated. Last August, Jonathan Gerrish, 45, Ellen Chung, 31, their Aurelia ‘Miju’ Chung-Gerrish one, and Oski died while on the trail near the Merced River. When their bodies were discovered by authorities several days later, it emerged that Gerrish had desperately attempted to send an SOS text message but that it was never received owing to poor cell phone reception in the desert region.

Gerrish was a Snapchat developer. He was from the United Kingdom originally. On August 15, 2021, at noon, he sent a desperate text to someone whose name had not been released. The message read, “Can you help us” and included: “No water or ver (over) heating with baby,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The text message was never delivered, according to the investigators. It also appeared that Gerrish had made five calls that were not received. Investigators looked into a variety of causes of death, including suicide, illicit drugs, algae-tainted water, lightning strikes, assassination, and the potential presence of deadly gasses from an abandoned mine in the region.

However, the family’s death was attributed to heatstroke owing to the high temperatures. Temperatures in the region reached as high as 109 degrees Fahrenheit, and a prior fire had destroyed all of the trees that could have provided shade. While on the rocky terrain, they ran out of water and were unable to cool down.

According to reports, a survival trainer collaborated with the cops and stated that the pair most likely perished while attempting to save their daughter.

“Sadly, I believe they were caught off guard, and once they realized their situation, they died trying to save their child and each other,” the trainer said. “It is likely the child began to succumb first, which hurried the parents’ efforts up the hill. When one could no longer continue, they stayed behind to care for the child and pet, while the other tried to forge on and get help for their loved ones. It is a tragedy of the highest order.”

Relatives reported the family missing in August. Two days later, authorities discovered their bodies along a California hiking route. The family had only one 85-ounce water bottle that was bone dry. A mile and a half from where they had parked their car, the family went for a hike on a trail that is 6.4 miles long, and they collapsed.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, the family made five phone calls to various numbers but did not attempt to call 911.

“The loss of the family is pain beyond words,” relatives said in a statement. “When that pain is compacted by lack of knowledge about their death, the questions of where, why, when, and how to fill the void, day and night.”