Father, Sons Die Hiking: What Really Happened On The Ozark Trail In Missouri? [REPORT]
After a father and sons died hiking in Missouri on Sunday, countless questions are being raised about why 36-year-old David Decareaux didn't take a ride back to Brushy Creek Lodge where his wife and three other children were staying.
The weekend trip was supposed to be an anniversary gift to his wife, a woman who loves the outdoors. But plans went horribly off course when the father and sons decided to keep hiking despite the fact that the weather was growing dangerously cold.
Unlike other hiking tragedies, no one fell, and the boys weren't bitten by animals. It was a simple miscalculation. The father and sons were only wearing light jackets when they left the lodge. One of the sons had a fleece pullover. The other was wearing a sweater. But the temperatures - which started out at 60 degrees Saturday morning - starting dropping precipitously. Then a storm came in and pummelled the trails with a non-stop deluge of rain.
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A concerned driver saw the father and sons and asked if they needed a ride back to the lodge where Decareaux's wife, Sarah, and his three other children - ages 12, 4 and 2 - were staying. But misjudging how dangerous the weather was, Decareaux declined and said the father and sons were fine.
"They just missed their turn back to the lodge," 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 told reporters that there are no caves or areas to seek shelter. Decareaux had a cellphone and flashlight, but they both lost power, Sarah Decareaux told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Monday.
People who worked at the lodge called the sheriff's department around 7 p.m. Saturday when they heard that the father and sons had not come back. Fifty volunteers - include some on horseback, and others in cars - went out in the cold, rainy weather to find Decareaux and his boys. But when they finally found the father and sons the news was far from what they were looking for.
Instead of coming back with cold, hungry children, the search party found three bodies lying on Ozark Trail on Sunday, cold and soaking wet.
"Dave was a great guy, a good father, son-in-law and husband," Decareaux's father-in-law, Keith Hartrum, told The Associated Press. "Those two boys were just precious - smart, very nice kids."
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