The ultimate sacrifice.
“He was well hydrated, compared to the other two.”
Those are the words from Otero County Sheriff Benny House who, during a routine patrol on Tuesday, found a nine-year-old boy lying near the bodies of his dead parents.
The French family were found in a desert in the US state of New Mexico.
Investigators now believe that they ran out of water and that the parents – David Steiner, 42, and his wife, Ornella Steiner, 51 – sacrificed to save the life of their son by giving him the bulk of their water supply.
Their nine-year old son, Enzo, was found dehydrated but otherwise in a good condition by the body of his father.
The National Park Service recommends that visitors to the trail not start a hike when the temperature is at or above 29°C. Tuesday’s temperature reached over 38°C.
Whilst the couple were experienced travellers and their trip to the United States had been planned for over a year, authorities believe the couple were ill equipped for the desert conditions.
“I just think they weren’t prepared for that type of heat. I just think they underestimated the desert,” Sheriff Benny House told CNN.