(GoRealNewsNow.com) – In a tragic incident in South Carolina, a father and his 6-year-old daughter died of hypothermia following a vehicle crash while en route to visit the man’s mother.
Jason Murph, 42, and his daughter, Michelle, were discovered deceased by police K-9 units approximately 50 yards from their damaged and burnt pickup truck in a field on December 18.
The autopsies of the victims were inconclusive, but Calhoun County Coroner Donnie Porth determined that hypothermia was the cause of death, influenced by the prevailing weather conditions. Porth explained that although the temperatures were not below freezing, the combination of wind and rain likely led to the pair becoming extremely cold, prompting their urgent search for help and shelter.
There were no indications of suspicious injuries on the bodies of Murph and Michelle, and no foul play is suspected in their deaths. The pair had departed from Blythewood with the intention of visiting Murph’s mother in Orangeburg, a 60-mile journey. However, they never arrived and were reported missing on December 16, as per WFAB.
According to a report by the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, Murph’s estranged wife stated that he had called her around 8 p.m. on the night of their disappearance, informing her of the crash after their vehicle slid off the road. During the call, Murph was unsure of their location, and their daughter could be heard yelling in the background before the call ended abruptly. Subsequent attempts to contact Murph were unsuccessful.
Surveillance footage from an Exxon gas station captured Murph’s silver Toyota Tundra pickup truck a little over an hour before he made the last call to his estranged wife. The coroner theorized that the truck had become stuck in mud, leading to numerous attempts to free it. This effort likely caused a grass fire due to tire friction. Murph and Michelle then left their burning vehicle to extinguish the flames and attempted to walk to the interstate for help. However, they ended up trapped in the mud near a creek.
Porth speculated that as they were walking, Murph, being heavier, sank deeper into the mud, and their struggles only worsened their predicament.