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Family of 4 dies from apparent carbon monoxide poisoning

A relative found the family members dead Wednesday evening after going to check on them

The Associated Press

MERRILLVILLE, Ind. — Two children and two adults died of apparent carbon monoxide poisoning from a gas-powered generator at a northwestern Indiana house, police said.

A relative found the family members dead Wednesday evening after going to check on them, Merrillville Police Chief Joseph Petruch told The Times of Munster.

Petruch called the deaths "an unfortunate accident."

The family moved into the well-kept two-story rental home in Merrillville, just south of Gary, over the weekend, but police said the electricity had not been turned on. Police said the generator was inside an attached garage and had power cords going to several electronic devices, with all the home's exterior doors and windows closed.

Petruch said investigators believe the family could have died Saturday.

The Lake County coroner's office identified those who died as 41-year-old Micheal Nichols, 38-year-old Kennetha Purnell, 13-year-old Matthew Nichols and 11-year-old Morgan Nichols.

Neighbor Janet Yaros told WBBM-TV that she and others were stunned by the deaths and wished they could have done something to help.

"We, as the neighbors, had not seen any movement for several days, and the van stayed in the same place all the time," she said. "And we knew something wasn't right, we just didn't know who to contact."

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