A family of seven, including three children, who were found dead earlier this week inside a northwest Minnesota home died of what appears to be accidental carbon monoxide poisoning, police said Wednesday.
The Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office concluded in its preliminary results that the bodies of all seven seemed to be red in color, which is consistent with carbon monoxide toxicity, Chief Shannon Monroe of the Moorhead Police Department said in a news conference. Lab results of blood samples also confirmed the cause of death, he added.
According to police, those who died on Saturday are Belin Hernandez, 37, and his 34-year-old wife Marleny Pinto. Their children Breylin Hernandez, 16; Mike Hernandez, 7; Marbely Hernandez, 5; also died in the incident, Monroe said.
The poisoning also claimed the lives of Eldor Hernandez Castillo, the 32-year-old brother of Belin Hernandez, and the parents’ niece, 19-year-old Mariela Guzman Pinto, police said.
Monroe said there was no indication of “any kind of criminal activity” at this time.
“Unless we find something else yet later in the investigation, right now it is pointing toward some kind of accidental situation,” Monroe said.
Family members were conducting a welfare check at the South Moorhead home when they discovered the bodies and called 911, CNN affiliate KARE reported. There were no signs of forced entry or violence at the home, according to CNN affiliate KVRR.
The investigation into the deaths revealed that there were two known sources of carbon monoxide — a furnace and a vehicle that was parked in the garage’s home, police explained. Detectives located a detached carbon monoxide detector, and a smoke-only detector was in its place instead, Monroe said.
Investigators are also conducting additional testing to determine whether carbon monoxide originated from the exhaust of the vehicle, which family members said had some mechanical issues related to the battery, authorities said. Police found the vehicle with a dead battery and a half gas tank, according to Monroe.
Moorhead is in Clay County, just across the Red River from Fargo, North Dakota.
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