Ohio newlyweds die from apparent carbon monoxide poisoning

PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (WSAZ) -- Megan and Cody Keller just got married within the last year. Neither showed up for work Wednesday morning, and they were later found dead inside their home.

Courtesy: WSAZ

Co-workers became worried when the Richland County couple didn't show up for their jobs and didn't answer phone calls. Megan works at the Wooster Police Department and in a 911 call released Thursday, a detective asks dispatchers to initiate a well-being check.

"She has not shown up for work today," the detective is heard saying. "I called her husband's work. He works over in Mansfield. He also did not show up for work."

That behavior was out of character for both.

"They have a coal burner in the basement," said the detective. "Could it be carbon monoxide?"

It was.

Investigators found the couple, along with their dog, dead in their Washington Township home from apparent carbon monoxide poisoning.

"I can think of an incident right now where we received a call and we found a couple in bed just like they went to bed, went to sleep and they just never woke up," said Portsmouth Fire Chief Bill Raison.

Although the incident Raison is recalling was almost 20 year ago, it still flashes in his mind every time he hears about a carbon monoxide incident.

"I can go right back to that day and I remember that," Raison said. "I remember just thinking how unfortunate it was and how something as simple as a carbon monoxide detector would have saved their life."

Carbon monoxide is virtually undetectable without the right equipment.

"It's completely odorless, colorless, so it creeps into the atmosphere and you don't even realize it," Raison said.

Any fuel-burning appliance can cause a leak, Raison said. That includes furnaces and other heating sources which is why having a carbon monoxide detector is important year-round, but especially in the winter months.

Detectors should not be placed near the heating source, Raison explained, but in the bedrooms where you are vulnerable while you are sleeping.

Flu-like symptoms are signs of carbon monoxide poisoning, but Raison says a lot of people write it off as an illness. Only a detector can tell you the difference.

"Usually once we get a call for something like that, it's been an extended period of time so it's too late," said Raison.

He believes that not enough people maintain their chimney and heating sources. Preventing tragedies like this may also happen if people spread the word and understand the dangers.

Carbon monoxide leaks are also dangerous for first responders who, like in the Richland County situation, are often going out on well-being checks, unaware of the dangerous gas inside the homes. WKYC reports that the carbon monoxide levels were so dangerous in the Kellers' home that the house had to be aired out before anyone could go inside.