Rusty water heater to blame for Iowa family’s death in Mexico, police say

Posted on: April 5th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Courtesy Sharp Family(TULUM, Mexico) — A rusty water heater emitted the gas that killed an Iowa family in Mexico last month, Mexican police told an Iowa newspaper on Wednesday.

The humid Caribbean climate in Tulum, Mexico, where the vacationing Sharp family, of Creston, Iowa, died last month, rusted the heater, Christopher Martínez, the main investigator on the case for the Fiscalia General Office in Mexico’s Tulum municipality, told The Des Moines Register.

“There was a leak, and it was coming right from the laundry room,” Martínez said through an interpreter, according to the paper. “The laundry room had no ventilation whatsoever.”

The state attorney in Mexico’s Quintana Roo state said late last month that Kevin Wayne Sharp, 41, his wife, Amy Marie Sharp, 38, and the Sharps’ children, Sterling Wayne Sharp, 12, and Adrianna Marie Sharp, 7, died as a result of “asphyxiation by inhalation of toxic gases.”

Martínez told The Des Moines Register that the initial autopsies showed that they were killed by asphyxiation from propane inhalation.

Police took apart the water heater, a Delta Raptor purchased in 2012 whose warranty expired last year, and determined that rust had corrupted it, Martínez told the newspaper.

Martínez’s office told ABC News Thursday morning that he was not available for comment. The state attorney’s office told ABC News Wednesday that it could not confirm Martínez’s comments to The Des Moines Register and that it was still waiting for investigative results.

The family’s bodies were found on March 23, in an apartment they had rented in Tulum’s Tao condominium complex.

The complex’s developer has said the owner was responsible for maintaining the apartment. Neither the developer nor authorities have said who owns the unit.

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