Sheriff, he'll never forget finding family dead

Posted: 5:03 PM, Feb 22, 2016
Updated: 2016-02-22 17:03:03-05

The Genesee County sheriff says the scene where a family of six was discovered dead from carbon monoxide poisoning was something he won't be able to forget

Police were called to the Fenton Township home Sunday morning for a wellness check and found a generator hooked up to a propane tank in the basement. It took nearly two hours for firefighters to ventilate the home before it could be considered safe to go inside.

The family had lost power during Friday night's wind storm, which they noticed after returning from family movie night at their church. A neighbor told police the father had stopped by to say he was going to hook up the generator.

His body was found next to the generator and the rest of the family was scattered about the house.

"The mother was in her robe, the baby in the crib with the mother nearby, you can imagine how horrifying this is to see," said Genesee County Sheriff Robert Pickell at a press conference Monday morning. "The little boy was in the living room, dressed to go out and play and it looked like he just dropped in his spot. Usually when we hear about carbon monoxide deaths, it's people dying in their sleep, but they weren't sleeping, there was activity going on in different rooms."

Two other children were found in different parts of the house. A 7-year-old girl was found in the master bathroom and her 11-year-old brother was found in his bedroom. The other children were two and 9-years-old.

Sheriff Pickell said family members wanted police to use the tragedy as a chance to educate the public about the dangers of carbon monoxide so it doesn't happen to anyone else. The sheriff himself said he was going to stop by the store and buy a carbon monoxide detector on his way home Monday and encouraged anyone who doesn't have one to do the same.