Carbon monoxide detected in hotel room where 11-year-old was found dead

Michael Bragg

UPDATE: Appalachian District Health Department holds press conference Tuesday

Carbon monoxide was declared the cause of three deaths in the same Boone hotel room April 16 and Saturday, June 8, according to a press release from the Boone Police Department.

Police responded to a call Saturday in which an 11-year-old boy, Jeffrey Williams from Rock Hill, S.C., was found dead in room 225 of Best Western Plus Blue Ridge Plaza. Jeannie Williams, the boy’s 49-year-old mother, was found injured and was transferred to Watauga Medical Center.

A test at the scene gave investigators insight to Jeffrey Williams’ death.

“During the emergency medical response, a presumptive test indicated an elevated level of carbon monoxide in the room,” according to the press release.

Results from the June 9 autopsy of Jeffrey Williams lead to preliminary indications that the boy died from asphyxia, according to the press release.

However, information from the April 16 incident where Shirley Jenkins, 72, and Daryl Jenkins, 73, from Longview, Wash., were found dead in room 225 was not immediately available.

“Results at that time were inconclusive,” according to the press release. “Samples were sent to the Office of the State Medical Examiner for toxicological analysis. Results of those analyses were received within the last 24 hours.”

The Boone Police Department is looking into a March 6 report from the Watauga County Health Department about an indoor pool located directly under the room as part of the investigation. The pool did not have proper ventilation, according to the report.

“The chemical/equipment room is required to have natural cross ventilation or forced air ventilation,” according the report. “This needs to be corrected ASAP.”

Carbon monoxide is found in combustion fumes, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Blood absorbs carbon monoxide quicker than oxygen, blocking oxygen from properly entering the body.

The Boone Police Department does not have any other reports of guests experiencing negative symptoms while staying in room 225. The business remains closed and is still under further investigation.