Carbon Monoxide Found to Be Deadly Saginaw House Killer

The investigative case regarding how two people died who were found in a condemned house in Saginaw, MI has finally revealed the cause of death.

After an autopsy of the two bodies, Saginaw Police Detective Sgt. Reggie Williams said the pair, 54 year old Yvoone Mallett and 58 year old Napoleon Buford Jr, succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning. 

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that is slightly less dense than air. It is toxic to humans and animals when encountered in higher concentrations. Carbon Monoxide poisoning is the most common type of fatal air poisoning in many countries.

“Officers discovered a deceased male in the bathroom and a deceased female in the bedroom,” Williams said. “It was determined at the scene that no foul play occurred. Neither victim showed any physical trauma on their bodies,” he explained.

The source of the carbon monoxide remains unknown, though authorities are still investigating the condemned property. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headache, confusion, vomiting, impaired coordination, seizures, coma, and eventually death.

Upon arriving, inspectors noted that a generator was found in the basement, all of its fuel consumed. A propane turkey cooker and a lawnmower were also found in the house — both could have contributed to the poisoning. The house also smelled strongly of gasoline.

Although these are generally odd causes for carbon monoxide poisoning, other causes can include unvented gas space heaters, leaking furnaces, gas water heaters, wood stoves, gas stoves, and car exhausted from an attached garage.

The city of Saginaw apparently issued four warnings and violations to the owner and previous owner of the property, siting a furnace not working, problems with electrical outlets, and missing smoke detectors, said Chief Inspector John Stemple.

On April 1st, the house was condemned and Consumers Energy cut the gas and electrical services on the same day. The city will normally cut off utility access to a property in order to prevent people from living there is the house is deemed condemned. If the city finds residents are still living in the houses they condemn, they will take action to remove them.

For this particular incident, the city did not realize anyone was living in the home in Athens. Funeral arrangements are still being made and detectives are still interviewing witnesses in order to close the case.

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