N.C. authorities say that carbon monoxide poisoning inside a motel is likely to blame for the recent deaths of an 11-year-old boy, and a couple found inside the same room.
Emergency responders found carbon monoxide in the room where Jeffrey Lee Williams of Rock Hill, S.C., died Saturday, Boone police said in a news release Monday. Investigators said a preliminary autopsy found the boy died of asphyxia, which happens when toxic gases cut off oxygen to the body. State medical examiners will conduct toxicology tests on samples taken from the boy’s body.
Jeffrey’s 49-year-old mother, Jeannie Williams, was rushed to a hospital and survived.
A Longview, Wash., couple was found dead in the same motel room April 16. New toxicology results show 73-year-old Daryl Dean Jenkins, and 72-year-old Shirley Mae Jenkins died of carbon monoxide poisoning, police said. A regional pathologist’s autopsies on the couple were inconclusive, police said.
Appalachian Hospitality Management, which runs the Best Western Plus Blue Ridge Plaza, did not return phone messages from The Associated Press on Monday.
The motel room the two families shared is near an indoor pool heated by a natural-gas heater, Boone Police Sgt. Shane Robbins said.
The motel has been closed by police until at least Wednesday, when inspectors from the State Board of Examiners of Plumbing, Heating and Fire Sprinkler Contractors are due to arrive, Robbins said.
The Jenkins family were visiting Boone at the beginning of what was to be a three-week vacation, with the entire family planning to meet in Las Vegas near the end, their son, Doug Jenkins, told The Charlotte Observer. His aunt and uncle were traveling with the couple and found them in a position that would suggest they hadn’t died from a sudden medical condition, Doug Jenkins said. He declined to elaborate.
“Do you know how mad I am right now?” Doug Jenkins said. “Why are they still renting out this room?”