Published June 16, 2013
A North Carolina medical examiner has resigned after investigators found he knew carbon monoxide killed a couple at a hotel a week before an 11-year-old boy who stayed in the same room two months later also died.
Dr. Brent Hall resigned Friday from his post as medical examiner for Watauga County, according to WGHP Fox 8, after police were not properly alerted to the carbon monoxide in a room at the Best Western in Boone.
On April 16, Shirley Jenkins and her husband Daryl reportedly were found dead in Room 225 of the hotel. Jeffrey Lee Williams, 11, was found dead June 8 in the same room and his mother was rushed to the hospital.
The state completed its toxicology report proving carbon monoxide killed Shirley Jenkins on June 1.
WSOC reported that when Jeffrey Lee Williams and his mother checked into the hotel, they did not know about the previous victims — nor did the police.
“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,” North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos said in a statement Saturday.
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, WGHP reports.
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.
“I can’t speculate as to why we didn’t get them,” Boone Police Chief Dana Crawford told WSOC of the reports. 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 it took investigators just hours to trace the leak back to a pool water heater after Williams’ death.