Franklin County, MO – Three men who were found dead at a duplex in Union died of carbon monoxide poisoning after one of the men apparently left his car running in a garage, authorities said Wednesday.
Edward G. Huddleston, 74, and his dog were found dead in one apartment on Tuesday. Verlyn R. Branson, 85, and his son, John E. Branson, 58, were found dead in an adjoining unit of the duplex.
Union police Capt. Richard Neace told the Post-Dispatch on Wednesday that the carbon monoxide release apparently came from a vehicle left running in Huddleston’s garage overnight. He said no foul play is suspected and investigators don’t think it was a suicide.
Neace said officers went to the duplex at 511 South Washington Avenue about 3:45 p.m. Tuesday to check the well-being of Huddleston. Staff at a heart and vascular center had called police because they were concerned his implanted cardioverter-defibrillator had given a low reading sometime overnight. Huddleston’s sister had also asked police to check on him because she couldn’t reach him.
While they were inside the apartment, officers started to detect a chemical odor. They checked the garage and noticed it was “extremely hot and had a strong odor of chemicals coming from it,” according to a written summary of the case by Union police Sgt. Steven Sachs.
Police left the home and called for firefighters who detected high levels of carbon monoxide. Police and a firefighter wearing a breathing apparatus entered the adjoining apartment and found the bodies of the Bransons.
“You never know when something is going to happen like this,” Lippert said.
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas found in fumes from vehicle engines or stoves, fireplaces and furnaces. Some common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headache, dizziness and confusion. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says people who are asleep can die from poisoning before they have any symptoms.