Mother, son likely died from carbon monoxide poisoning

Deputies still awaiting blood test results.
Courtney Astolfi
Jun 2, 2014

astolfi@sanduskyregister.com

HURON TWP.
Two Huron Township residents whose decomposed bodies were discovered inside their home in mid-May appear to have died from carbon monoxide poisoning, but officials are still awaiting conclusive test results, deputies said Monday.

Eunice Tuttle, 87 and her son, David Tuttle, 62 were identified through dental records on May 20—three days after a postal worker noticed mail piling up at their home and alerted authorities.

When deputies searched the Tuttles' Cleveland Road townhouse May 17, they found two severely decomposed, unidentifiable bodies and no apparent signs of foul play, Erie County Sheriff Paul Sigsworth said.

Officials suspected the pair could've died as early as mid-April.

Deputies conducted preliminary carbon monoxide tests, uncovering no obvious indication monoxide poisoning was to blame for the Tuttles' death, officials said.

However, when coroners later determined there was no trauma sustained by either individual, deputies turned their sights back to the possibility of high monoxide levels in the home, Erie County Chief Deputy Jared Oliver said.

On May 23, investigators enlisted the help of a Columbia Gas technician. A week later, they brought in a technician with Gundlach Heating and Cooling for a second opinion.

Both technicians came to the same conclusion, Oliver said:

“All signs point to the probability of carbon monoxide poisoning. However, (the technicians) aren't able to replicate weather conditions, air conditions and pressure conditions inside the unit at the time of death,” Oliver said.

Though technicians found the Tuttles' furnace to be fully functioning, that doesn't necessarily indicate there wasn't a problem in the past.

“There was nothing found that was not working properly—but that doesn't mean there wasn't an issue at the time of death,” Oliver said.

Now that no overt signs of a furnace malfunction have been found, investigators must await the pair's blood work results.

Oliver said those blood tests should reveal the levels of carbon monoxide in the Tuttles' bodies when they died.

Other than that final piece of the puzzle, deputies have essentially concluded their investigation into the Tuttles' death, Oliver said.

“We'll turn all our information over to the coroner's office and await that testing. We'll leave the final determination (on cause of death) up to them,” Oliver said. 

Comments

Kottage Kat

Sad NO ONE CARED.

Stop It

What leads you to believe no one cared?

Truth2u

True Kat, But we are fortunate that our local law enforcement is handling this correctly, not like that other Sheriff to our west. We will know before evidence is destroyed what took place, and if there was foul play it will be taken care of instead of the families having to spend years fighting in court for justice.

holysee

rhymes with ogre fire

deertracker

Sad. Surprised no one smelled anything!

Tired Of The Bull

Carbon monoxide is odorless

Kelly

I may be wrong, but I think deertracker meant nobody smelled the bodies.

deertracker

You are correct Kelly!

Tired Of The Bull

Ahhhh...I stand corrected!!

worddrow811

today's buildings can be so air-tight that it is possible that no air circulated. it's the reason to leave some air coming through for ventilation. that no one noticed is a sign of the disconnect in today's society. we don't see faces on-line.

lor70

They must not have had any family who would've missed them. Sad story!

worddrow811

regardless of whether or not they had a family, the first comment had it exactly right. no one cared and how sad for them to be so insensitive to one's fellow neighbors to not see them. this could have had a different outcome if they had just made arrangements with each other to say, "if anything looks amiss, please check on me and I'll do the same for you."

Gardenman

Carbon monoxide is orderless. Great idea for all to have a CO2 detector. Not expensive but in cases like this it could have saved 2 lives. I have 3 CO2 detectors placed in varioius places around my home along with multiple smoke detectors as well. As they suggest change the batteries twice a year too.

SamBrowne

I wonder if a vehicle was parked inside the garage. Looks like an attached garage in the picture. Perhaps someone was warming up the car/forgot to turn it off and filled the house with CO (with the door down).
If there are neighbors, I wonder about the state and condition of their equipment/possible running vehicle in the garage. It may seem unlikely, but I know an incident with a running vehicle like this has happend before in attached/connected townhouses/condos where neighbors produced the CO and it set off the CO alarm in the unit next to it.

Ralph J.

Other possibilities could be food poisoning or the flu. Those should not be ruled out. There are secondary complications, such as pneumonia or complications of chronic medical problems that could have lead to their deaths.

2cents

I am a firm believer in this technology, I have been using these since 2000. http://fantech.net/enus/Product_...

YouMustBeJoking

My initial thought was that the son died of natural causes, and therefor the mother had no one to take of her and she passed away from no food or water. I don't believe carbon monoxide had anything to do with the deaths.

Ralph J.

Logical opinion. LIKE!

God Of Thunder

I totally agree joking YoumustBeJoking... Nothing with the heat/venting systems indicate otherwise. Carbon monoxide is CO, not CO2. A lot of people get that confused. CO2 is carbon DIoxide.

Gardenman

Yes, you are correct and thank you for clarifying on CO vs CO2.

The deaths are unfortunate and I bet there are more than just a few homes that have one adult living in them or situations likes these with older residents.

You might think the Erie County Senior Citizens could have a daily phone contact with elderly living along and they might well have that too. It's great for those living in neighborhoods and know where a situation like this that they keep an eye out for the residents to see they are OK.

jazzbo

Both of them dying by carbon monoxide poisoning makes perfect sense.

booster

Both dying at the same time does not make sense to me. I would be more likely to think that one would die first then the other would call 911 or an ambulance for the other.
To die at the same time, it would seem to me that you would have to have one heck of a killer furnace. On this furnace, the situation can not be repeated.

reddog

Carbon monoxide poisoning often kills multiple people at once because the first thing to happen is you fall asleep. That's not something that would ordinarily trigger a 9-1-1 call. Very sad, indeed. I sure hope the blood work is able to shed more light on the cause of death.

candleburner

I don't know about that. It's been a while ago now, but some dear friends of mine - they were brothers and Tom wasn't all that healthy but Gene was and had just retired from the Sheriff's office. Neither had ever married and lived with their elderly mother to take care of her and Gene also took care of Tom since again his health wasn't all that great. What happened to Gene and Tommy was only speculated by the way their bodies were position when EMS got there and from what their mother told us from what she could see in her room but Gene had gone up to check on Tommy one morning when he didn't get up for breakfast and when he got to his room he thought Tommy was dead by the way he was laying. Apparently it was to much of a shock to Gene's system because he had a massive heart attack and fell over dead. Tommy was just sleeping very soundly and woke up and saw Gene and started to cry and it was to much for him and he had a heart attack and before EMS could get there he was gone. So essentially both died at the same time from natural causes and neither one had a chance with 911 (but yes their mom did try and call though she was freaking out herself watching all this go on with her sons). So I wouldn't say it's not possible, just think it's sad that if they passed in mid April and it wasn't noticed until the mailman said the mail was piling up. You'd think they would have caught it a lot sooner even with just watching the mail.

capcap

In this day in age..Not talking to Family member's or neighbor's ...Believe it !!! It happand's to me and alot of people. Life 50 to 100 year's ago was not the same. If I was this family Doctor, I would have said that they needed home health care come in or a social worker assigned to them.If you have elderly family member's it not a bad thing to say to them that they might need this kind of help.