Iowa family died from water heater gas leak, Mexico official says

Saul Bowman
March 27, 2018

Mexican authorities have announced that the Iowa family of four who were found dead inside of their vacation condo in Akumal died from inhalation of toxic gases.

The Creston family found dead in their vacation condominium suffocated after inhaling toxic gases, Mexican authorities said in a news release Saturday.

Authorities say the family had likely been dead for 36 to 48 hours before they were discovered yesterday.

The prosecutors' office in Quintana Roo said that "the cause of death was asphyxiation from inhaling toxic gases". The office had previously reiterated that foul play was not a factor. The family had planned to then drive about 200 miles (322 kilometres) to Danville, Illinois to watch a basketball game Thursday, Hoyt said.

It was the family's second time in Mexico, and their planned activities included meeting up with some friends and going to a water park, Weland said.

"There were third parties trying to contact the place" once the social media post went viral, Peterson said.

Hoyt said she and her loved ones are planning one funeral, which will be held at Southwestern Community College in Creston, Iowa, where the Sharp family lived.

Miss Humphreys said she was out with a friend at the time but her daughter saw the toy go up in flames at the bottom of the stairs and managed to escape through the back door.


Kevin Sharp, 41, his son Sterling Wayne Sharp, 12, daughter Adrianna Marie Sharp, 7, and his wife Amy Marie Sharp, 38, all of Creston, Iowa, pose for a photo on victory lane following a September 2017 stock-car race at Adams County Speedway in Corning, Iowa.

The relatives made a decision to wait for the last flight from Cancun to St. Louis to arrive on Thursday in case the Sharps had just planned to stay an extra day, Weland told ABC News. Their family says in a Facebook post that they were set to return to the United States on a flight to St. Louis on March 21, 2018.

Paulina Chávez Alonzo, a spokeswoman for the Mexican Embassy in Washington, told NBC News that the government offered its "deepest condolences to the family and friends of the Sharps".

Kevin was a salesman for the beer distributor Southwest Distributing Co., and Amy was a dental-claims specialist for Principal Financial in Des Moines.

Family members described Adrianna as the "fashion stylist" who "ruled that family".

"Creston is close-knit like all small towns in Iowa", Baldwin added. "The more I think about him and the family, the harder it is".

On Saturday, the community held a candlelight vigil at Adams County Speedway, where the Sharp family were regular spectators, local NBC affiliate World Health Organization reported.

"One way or another, we will".

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