A HIKING trail where a British family were mysteriously found dead with their dog has been closed due to ‘unknown hazards’.
Jonathan Gerrish, 45, his wife Ellen Chung, 31, and their one-year-old daughter Miju were all found dead by search teams on August 17 in a remote area of the Sierra National Forest in California.
Detectives at first launched a murder probe – but cops now say they are ruling out homicide, despite not yet having an explanation or cause of death.
The Savage Lundy trail is now closed off to the public until September 26 – or until "conditions change", reports Fox News.
These hazards could include a number of possible causes of death for the family, including toxic algae reported in a river nearby and noxious gases from abandoned mines.
In July, the US Forest Service warned that toxic algae had been discovered in the Merced River and urged people not to swim in it or to allow their pets to drink from it.
The U.S. Forest Service said in an advisory: "As a precaution and to protect the public from unknown hazards in the area, The SNF decided to close several recreation sites, roads, and trails along the Merced River and its South Fork, until deemed safe for public use."
According to the Mariposa County Sheriff's Office, a friend reported the family missing after Gerrish didn't show up to his job as a software engineer on the Monday before their bodies were discovered.
Their bodies were found on the trail around 1.5 miles away from their vehicle on August 17.
Police are hoping that the autopsy of the family's dog – Oksi – who was also found dead at the scene could help solve the mysterious case.
And they also said the toxicology reports from the family could help shed some light on the baffling case.
Cops have however pledged they will not give up the trail until they get answers.
Mariposa County Sheriff's spokeswoman Kristie Mitchell told Fox News: "Initially, yes, when we come across a family with no apparent cause of death, there's no smoking gun, there's no suicide note, there's nothing like that, we have to consider all options.
"Now that we're five days in, no, we're no longer considering homicide as a cause of death."
She added: "We're hoping that within the next week, two weeks, we'll have a better idea.
"There's toxicology that we're waiting for from the autopsies themselves, and then also from the [necropsy for the dog]."
The couple had reportedly moved to Mariposa from San Francisco to raise their daughter in "a quiet, slow-paced environment, surrounded by open-air and close to the mountains for hiking and camping adventures".
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