Funeral services set for Merrillville family

2013-10-22T00:00:00Z 2013-10-25T15:25:06Z Funeral services set for Merrillville familyDeborah Laverty deborah.laverty@nwi.com, (219) 762-1397, ext. 2223 (219) 762-1397, ext. 2223 nwitimes.com

MERRILLVILLE | Kennetha Purnell, 38, and her husband, Micheal Nichols, 41, were high school sweethearts who had just moved into their house with their two children, a family member said.

"They were in love all their lives ... Our hurt was that they had just moved in to their new home and never got to live there," cousin Angela Davis said.

Funeral services have been set for the couple and their two children, Matthew Nichols, 13, and Morgan Nichols, 11.

All four died, apparently from carbon monoxide poisoning, at the home they were renting at 825 W. 70th Ave., police said.

The family had just moved into their home Oct. 12, a Saturday, and likely died sometime that night, police said.

A wake will be held at 10 a.m. Monday followed by the funeral service at 11 a.m. at the Holy Cathedral Church of God and Christ, 15912 Lincoln Ave., Harvey.

Funeral arrangements for the family are through Leaks and Sons in Chicago.

The bodies of the four family members were discovered inside their home on Oct. 16 after the mother and sister of Kennetha Purnell came to the house after not hearing from them for several days.

Police conducted a wellness check and found the family dead inside.

Police Cmdr. Jeff Rice said it appears the source of the carbon monoxide was a generator that officials found in the home's garage.

Rice, a detective, said the rental house did not yet have power, and the family had bought a generator Oct. 12 after just moving into it.

He said the generator was inside an attached garage and had power cords going to several electronic devices, with all the home's exterior doors and windows closed.

Matthew was an eighth-grader at Pierce Middle School and his sister, Morgan, was a sixth-grader at Merrillville Intermediate School, Merrillville School Superintendent Mark Sperling said.

Purnell had been employed as assistant to the Dean of the College of Education at Chicago State University and her husband was a self-employed carpenter, Davis said.

Davis said her cousin and husband had attended high school in Chicago, but moved to Northwest Indiana a few years ago and had been living with a sister while the children attended the Merrillville school system.

"My cousin was very, very sweet. She was very family oriented and loved her children and her husband. They were always very close knit," Davis said.

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