Boone Police Investigating Death At Local Hotel

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*Updated Wednesday June 12 6:08pm*

Boone Police are asking that if you stayed in room #225 anytime between April 16th and now call 828-268-6900.

In a Wednesday afternoon press conference officials also said the pool water heater had multiple system deficiencies.

Boone Police press release – “Town of Boone investigators along with investigators from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the N.C. State Board of Examiners of Plumbing, Heating and Fire Sprinkler Contractors have spent the day conducting inspections and tests at the Best Western Plus Blue Ridge Plaza located at 840 East King Street.

Preliminary results indicate that the source of the elevated carbon monoxide level in room 225 appears to have originated from the pool water heater located in the pool mechanical room located underneath room 225. The exhaust system for the pool water heater had multiple deficiencies. Several avenues of entry for carbon monoxide into room 225 have been observed including the wall mount HVAC unit and through an opening underneath the gas fireplace unit.

The N.C. State Board of Examiners of Plumbing, Heating and Fire Sprinkler Contractors will be continuing their investigation and assessment of the incident.

While many theories have been confirmed, the investigation must continue to ascertain definitive answers concerning this tragedy. Investigators ask that anyone that stayed in room 225, contact the Boone Police Department at 828-268-6900 or email Sgt. Matt Stevens at [email protected]

*Updated Wednesday June 12 11:43am*

Information released by Boone Police –
” Town of Boone investigators continue to work at the Best Western Plus Blue Ridge Plaza located at 840 East King Street. They have been joined today by investigators from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the N.C. State Board of Examiners of Plumbing, Heating and Fire Sprinkler Contractors. As more information is available, it will be released.”

*Updated Tuesday 3:13pm*

officials with the Watauga County Health Department held an afternoon press conference, following a press conference by Boone Police and Boone Fire on Monday (details of that press conference are below including video).

WCNC TV reports that an administrator with the health deparment said that checking carbon monoxide levels in hotels is not their job. The report continues to say that Department administrators say their responsibility was to inspect the ventilation system of the pool chemicals house in a room that shared the same space as the natural gas heater.

*Updated Tuesday 7:45am*

Below are the 911 calls from the Best Western for both situations on April 16 and June 8 2013.

Video from WCNC.com

*Updated Monday 7pm*

Below is transcript of the Monday press conference as provided by Boone Police

“Foremost in this process our thoughts and prayers go out to the Jenkins and Williams families and others affected by these tragedies. We are committed to serving and aiding the victims in every way possible.

On Saturday, June 8, 2013, just before 12:30 PM, Boone Police and Fire responded with Watauga Medics to the Best Western Plus Blue Ridge Plaza located at 840 East King Street in reference to a medical emergency. Two victims were located in room 225. One victim, Jeffrey Lee Williams, 11 years-of-age, was deceased at the scene. His mother, Jeannie Williams, 49 years-of-age, was transported to Watauga Medical Center. During the emergency medical response, a presumptive test indicated an elevated level of carbon monoxide in the room. The hotel was evacuated and assistance was requested from North Carolina Emergency Management and the North Carolina Public Health Preparedness and Response Branch. The Regional Response Team 6 out of Asheville responded with personnel and equipment to assist in the investigation and environmental testing. On Sunday, the investigation continued with environmental testing and other duties.

As of this afternoon, Dr. Brent Hall, Regional Pathologist, was able to report that Jeffrey Lee Williams was autopsied on June 9, 2013 and preliminary indications are that he died from asphyxia. Samples have been sent to the Office of the State Medical Examiner for toxicological analysis. Those results are pending.

It has been widely reported that in an earlier incident on April 16, 2013, Daryl Dean Jenkins, 73 years –of-age, and his wife, Shirley M. Jenkins, 72 years-of-age, were found deceased in the same room. The regional pathologist reports that on April 17 and 18, 2013, Mr. and Mrs. Jenkins were autopsied. Results at that time were inconclusive. Samples were sent to the Office of the State Medical Examiner for toxicological analysis. Results of those analysis were received within the last 24 hours. After receiving those results, the cause of death in both cases was determined to be carbon monoxide toxicity.

As of today, The business remains closed and under the control of investigators. The North Carolina State Board of Examiners of Plumbing, Heating and Fire Sprinkler Contractors will have investigators in Boone on Wednesday, June 12, to aid in the investigation. ”

Video of press conference from WSOC TV

*Updated Monday 6:16pm*

Information from the Boone Police press conference on Monday evening as posted on the Watauga Democrat’s facebook page

– Chief Dana Crawford said presumptive test indicates elevated level of carbon monoxide in hotel where 11-year-old boy died Saturday afternoon.

– Preliminary autopsy reveals Jeffrey Williams died of asphyxiation

– Health department officials absent at press conference

– BPD: No reports of anyone else who stayed in the same room where 11-year-old boy found died suffering from symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning

– Fire dept: carbon monoxide alarms not required in commercial properties, like hotels.

Stuart Watson of WCNC TV 36 tweets from the press conference

Video of press conference from WSOC TV

*Updated Monday 1:37pm*

Boone Police and Boone Fire continue investigations into the circumstances surrounding the death of an 11 year old Rock Hill boy in a Boone hotel. In a statement released on Monday afternoon Chief of Police Dana Crawford and Fire Chief Jimmy Isaacs said “We would like to commend all of the agencies that have responded to assist the Town of Boone during this investigation. We are committed to finding the cause of this tragic event”.

The statement also went on to say that the Best Western Plus Blue Ridge Plaza remains closed and investigators from the North Carolina State Board of Examiners of Plumbing, Heating and Fire Sprinkler Contractors will be in Boone on Wednesday to aid in the investigation.

Meanwhile WCNC TV is reporting that carbon monoxide was found in the hotel. The station cites an official with the Watauga County Health Department. The hotel room in question was above a natural gas heater for the indoor pool, the report also says.

Boone Police and Boone Fire joint statement from Monday afternoon –

“Town of Boone Police and Fire investigators continue their work in determining the cause of the fatality and injury at the Best Western Plus Blue Ridge Plaza on June 8, 2013.

The business remains closed and under the control of investigators. The North Carolina State Board of Examiners of Plumbing, Heating and Fire Sprinkler Contractors will have investigators in Boone on Wednesday, June 12, to aid in the investigation.

Boone Police Investigators have renewed their request for the toxicology and autopsy results from the North Carolina Office of the Chief Medical Examiner concerning the April 16, 2013, deaths that occurred in the same room. As of this morning, those reports remain unavailable.

“We would like to commend all of the agencies that have responded to assist the Town of Boone during this investigation. We are committed to finding the cause of this tragic event.” – Joint Statement from Chief of Police Dana Crawford and Fire Chief Jimmy Isaacs

Our thoughts and prayers remain with the family during this very difficult time.”

———————————————————————————————————
*Updated Sunday 4:50pm*

Boone Police have officially released the names of the persons involved. The deceased has been identified as Jeffery Lee Williams, 11, of Rock Hill South Carolina. His mother Jeannie Williams, 49, of Rock Hill is also listed as the injured party.

In a statement released Sunday evening Boone Police said “The investigation and testing is ongoing. At this time we do not anticipate any additional release of information until at least Tuesday, June 11, 2013. We have been able to determine that there is no danger to the general public. We appreciate the understanding that has been shown by the community at large during this tragic event.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this very difficult time.”

*Updated 11:12pm with press information from Boone Police*

Boone Police Press Release – “Town of Boone Police and Fire Investigators continue to work at the Best Western Plus Blue Ridge Plaza located at 840 East King Street to determine the sequence of events and cause of the earlier medical emergencies which resulted in one injury and one fatality.

Investigators discovered that this is the same location and room where two elderly people where found deceased on April 16, 2013. While no evidence has been discovered that these incidents are related, investigators continue to explore all possibilities.

Due to the complicated nature of the incident, additional information will most likely not be available until later tomorrow afternoon. New information will be released when it becomes available.

Our thoughts are with the family during this very difficult time.”
———————————————————————————————————
*updated 10:05pm Saturday*

Just before 12:30pm Boone Police, Boone Fire and Watauga Medics were called to the Best Western Plus Blue Ridge Plaza in Boone for a medical emergency. Officials found one person dead and a second person taken to Watauga Medical Center for treatment according to a statement from Boone Police.

Late Saturday night CN2 News, in Rock Hill South Carolina, posted on their facebook page that the family is from that area. “DEVELOPING NEWS: Rock Hill boy 11 found dead in Boone Hotel. According to Boone Police Department, first responders found the boy dead and his Mother clinging to life shortly after noon Saturday. Members of the family and Northside Baptist Church of Rock Hill are on their way to Boone. Our condolences and prayers to the family. We will post details as we find them.”

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WCNC TV 36 is also reporting that a Pastor at Northside Baptist Church in Rock Hill confirms that an 11 year old from his church passed away today.

The investigation by Boone Police continues.

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