A father and his two young sons from Illinois died after evidently getting lost in temperatures that dropped fast and heavy rain poured down according to Reynolds County Sheriff Tom Volner's report on Jan. 14. David Decareaux, 36, of Millstadt, Ill. and his two young sons apparently took a wrong turn on a trail they had been on many times before. The Sheriff's office stated that Decareaux was an experienced hiker.
Decareaux and his 8 and 10-year-old sons, along with their 4-month-old yellow Labrador retriever started out Saturday about 10:30 a.m. when it was about 60 degrees outside. They left the Brushy Creek Lodge near Black, Mo. where they were staying with his wife and three other children. According to Volner, Decareaux was wearing just a light jacket, one son was wearing a fleece pullover and the other was wearing a sweater.
The Air Force veteran and his sons were found on Sunday soaking wet along with the dog. Decareaux was dead at the scene and after many hours of trying to revive them, both boys were declared dead at the hospital. Authorities believe they all died from exposure, but autopsies were planned. The dog was found alive near the victims.
“They just missed their turn back to the lodge,” the sheriff 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.”
The temperature had dropped that day from the mid 60s into the 20s along with freezing rain, and the three were not equipped to handle the cold temperatures. They got caught out in the elements and apparently both their cell phone and a flashlight had lost power. A large search party was called upon but was later called off due to flash flooding from the nearby creeks.
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