FILED IN: Tragic Endings

Two young boys, father, get lost and die during hike

Decareaux family over Christmas. Father and two sons freeze to death while hiking. Family photo. Dominic farthest left in hat, Grant to his immediate right.

An Illinois father and his two young sons, who reportedly got lost while hiking on the Ozark Trail in Missouri, were found dead over the weekend.

David Decareaux, 36, along with his two sons, Dominic, 10, and Grant, 8, set out for a hiking trip on Saturday but got disoriented in the deep wooded trails. Decareaux’s wife became concerned when the boys and their father failed to return to the lodge where they were staying.

Reynolds County Sheriff Tom Volner says Decareaux and his sons were dressed for warmer weather, having set out while temperatures were near 60 degrees. Police believe the family took a wrong turn and became lost as temperatures started to drop rapidly. Wet conditions set in overnight as temperatures dropped into the 20s.

Rescue teams set out Saturday night to look for the family but had to call off the search as rainy conditions caused flash flooding around the area.

Decareaux and his sons were found on Sunday. Decareaux had already passed away. Dominic and Grant were near death and rushed to a local hospital where they were later pronounced dead. The boys and their father had taken their 4-month-old Labrador puppy with them, who survived. The puppy was found along side the boy’sĀ soakedĀ bodies. The boys and their father are believed to have succumbed to hypothermia. Decareaux and his boys are survived by his wife and the boy’s three siblings.

A retired policeman is said to have seen the boys and their father earlier that day and offered them a ride, but Decareaux declined.

Decareaux’s wife said her husband was an experienced hiker, but the area was too dark and weather conditions too extreme for the family to survive without proper attire and equipment.