March 26 (UPI) -- A water heater may have been the source of the gas leak that killed an Iowa family of four found dead in a Mexican hotel, officials said Monday.
An inspection over the weekend determined the water heater in the rented condominium in Tulum where Kevin Wayne Sharp, 41; Amy Marie Sharp, 38; and their children, Sterling Wayne Sharp, 12; and Adrianna Marie Sharp, 7; were found dead, was leaking gas.
"All the indications are that a gas leak was the cause of the death of four members of a family in Bahia Principe de Tulum, Quintana Roo, and installations are already being investigated to determine what happened and who is responsible," State attorney for the Yucatan Peninsula state of Quintana Roo Miguel Angel Pech said.
Pech said a "high concentration" of toxic gas was found in the room and added it was possible the gas leak was caused by a lack of maintenance or overuse.
Quintana Roo director of civil protection Adrian Martinez told the Des Moines Register the condominium complied with all regulations.
Martinez added five people were evacuated from rooms around the affected apartment following the incident.
Autopsies revealed the family died from gas asphyxiation and had been dead for 36 to 48 hours when their bodies were discovered on Friday.
Forensic samples were sent to labs in Mexico City Monday as officials seek to identify the gas in the next 10 days, Pech said.
Relatives of the family are waiting to finalize funeral arrangements until their bodies are returned to the United States