Family members are blaming carbon monoxide poisoning for the deaths of a Maryland single father and his seven children.
Investigators found the man, identified as 36-year-old Rodney Todd, and his children in their single-storey Princess Anne home on 6 April. Police entered it after his supervisor, Stephanie Wells, filed a missing-person report.
Although police have not confirmed carbon monoxide poisoning was the official cause of death, Princess Anne police chief Scott Teller told the Associated Press foul play was not suspected and a generator without gasoline was found. Keller also confirmed the home's electricity had been turned off.
Todd's stepfather, Lloyd Edwards, told the AP he had purchased the generator after power was shut off to the home. According to Fox News, Delmarva Power spokesman Matt Likovich would not confirm whether the power had been shut off but said the situation was being investigated.
The University of Maryland Eastern Shore utility worker lived with his two sons and five daughters, aged six to 15, his mother Bonnie Edwards confirmed. The children were identified as Cameron, 13; Zycheim, 7; Tynijuiza, 15; Tdykira, 12; Tybree, 10; Tyania, 9; and Tybria, 6.
"It was just disbelief. It's so hard," Lloyd told reporters. "He was an outstanding dad. To keep his seven children warm, he bought a generator, and the carbon monoxide consumed them."
Bonnie added: "I feel empty. I'm used to coming up here and seeing my grandkids running up and down the steps."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a total of 5,149 deaths occurred in the United States due to unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning between 1999 and 2010.