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Moorhead police: 7 found dead in home succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning

Moorhead police held a press conference Wednesday, saying the seven people found dead in a home Saturday died from carbon monoxide poisioning.
Credit: KVLY

MOORHEAD, Minn. — The Moorhead Police Department confirmed Wednesday that seven people who were found dead inside a home Saturday died from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Authorities say the victims include three children and four adults, identified by police Monday as 37-year-old Belin Hernandez, 34-year-old Marleny Pinto, 16-year-old Breylin Hernandez, 7-year-old Mike Hernandez, 5-year-old Marbely Hernandez, 32-year-old Eldor Hernandez Castillo and 19-year-old Mariela Guzman Pinto. 

Police say family members had initially conducted a welfare check on the 4400 block of 13th Street South when they discovered the bodies and called 9-1-1 just before 8 p.m. Police say the bodies were found mostly in their beds as if they had been sleeping.

Officials had earlier stated there were no signs of violence at the scene or forced entry into the home, but stated in a press conference Wednesday that the appearance of their bodies indicated possible carbon monoxide poisoning. Blood samples from the victims confirmed they all had fatal levels of carbon monoxide in their bodies. 

They went on to say they believe the source of the CO2 to either be a furnace or vehicle in the garage, and that more testing will be performed in the coming weeks to confirm. Officials say while inside the home, they located a carbon monoxide detector in a laundry room cabinet, detached from the wall and without batteries. Authorities added that the home was investigated in Sept. 2020 and there were no violations related to the carbon monoxide detector or furnace. 

Moorhead Fire Chief Jeff Wallin shared tips for carbon monoxide safety:

  • Have a working detector in your home within 10 feet of any sleeping space
  • Test your detector monthly and replace every 5 to 7 years
  • If your detector goes off, leave the house and call 911

Signs and symptoms to watch for:

  • Headache, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, confusion, vomiting and unconsciousness

Wallin says the department receives about 59 calls per year related to carbon monoxide concerns, with around 15 resulting in carbon monoxide actually being present in a home.

"This is a huge and tragic loss," Wallin said.

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