August 30, 2015

Boone hotel carbon monoxide death probe continues

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 8, 2013

BOONE (AP) — Police reviewing the deaths of three people from carbon monoxide poisoning in the same Boone hotel room say they are investigating two other hotels owned by the same company because employees and equipment was shared between the businesses.
The investigation into the deaths of Washington state couple, Daryl Dean Jenkins and Shirley Mae Jenkins, on April 16 and 11-year-old Jeffrey Lee Williams of Rock Hill, S.C., on June 8 will likely continue well into July, Boone Police Capt. Andy LeBeau told The Charlotte Observer.
“When we are finished, the investigation will be presented to the district attorney to see if there is any kind of criminal violation that occurred,” LeBeau said.
The three people who died all stayed in the same room at the Best Western Plus Blue Ridge Plaza. The hotel has been closed since the boy died and his mother was seriously injured in June. Officials have blamed a faulty pool heater for sending lethal levels of carbon monoxide into the room.
Police are also questioning workers and gathering records from the Sleep Inn and the Country Inns & Suites in Boone, which are owned by the same family and management company, according to property records, North Carolina Secretary of State records and court documents obtained by the newspaper.
AJD Investments owns the hotels and they are managed by Appalachian Hospitality Management. Management company president Damon Mallatere referred questions from the newspaper to his attorney, who did not respond to the paper. Members of the family who own the hotels either could not be reached or refused to talk to the newspaper.
The woman seriously injured and found unconscious in the hotel room, Jeannie Williams, continues to improve, her brother-in-law Darrell Williams told the newspaper.
Jeannie Williams can walk with a walker and is trying to regain complete use of her arms and legs, he said,
“But there is still a long way to go in her recovery,” Darrell Williams wrote.
Lawyer Mark Brumbaugh, who represents the Jenkins family, said the three deaths in the hotel room were “so unnecessary and avoidable.”
Watauga County Medical Examiner Dr. Brent Hall did not examine any of the three bodies at the scene of the deaths and did not ask for scientists to rush carbon monoxide tests on the bodies of the first two victims or the hotel room, authorities said.
Hall resigned after the last death and has not spoken about the case publically.