A family of four was found dead in a cabin on New Year’s Eve and police believe carbon monoxide poisoning might be to blame.
Anthony Capitano, 32, his wife Megan, 32 and their 4-year-old son Lincoln and 3-year-old daughter Kingsli of El Mirage, Arizona, were found dead after law enforcement in Parks, Arizona — where the family was staying — were called to the home, according to the Ponderosa Fire Department.
When officers walked into the cabin they say there was a strong odor of burned propane gas coming from inside.
After the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office employed assistance and investigated the heating system in the cabin, they found a “significant failure in the heating system, which would be consistent with carbon monoxide overcoming the residence.”
The manner and cause of death, the department says, is still to be determined by the Coconino County Medical Examiner’s Office.
A longtime friend of the family told 12News that she believes she was one of the last people to speak to the family, who no one had heard from in days.
“I sent her this snap, ‘I love you more,'” Rhonda Alsobrook told the news outlet. “I won this conversation because I said, ‘I love you more,’ and I was the last one to say, ‘I love you more.’ “
Alsobrook isn’t just a friend of the Capitano family. She’s also a professional photographer who took their engagement photos, wedding photos, and just two weeks ago, their family Christmas photos.
On early Saturday morning before their death, she says she was texting with Megan — who had stayed at the cabin before — about those very photos and on the New Year’s Day, Megan planned to send her family and friends videos and photos.
“She [Megan] was snapping photos of the kids, they woke up playing in the cabin,” Alsobrook said.“Tony was dancing around being goofy with the kids like they always did and we just didn’t hear from them.”
Friends told the news outlet that they also left behind Tony’s oldest son Ashton — who was with his mother in Texas.
Investigators believe a leak in the gas furnace is to blame, and an investigation is ongoing, according to the outlet.
“What I think is that they probably all got their jammies on, went to bed — I was told there was two beds in there,” Alsobrook told 12News. “And they were sleeping and they probably snuggled up and went to sleep and that’s probably what happened. I don’t think they even knew.”
The Sheriff’s Office recommends that people not only install smoke detectors, but also carbon monoxide detectors in their home. The detectors, they said, should be tested and inspected at the manufacturer’s recommended intervals. If people use wood stoves, they added, be sure to also have that annually serviced and cleaned.
Signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning may include: dull headache, weakness, dizziness, nausea or vomiting, shortness of breath, confusion, blurred vision and loss of consciousness.