A Michigan couple and their eight-month old son who were found dead outside their pick-up truck in the woods on Saturday froze to death, authorities have revealed.
Amanda Pomeroy, 32; Douglas Dougherty, 35; and their son Jacob were reported missing on January 16 after last being seen dropping off their nine-year-old daughter at a friends’ house on January 12.
The Ogemaw County Sheriff’s Department says there was no foul play in their deaths, which an autopsy report on Wednesday confirmed was as a result of exposure to the cold.
However, deputies have been unable to explain why the family was not wearing shoes when they were found. They were otherwise fully clothed.
Amanda Pomeroy, 32 (right); Douglas Dougherty, 35 (left); and their baby son Jacob were found dead on Saturday outside of their pick-up truck in the woods in Michigan. The sheriff’s office believes their truck got stuck on a rock, leaving them stranded and they froze to death
Eight-month-old Jacob Doughtery died with his parents after they were stranded in the cold
The couple leaves behind a nine-year-old daughter Michelle, pictured, who had been staying with a friend when they left with her younger brother, eight-month-old Jacob
Studies have shown that in some cases of death by hypothermia, victims begin to remove their clothes as their nerves are damaged and they begin to feel irrationally hot.
In many cases, people remove clothes from the lower half of their body, such as shoes, first.
The couple and their son were left stranded in the remote wooded area in Northeast Michigan when their pick-up truck, a silver 2006 Chevy Silverado, got struck on a rock and couldn’t be moved.
They were left in a secluded area, far from other homes or residential areas.
The sheriff said there was evidence that Dougherty had been trying to move the truck so the family could escape the freezing temperatures.
Their family grew concerned after failing to hear from them for several days and a search was launched.
‘It’s so weird. He would never do this. Not call for seven days. Ever,’ Douglas Dougherty’s parents, Michael and Shirley Dougherty, told ABC 12, adding that he would always call his daughter every few days.
‘It’s been horrible. We haven’t been able to sleep. We haven’t been able to do anything. We’ve been on the road, going to different places trying to locate them, and it’s just we haven’t slept.’
They also revealed that the couple had a history of drug addiction and feared they had been under the influence when they went missing with their son.
‘That baby doesn’t deserve this stuff. I don’t know what’s going on, but you shouldn’t be involved if they did want to take off,’ Shirley Dougherty said.
‘If they wanted to do what they wanted to do. That’s okay, but don’t involve the baby. That’s just not right, right now. I wouldn’t be standing here if that baby wasn’t involved.’
Douglas Doughtery’s family revealed the couple, pictured together above, had a history of drug addiction and they had feared they were under the influence when they went missing
However, police say they did not find anything suspicious in the truck once the family’s location was found.
They were last seen dropping off 9-year-old daughter Michelle off at a friend’s house in Sterling at around 10:30pm on January 12.
Pomeroy was also spotted by a manager at a Shell gas station in Rose City at 6.25am the following day.
A snowmobiler spotted a vehicle fitting their description in Rose Township on Saturday, and Sheriff’s Department recovered their bodies at around 4:20 p.m. on Stoney Ridge Road in Rose City.
The family were stranded after their silver 2006 Chevy Silverado pick-up truck, pictured above, got stuck on a rock
‘No foul play was involved,’ Ogemaw County Undersheriff Paul Frechette concluded after a Wednesday autopsy of the bodies.
‘The deaths are the result of tragic circumstances of the family being stranded out in the winter elements.’
An obituary for the couple said they had met in high school and were big fans of camping.
Shirley Dougherty told ABC 12 ‘I knew he didn’t leave’ after her son’s body was finally discovered.
‘He called me if not every day, maybe every two or three days. It wasn’t what we were looking for, but it’s what we have to deal with right now.’
Douglas’ sister Lisa Norton described their deaths as ‘numbing’.
‘I have cried for the last three days. My children have cried with me. He was just Uncle Dougie, and I can’t say, ‘Oh! Uncle Dougie is here!’ anymore, so it’s tragic. It really was,’ she said.
‘Very jolly. We have lots of pictures of him smiling, happy. Every time that they came around with him, he just never cried. I don’t know why,’ Norton added of her nephew Jacob.
Jacob Dougherty, pictured, was described as a ‘jolly’ and ‘smiling’ baby
Friends of the family are now raising money for the couple’s surviving daughter, Michelle, and for funeral expenses.
Michelle is now staying with Douglas’s sister.
‘We would like to thank everyone who has helped search, pass out flyers, who rode the trails daily sometimes a couple times a day in the search for this family. But as you may have heard, Doug, Amanda, and baby Jacob were found as angels,’ the GoFundMe page reads.
‘We hope to raise enough to cover the funeral costs, so this family doesn’t have to worry about that along with their grieving. Any remaining funds will go to Kim to build a room for Michelle, Doug and Amanda’s daughter, and for anything she may need.’
As of Thursday morning, it had raised close to $12,000.
Police say the couple’s truck was found off of a road in rural Michigan. It had become stuck on a boulder and it looked as though the father was trying to remove it