Father, two sons die in Mo. hiking incident

The Decareaux family

A 36-year-old rural Millstadt area man with Waterloo ties and his two young sons died after getting lost on the Ozark Trail in Reynolds County, Mo., late Saturday afternoon as heavy rain and cooler temperatures swept across the region. 

The three — identified as David Decareaux and his sons Dominic, 10, and Grant, 8 — went hiking around 11 a.m. Saturday, Reynolds County Sheriff Tom Volner told news agencies. While the temperatures were near 60 degrees when they set out hiking, cooler weather and rains moved in that afternoon. They were last seen around 2 p.m. Saturday. When Decareaux and his boys were not heard from that evening, a search ensued until just after midnight, as areas of the trail were impassable due to flash flooding.

This search resumed early Sunday morning, emergency officials explained, and David Decareaux was pronounced dead at the scene. His sons were rushed to an area hospital, but were later pronounced deceased. The family’s yellow Labrador retriever also ventured out with David and his sons and survived the ordeal.

David’s wife, Sarah (Hartrum) Decareaux, a 1995 Waterloo High School grad, and their other three children — ages 11, 4 and 2 — were staying nearby at Brushy Creek Lodge in Black, Mo. 

Volner told the Associated Press that Decareaux was an experienced hiker and knew the popular trail, but apparently took a wrong turn and was not equipped for temperatures that sank into the 20s. Authorities believe the three died of hypothermia.

Visitation is set for Thursday evening from 4 to 8 p.m. at Quernheim Funeral Home in Waterloo. Funeral services are set for 9:30 a.m. Friday at the funeral home.

David’s father-in-law, Keith Hartrum of Waterloo, told the Associated Press that Decareaux had recently retired from the Air Force and was working with the Defense Department.

David and his sons were involved with Waterloo Cub Scout Pack 323 in Waterloo.

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