A father and seven kids from the same family were found dead on Monday in a house in the town of Princess Anne, Maryland. The preliminary investigations point to carbon monoxide asphyxia.
No official cause of death has yet been released. The father, who was identified as being Rodney Todd, and his seven children all died in their home. According to the neighbors, the tragedy was probably caused by carbon monoxide from a generator that provided electricity in the family home.
According to Police Chief Scott Keller “power was off in the house”, while the electric generator was out of fuel. All the victims were found in sleeping positions. Police announced the children were ages 6 to 16. They were five girls and two boys, explained Stephanie Wells, Todd’s supervisor at his job. The father was divorced.
Boys Cameron, 13, and Zycheim, 7; and girls Tynijuiza, 15; Tykira, 12; Tybree, 10; Tyania, 9; and Tybria, 6, all perished in the tragedy. The father was struggling financially.
Todd worked at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, close to Princess Anne, a town of about 3,300.
The authorities could not immediately establish how long the family had been dead. Wells said she had contacted Todd since March 28, adding that she believed another supervisor had been talking to him on March 29. She said he tried to reach him by phone, after he didn’t show up for work, and after that he sent other employees to look for him at his house.
Wells went to the house on Monday, but got no response after she knocked on the door. She then went to the police, who discovered the bodies.
Carbon monoxide is a deadly, odorless and colorless gas. Running an electric generator produces this gas. Such devices should not be used indoors. According to the neighbors, the family didn’t have electricity so they relied on the generator, which was in the kitchen.
Todd was a “good worker and a good father,” Wells said, an assessment that all neighbors agree with.
Neighbors said of the children that they were very respectful and well behaved. The family was regularly going to church on Sunday mornings.
Princess Anne is located Somerset County, which lays near both Maryland’s Eastern Shore and Virginia’s Eastern Shore.
The tragic deaths released a wave of sadness through the community. “Everybody was so touched and hurt,” a neighbor said.
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