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North Carolina hotel deaths blamed on carbon monoxide

BOONE, N.C., June 11 (UPI) -- Elevated carbon monoxide levels are being blamed for the deaths of an 11-year-old boy and an elderly couple at a Best Western in Boone, N.C., police said.

An autopsy of Jeffrey Lee Williams of Rock Hill, N.C. indicates he died from asphyxia, The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer reported Tuesday.

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The boy's mother, Jeannie Williams, remained hospitalized on Monday.

Boone police Sgt. Shane Robbins told a news conference blood test results indicate carbon monoxide also killed an elderly Washington state couple that occupied the same room two months ago that Jeffrey and his mother stayed in last weekend.

Documents obtained by the Observer show inspectors for the county health department found deficiencies earlier this year involving the swimming pool at the Best Western Plus Ridge Plaza.

The bottom-floor pool is below room 225 where the deaths occurred. Police said room 225 is directly above a room that contains a natural gas heater for the pool.

A March 6 inspection found the pool's chemical and equipment room needed better ventilation and its pump was not approved by an industry standards group.

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