- The victims were discovered in a home in south Moorhead on Saturday night by family members who had gone to check on them after not hearing from them.
- The bodies of 5 of the victims were discovered in their beds. Belin Hernandez and Marleny Pinto were on the floor in the bedroom area.
Authorities said Wednesday that seven members of a Honduran family whose bodies were discovered inside a Minnesota home last weekend died of “apparently accidental carbon monoxide poisoning.”
The victims were discovered Saturday night in a home in south Moorhead by family members who checked on them after not hearing from them. The time of the deaths is still unknown, but the three children who lived there were not at school on Friday, according to police.
Blood samples were examined by officials from the Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office in St. Paul to determine the cause of death. According to authorities, the tests revealed a lethal level of carbon monoxide.
The carbon monoxide came from the home’s furnace or a van in the garage, according to Police Chief Shannon Monroe. Technicians could not locate a flaw in the furnace that would have allowed carbon monoxide to enter the house.
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Moore said that additional tests were being conducted to see if the victims had hydrogen cyanide in their blood, which would point to the van, and that the results could take up to eight weeks.
According to investigators, a carbon monoxide detector had been removed from the garage and replaced with a smoke-only detector. According to Monroe, the van had a half-full tank of gas and a dead battery. According to the chief, vehicles with empty gas tanks are usually found in cases of intentional carbon monoxide exposure.
Monroe stated, “There is no indication of any kind of criminal activity.” “Unless we find something else later in the investigation, it’s pointing to some sort of unintentional situation right now.”
Belin Hernandez, 37, Marleny Pinto, 34, Eldor Hernandez Castillo, 32, Mariela Guzman Pinto, 19, Breylin Hernandez, 16, Mike Hernandez, 7, and Marbely Hernandez, 5, were previously identified as family members. According to police, they all lived together.
Breylin, Mike, and Marbely were the children of Belin Hernandez and Marleny Pinto; Eldor Hernandez Castillo was Belin’s brother; and Mariela Gusman Pinto was Marleny’s niece, according to family members.
The two-story twin home, which authorities estimated to be between 5 and 7 years old, lacked a basement, and all of the bedrooms were located on the second floor. Inside the garage, the furnace was located in a separate room.
Monroe stated that the victims were dressed in light clothing, implying that the heat had been effective. The temperature in the house was 54 degrees (12 degrees Celsius) when first responders arrived, and only the furnace fan was turned on.
The bodies of 5 of the victims were discovered in their beds. Belin Hernandez and Marleny Pinto were on the floor in the bedroom area.
Monroe speculated, “It appears to us that the parents were still awake when this happened.”
According to police, residents in the adjacent unit showed no signs of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Family members gathered at the house Monday to share stories about their loved ones, describing them as happy people who were relieved to be out of Honduras’ turmoil. According to a family translator, they had been in the United States for three to eight years.
The surviving family members, Monroe said, “love this community.” “They’ve been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support they’ve received thus far.” Just know that these are wonderful people in our community and that this is a huge and tragic loss during the holidays.”
Moorhead, Minnesota, is located near Fargo, North Dakota, in a metropolitan area with about 230,000 people.
Source: CP24 News
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