A family set out on a hiking trip on Saturday, in Reynolds County, Missouri, and some of its members never returned. 36-year-old David Decareaux and his 2 sons passed away during the camping expedition.
The father-and-sons team went hiking to Sutton’s Bluff on the Ozark Trail at 10:30 a.m., St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. They had been camping out at the Brushy Creek Lodge.
“When they took off in the morning, it was near 60 degrees,” Reynolds County Sheriff Tom Volner says. David Decareaux had only a light jacket on, while his sons wore fleece pullovers and sweaters.
“They were last seen by a passer-by at about 2 p.m. (Saturday) on top of Sutton’s Bluff. [...] At the time it was raining, and the passer-by asked if they needed a ride. David told the gentleman they could make it back,” Volner adds.
After failing to return, they were declared missing. A search party of 50 people looked for them on foot and horseback, during the night. The search was continued until 12:30 a.m. on Sunday, due to reports of floods in the area.
Decareaux and the boys were located near Black, Missouri. He was already dead by the time emergency responders could reach him. His sons, 10-year-old Dominic and 8-year-old Grant, died later on. They were transported to a hospital in Ellington, where medical staff tried to revive them.
“They took my babies and worked on them for more than two hours,” mother Sarah Decareaux told the press. She and her husband were traveling with their 3 other children, ages 11, 4 and 2. The rest of the family was not harmed.
An experienced hiker, Decareaux brought along a cell phone and flashlight. His phone battery gave out at some point, however. Also, the weather was too much for them to bare. They had not expected a cold front, and didn't bring warm clothing.