Statement released on deaths at Boone hotel

BOONE, N.C. — A statement concerning the recent deaths at a hotel in Boone was released Saturday by North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos.

“My heartfelt condolences go out to the families and loved ones of Shirley and Daryl Jenkins, and young Jeffrey Williams. These deaths were a tragedy that should have never happened. The Department of Health and Human Services is continuing to gather the facts. I have instructed my staff to work with local officials to identify measures to ensure tragedies like this never happen again,” said Wos.

A Watauga County medical examiner resigned Friday after investigators found out he knew carbon monoxide killed a couple in a Boone motel a week before an 11-year-old boy died in the same room.

All three victims died from carbon monoxide gas in room 225 at the Best Western at 840 E. King St.

Jeffrey Lee Williams was found dead June 8 and his mother was rushed to the hospital. On April 16, police said two elderly people were found dead in the room.

WSOC reported that when Williams and his mother checked into the hotel, they did not know about the previous victims — nor did the police.

The state completed its toxicology report proving carbon monoxide killed Shirley on June 1.

And, even though Boone police requested that report “weeks before,” officers said they didn’t receive it until June 10, two days too late to prevent Jeffrey Williams’ death.

“I can’t speculate as to why we didn’t get them,” Police Chief Dana Crawford said, according to WSOC. Crawford said those documents could have saved Williams’ life.

“I would like to think we would have been able to conclude and find the source of that carbon monoxide, and with that information, been able to rectify that whole situation before this happened,” Crawford said, according to WSOC.

Crawford said if his department knew there was a carbon monoxide death in the room, they would have worked with fire officials to find the leak.

He said it took investigators just hours to trace it back to a pool water heater after Williams’ death.

The state told WSOC it gave the toxicology report to the Watauga County medical examiner a week before Williams’ death. But police said the report was never passed to them.

The funeral for Jeffrey Williams will be held Sunday at the First Baptist Church on Dave Lyle Boulevard at 2 p.m. The family is holding a private burial.

Read full story: WSOC

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