Four dead in tent in suspected carbon monoxide poisoning

A relative found the bodies in the tent which had a propane heater hooked up to it

Oliver O'Connell
New York
Wednesday 19 February 2020 18:04 GMT
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Delaware State Police are investigating and have ruled out foul play
Delaware State Police are investigating and have ruled out foul play (AFP via Getty Images)

Four people were found dead inside a tent in a wooded area in Delaware on Tuesday.

Delaware State Police responded to a call at 3pm on Tuesday afternoon. The investigation is in its early stages, but foul play has been ruled out and carbon monoxide poisoning is suspected.

The bodies were discovered near the 500 block of Main Street in Stanton, Delaware. Many homeless people set up camp in the woods where the tent was located, behind a nearby Walgreens.

While there has been no official identification of the victims, Bruce Messick, speaking to The News Journal, said that two of them were his relatives who had been homeless for years — his brother and his nephew. The third is believed to be the nephew’s girlfriend, and the fourth, a friend.

Mr Messick would visit them at their tent and bring them food and money. On Tuesday he found them dead in the tent, which had been equipped with a propane heater with a nearly full tank that had recently been dropped off.

The Delaware Division of Forensic Science will conduct an autopsy to determine the official cause of death of the four.

“I opened the tent up and nobody was responding in there,” said Mr Messick. “I thought maybe they were drunk, what have you. That’s when I reached in to grab them and they were cold, then I called 911.”

“It’s devastating because I couldn’t take them in my house a lot of times so I’d come down here and try to help them out,” Mr Messick said.

He added that it was already a difficult time for his family as his sister had recently lost her son to a fentanyl overdose.

“Now it’s two more — it’s just devastating,” Messick said.

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