Cops: Merrillville family dies from carbon monoxide poisoning

2013-10-16T23:45:00Z 2013-10-17T21:44:04Z Cops: Merrillville family dies from carbon monoxide poisoningElvia Malagon, (219) 933-3249
October 16, 2013 11:45 pm  • 

MERRILLVILLE | A family of four was found dead Wednesday from carbon monoxide poisoning at a rental house at 825 W. 70th Avenue, police said.

The bodies of Micheal Nichols, 41, Kennetha Purnell, 38, Matthew Nichols, 13, and Morgan Nichols, 11, were discovered inside the house, according to a news release issued late Wednesday night from the Lake County coroner's office.

The manner of death and cause of death were pending late Wednesday, according to the Lake County coroner's office.

The coroner's office stated it was called to the residence at 6:30 p.m. and the family was pronounced dead shortly after 7 p.m.

Merrillville Police Chief Joseph Petruch said a family member discovered the family was dead Wednesday after going to check on them. He said it appears the source of the carbon monoxide was a generator that officials found in the home's garage.

Petruch called the deaths "an unfortunate accident."

The family moved into the well-kept two-story rental home in Merrillville, just south of Gary, over the weekend, but police said the electricity had not been turned on. Police 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.

Petruch said investigators believe the family could have died Saturday.

Neighbor Janet Yaros said she and others were stunned by the deaths and wished they could have done something to help.

"We, as the neighbors, had not seen any movement for several days, and the van stayed in the same place all the time," she said. "And we knew something wasn't right, we just didn't know who to contact."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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