Coroner: Deaths of Richland County couple carbon monoxide-related

MANSFIELD - The deaths of a Washington Township couple Wednesday were determined to be related to carbon monoxide, according to the Richland County Coroner's Office.

Bob Ball, a coroner's investigator, Thursday afternoon said the forensic pathologist from Montgomery County Examiner's Office confirmed Megan Keller and her husband Cody Keller died of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Maj. Joe Masi of the Richland County Sheriff's Office said FirstEnergy confirmed there was a power outage from 5:35 a.m. to 7:42 a.m. Wednesday at 2551 Touby Road, where the Kellers' resided.

Ball said the coal burner's blower would not have been working during the power outage. It would have shut the blower down.

Masi also released the 911 tape from Wooster police Det. Bill Belcher, who was concerned because Megan, 34, had not shown up for work at 7 a.m.Wednesday and Cody, 29, had not shown up for work either, he learned after calling Gorman Rupp.

Belcher told the 911 dispatcher that Cody's boss said Cody was his best employee and had never been late to work. The man's boss at Gorman Rupp also was calling Cody and got no answer.

The detective told the 911 dispatcher he was concerned about carbon monoxide poisoning because of the couple's coal burner in the basement.

The detective said the couple had been married within the last year.

Megan Keller was employed as an administrative supervisor at the Wooster Police Division, according to the City of Wooster's website. Cody Keller was employed at Gorman-Rupp Co., according to the police report. 

The sheriff's office and a Washington Township squad were called to the residence for a well-being check. Officials found the two individuals deceased.

Family members stood on the front lawn hugging each other as the coroner, deputies and firefighters conducted their investigation.

A deputy noticed a "rotten egg odor" and called for the fire department because of the potential for carbon monoxide, according to the sheriff's report. When firefighters arrived, officials forced entry to the rear door of the house. The carbon monoxide detector started to alarm that the levels were too high, causing everyone to leave the house, the deputy wrote in his report.

Safety officials allowed the house to air out until it was safe to enter. Inside, deputies and firefighters also located a dog that had died.

A witness told deputies she last saw the victims around 5 p.m. Tuesday while they were feeding the cows. 

Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs when carbon monoxide builds up in a person's bloodstream. When too much carbon monoxide is in the air, the body replaces the oxygen in red blood cells with carbon monoxide. This can lead to serious tissue damage, or even death, according to Mayoclinic.com.

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas produced by burning gas, wood, propane, charcoal or other fuel. Improperly ventilated appliances and engines, particularly in a tightly sealed or enclosed space, may allow carbon monoxide to accumulate to dangerous levels.

© Gannett Co., Inc. 2017. All Rights Reserved


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