Mexico official: Iowa family died from water heater gas leak

Courtesy Ashli Peterson, Facebook. A family of four from Creston has been missing since vacationing in Mexico.

A prosecutor in Mexico said Monday that a gas leak in a water heater is suspected in the death of an Iowa couple and their two children last week.

Posted: Mar 26, 2018 1:20 PM

MEXICO CITY (AP) — A prosecutor in Mexico said Monday that a gas leak in a water heater is suspected in the death of an Iowa couple and their two children last week.

The head prosecutor of the Caribbean coast state of Quintana Roo told local media Monday that an inspection over the weekend revealed that the water heater at the rented condominium in the resort town of Tulum was leaking gas.

"Unfortunately, they found the area where the water heater was letting gas escape, perhaps because of a lack of maintenance, perhaps because it was in use, perhaps because of the age of the equipment," prosecutor Miguel Angel Pech told the Radio Formula station.

"In fact, a high concentration of this toxic (gas) was found in the room," Pech said.

He described a grisly scene: The family was found on Friday and had been dead for 36 to 48 hours by that time, according to autopsy results.

"Some were lying in their bedrooms, and the children were playing, one in one part of the room and the other in another part of the same room," Pech said.

The autopsies indicate the family died from inhaling toxic gas, but the source or nature of the gas hadn't been determined.

Pech said forensic samples had been sent to labs in Mexico City on Monday, and officials hope to identify the gas within eight to 10 days.

Iowa officials identified the family as Kevin Sharp, 41; his wife, Amy Sharp, 38, and their children Sterling, 12, and Adrianna, 7. They were from Creston, Iowa.

The family was reported missing by relatives about a week after they left for vacation. Creston police contacted the U.S. Department of State, and the bodies were found during a welfare check at their condo in Tulum, on the Yucatan Peninsula.

The Creston News Advertiser newspaper reported that the family flew to Cancun on March 14. According to her sister, Amy Sharp texted their mother the next day to say they had reached Tulum, but relatives didn't hear anything else.

The sister, Renee Hoyt, said the Sharps were scheduled to depart from the Cancun airport last Wednesday and fly to St. Louis on a non-stop flight. The family had planned to then drive about 200 miles (322 kilometers) to Danville, Illinois to watch a basketball game Thursday, Hoyt said.

When the family didn't arrive in St. Louis, family members contacted authorities, she said.

Contacted Friday, the developer of the condo complex where the deaths occurred declined to comment.

It wouldn't be the first time that faulty gas connections killed tourists in the area.

In 2010, the explosion of an improperly installed gas line at a hotel in the nearby town of Playa del Carmen killed five Canadian tourists and two Mexicans.

In that case, prosecutors said the heating-gas line, apparently meant to fuel a pool heating unit, was not properly installed or maintained. They claimed a leak from the line may have been set off by a spark from an electric switch or plug.

A judge later dismissed criminal charges against five contractors and employees at the hotel.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 445047

Reported Deaths: 5955
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin924911470
Ramsey39703735
Dakota32788331
Anoka30811360
Washington20004225
Stearns17775185
St. Louis13546240
Scott1189996
Wright11548102
Olmsted1035775
Sherburne815765
Carver691436
Clay648478
Rice600166
Kandiyohi552871
Blue Earth538033
Crow Wing479673
Otter Tail453464
Chisago449732
Benton416785
Winona386246
Douglas372466
Nobles366746
Mower362328
Goodhue343657
Polk327756
McLeod323144
Morrison310043
Beltrami308746
Lyon299835
Itasca282643
Becker281738
Isanti281141
Carlton278143
Steele27119
Pine265113
Freeborn241320
Todd230929
Nicollet223336
Brown213734
Mille Lacs212845
Le Sueur208515
Cass206123
Meeker198533
Waseca188816
Martin169126
Wabasha16883
Roseau165316
Hubbard148338
Redwood139227
Renville136539
Houston135313
Dodge13304
Chippewa130832
Cottonwood126518
Fillmore12215
Wadena119416
Rock109512
Sibley10797
Aitkin107133
Watonwan10618
Faribault104615
Pennington97715
Kanabec97218
Pipestone93823
Yellow Medicine93314
Murray8655
Jackson85010
Swift83018
Pope7355
Marshall70115
Stevens6978
Clearwater68514
Lac qui Parle65616
Lake62915
Wilkin6229
Koochiching59010
Lincoln4821
Big Stone4543
Unassigned43468
Grant4257
Norman4228
Mahnomen4087
Kittson37019
Red Lake3164
Traverse2473
Lake of the Woods1801
Cook1130

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 303065

Reported Deaths: 4267
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk45335447
Linn17673274
Scott15356163
Black Hawk13648236
Woodbury12945175
Johnson1202149
Dubuque11300149
Pottawattamie8934112
Dallas881171
Story863434
Webster467471
Cerro Gordo462968
Sioux453356
Clinton448361
Warren437538
Marshall425561
Buena Vista391529
Muscatine386177
Des Moines380641
Plymouth348868
Wapello340898
Jasper319658
Lee313530
Marion301752
Jones269649
Henry263230
Carroll253034
Bremer242048
Crawford228122
Boone216217
Washington214231
Benton208544
Jackson190831
Mahaska190736
Tama185657
Dickinson184226
Delaware172236
Kossuth170543
Clay166019
Wright162724
Fayette159522
Buchanan158023
Hamilton157829
Winneshiek154819
Harrison154462
Hardin153929
Cedar151419
Clayton150748
Butler146424
Page143715
Cherokee138127
Floyd137936
Mills136016
Lyon133632
Poweshiek132324
Hancock128824
Allamakee126827
Iowa122822
Calhoun12209
Grundy120026
Jefferson119524
Madison11869
Winnebago118229
Mitchell115634
Louisa114130
Cass112541
Chickasaw110512
Emmet110231
Sac110215
Appanoose109638
Union108122
Humboldt104219
Guthrie102224
Shelby101326
Franklin101218
Unassigned9210
Palo Alto9019
Keokuk84325
Montgomery84022
Howard82519
Monroe80518
Clarke7817
Pocahontas77211
Ida73830
Greene6887
Davis68721
Adair68620
Lucas6468
Osceola6349
Monona63316
Worth5983
Taylor5919
Fremont5036
Van Buren49412
Decatur4784
Ringgold4269
Wayne41421
Audubon4108
Adams2953
Rochester/St. Mary'S
Cloudy
24° wxIcon
Hi: 26° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 15°
Mason City
Cloudy
25° wxIcon
Hi: 28° Lo: 17°
Feels Like: 16°
Albert Lea
Cloudy
21° wxIcon
Hi: 26° Lo: 16°
Feels Like: 15°
Austin
Partly Cloudy
21° wxIcon
Hi: 25° Lo: 17°
Feels Like: 14°
Charles City
Partly Cloudy
23° wxIcon
Hi: 26° Lo: 18°
Feels Like: 13°
A big temperature swing is on the way
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

John Marshall ready for 2021

Image

Is the City of Rochester paying men and women equally?

Image

LWVMN asks for "truth and consequences" for state lawmakers

Image

Sports Overtime Part 2

Image

Sports Overtime Part 1

Image

Plans for polar plunge

Image

Equal work and equal pay.

Image

Aaron's Friday Night Forecast

Image

Mega Millions jackpot soars to $750 million

Image

Increase in 2021 travel plans

Community Events