Three members of a Colorado family died while attempting to live “off the grid” in the Rocky Mountains, family members and investigators say.
The emaciated remains of sisters Christine and Rebecca Vance and the latter’s 14-year old son, were found in a remote campsite this month.
On Tuesday a coroner ruled that they probably died from starvation or exposure during the cold winter.
It appears that the group began camping last summer and died over the winter.
Rebecca Vance’s stepsister Trevala Jara, told the Washington Post on Wednesday: “She didn’t like the way the world was going, and she thought it would be better if her and her son and Christine were alone, away from everybody.”
The group – including the sisters who were in their 40s – had no outdoor survival experience and had watched online videos to learn about how to survive in Colorado’s rugged backcountry, Mrs Jara told US media.
“You can’t go on the internet and watch videos on how to live off the grid, and then actually do it, if you have no experience,” Mrs Jara told the Colorado Springs Gazette.
“You just can’t do that. They died of starvation because they weren’t prepared.”
All three came from Colorado Springs. Investigators say their cause of death has not yet been determined and will not be released until toxicology reports are complete.
On 9 July, a hiker stumbled upon their badly decomposed remains at the Gold Creek Campground in the Gunnison National Forest.
Gunnison County Coroner Michael Barnes said that two bodies were found in a tent, while another was found outside, at an elevation of around 9,500ft (2,900m).
The name of the teenage boy has not been released.
It appears they attempted to construct a shelter, but had given up as winter arrived and instead spent time inside their tent, he told AP News.
“I wonder if winter came on quickly and suddenly they were just in survival mode in the tent,” Mr Barnes said.
“They had a lot of literature with them about outdoor survival and foraging and stuff like that. But it looked like they [bought supplies] at a grocery store.”
In early August, the group came to their stepsister’s home “to say goodbye”.
“We tried to stop them,” Mrs Jara told the Gazette. “But they wouldn’t listen. Their minds were made up.”