Dad and Two Young Sons Die During Hike in Missouri

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REYNOLDS COUNTY, Mo. – A father and his two sons died after going on a hike on Saturday in Reynolds County, Mo., which is near Missouri’s Mark Twain National Forest.

David Decareaux, 36, his son Grant, 8, and son Dominic, 10, went hiking Saturday on the Ozark Trail in Reynolds County near Black, Missouri, which is about 100 miles southwest of St. Louis. They were staying at a lodge there and the three left the mother and three other siblings behind at the lodge. The family is from Millstadt, Illinois.

They left wearing only light jackets at about 10:30 a.m. Saturday. About six miles and 3 1/2 hours later, a retired police officer spotted the three and turned around to offer them a ride. They were already wet at that point, but declined the ride.

Police were called at around 6:30 pm Saturday when they didn’t return to the lodge.

A search was launched, but was called off around midnight when flood waters made the trail impassable.  The search resumed Sunday around 7:00 am.

The father and his sons were found on the trail a few hours later.  David Decareaux was pronounced dead at the scene.  His sons were taken to the hospital where they died.

Volunteers took turns giving CPR to the children for about three hours.

The three were found along the trail, about thirty miles from the lodge owner’s home. Police say the father had several wounds on his legs, and speculate that he had become confused with hypothermia and may have fallen several times.

Boy Scouts of America, Lewis & Clark Council of Belleville have released this statement:

“We offer our heartfelt condolences to the Decareaux family and all the Scouts and Scouters in Pack 323 for the tragic loss this past weekend. David Decareaux was a den leader and Dominic (10) and Grant (8) were both Cub Scouts. As a Scouting family, we will keep them in our thoughts and prayers.”

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