Dad & 2 Young Sons Die on Hike When Weather Takes Turn for the Worse

Heartbreaking 6

Ozarks Mountains

A mom of five kids sent her husband and two sons aged 8 and 10 -- supposedly all experienced hikers -- off into the woods on Saturday morning, and just two days later, half her family is gone. Who ever thinks something as sweet and safe as going for a walk in the forest could be deadly? Not me, not ever, not once when my kids who are the same ages as those boys go hiking with their own experienced hiker dad, practically a weekly occurrence. I can't imagine anyone thinking you could freeze to death in the woods when the temperature doesn't even get below 20, but as this story reminds us, you cannot take these adventures too lightly -- literally.

The man, David Decareaux, 36, left with Dominic and Grant Saturday morning for a hike in the Ozark Mountains in southeast Missouri. The temperature was in the 50s during the day but plunged to 20 at night, and it was raining, which makes damp and cold that much more clenching when you're not wearing warm enough clothes. Apparently the trio were not. And that's not too surprising when it comes to children -- whose children don't constantly fight their parents about wearing coats and warm boots, preferring to dress like it's July and not the middle of winter?

Maybe it was the rain and flash floods, or maybe they just got disoriented, but the hikers somehow missed the trail that would have taken them back to the lodge where they were staying and got lost. We always tend to forget that even landscape that is familiar in the daylight can turn wild and unforgiving in the dark of night, especially in bad weather.

About 50 rescuers scanned the area Saturday night after the poor mom reported them missing, but the search was scaled back before midnight due to the dreadful weather. The three were found the next morning on a bluff, where they probably sought shelter, but it was too late: The dad was already dead, and the boys died later at the hospital. I can only imagine that the father died holding and sheltering his boys from the elements as best he could, and the difference even finding them an hour earlier could have made ...

As if this story couldn't get any sadder, there was one survivor: The family's faithful Labrador Retriever was found next to the bodies.


Image via Victoria - Ozarks Crescent Mural/Flickr

accidents, weather


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NoR_C... NoR_CaL_MoMmY

So, so sad. Petaluma, CA recently lost a girl Alyssa Byrne to hypothermia when she went to a NYE party in Tahoe. They believe she attempted to make the 3 mile walk back to her hotel and got disoriented and they found her three days later passed away in the snow :(

We were in Tahoe that night too and it was freezing! So so sad :( my heart aches for the mother.

dixie... dixiechick2

This is tragic. The family was from Waterloo, Illinois a town not to far from where I live.

worki... workingmama86

wow that is so sad and scary! 

I have so many memories hiking and camping in the mountains with my dad and older sister. I guess we were always fortunate nothing happened to us!

Melan... MelanieJK

Experienced hikers should know to check the weather reports.    It's even more important when you're having unseasonal weather because IT WILL return to seasonal at some point and that can happen very quickly.

However,   this is mostly just a horrible sequence of bad luck.    Very sad.

nonmember avatar Amanda

Each time our family goes hiking I always pack ponchos, thermal blankets, waterproof matches and other emergency items just in case. You never know what can happen even on an "easy" hike. My prayers go out to this family.

vandm... vandmsmom

How sad my thoughts and prayers go out to this family

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