(StraightNews.org) – A father and his 6-year-old daughter died when they walked to find help following a car crash. They died from hypothermia and were found around 50 yards from their burned-out vehicle in Calhoun County, South Carolina. Jason Murph and his daughter Michelle were on their way to visit his mother when the tragedy happened.
Autopsy results were inconclusive, although Calhoun County’s coroner said hypothermia was the likely cause, given the weather conditions. “They became extremely cold, and I think it became an urgency for them to try to find help and try to find shelter,” said coroner Donnie Porth.
No foul play was suspected in the deaths, and there were no signs of suspicious injuries.
The victims set out on their 60-mile journey from Blythewood to Orangeburg on December 16 and were reported missing the same day. According to an incident report, Mr. Murph’s estranged wife told law enforcement officers that she received a call from him at around 8 p.m. saying he had crashed his vehicle and it had slid off the road. He told her he wasn’t sure where he was, but his wife said she could hear the child crying in the background. After that, the phone went dead. The vehicle was last seen at a gas station about a half hour before Murph called his wife.
The mystery deepened when relatives said the crash scene was not on the route between Murph’s home and his mother’s.
Coroner Porth speculated that the car became stuck in mud during the journey and said there was evidence that Murph tried to free it. Friction from turning tires may have caused a fire, causing them to leave the scene and find help – only to become stuck in mud themselves.
“I feel like they were walking together, and unfortunately, he being heavier than she is, he sank into the mud, and the more you struggle, the deeper you go,” the coroner said.
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