Authorities say an Illinois father and his two young sons died this weekend after they got lost on a hiking trail in southeast Missouri.
According to KMBC News, David Decareaux, 36, and his 8- and 10-year-old sons were found dead Sunday, a day after they ventured out with their 4-month-old yellow Labrador retriever on the Ozark Trail, about 110 miles southwest of St. Louis.
KY3.com reports that Decareaux, described as an experienced hiker, had been on the Ozark trail before but apparently took a wrong turn and was ill-equipped for temperatures that sank from 60 degrees to the 20s as the day progressed.
“They just missed their turn back to the lodge,” Reynolds County Sheriff Tom Volner said. “By that time, their light played out. You don’t have any ambient light down here because there are no cities or towns. When it’s dark you can’t see the back of your hand.”
Volner went on to say several agencies searched for the three on Saturday until bad weather forced them to stop looking. The search resumed at 7 am Sunday.
The bodies of Decareaux and the boys were found soaking wet around 9am Sunday morning, their dog beside them.
David Decareaux was pronounced dead at the scene. The boys were pronounced dead at a nearby hospital after four hours of CPR failed to revive them, Volner said.
Only the dog survived.
Following the tragic incident, Decareaux’s wife, Sarah, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch she wanted all the people who helped search for her family to know how appreciative she is.
Prayer and her faith in God, she said, are helping her forge ahead.
“We are a Christian family,” Sarah said. “I know where they are now.”
STLToday reports the Decareaux family has three other children, ages 11, 4 and 2.