As mysteries go, this one’s especially eerie. The Chronicle reports that the father was found sitting up, his baby and the dog beside him, and the wife, some distance away. No obvious signs of foul play or violence, and something about the scene—the nature of which no one has yet reported—made the fire department think it should initially be treated as a hazmat situation. In the few hours before it was eclipsed by the collapse of Afghanistan, the media reported any theory that didn’t seem nefarious. Toxic algae blooms, or off-gassing from an old mine shaft, or rattlesnake bites? But there were no signs of any of that, ultimately. And why the dog, too? The speculation stretched on for days while the autopsy and necropsy were completed, and then deemed inconclusive, pending toxicology, which still isn’t complete. 

Buried in the guts of a Fresno Bee article yesterday, a list of bullet points from a recent sheriff’s briefing culminated in a pair of items that seemed more sinister. Search warrants for social media access. A phone handed over to the FBI for data extraction. And the grief of friends and family, perplexed at how this would happen to a family that had retreated to a quieter life, closer to nature, away from all that noise, for the purpose of giving their child a more centered upbringing. 

There were no other dead animals at the scene, the sheriff mentioned.

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