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Jeffrey Williams, 11, of Rock Hill, S.C. died in Best Western room 225 in Boone June 8. Photo

Originally published: 2013-06-14 13:13:09
Last modified: 2013-06-17 16:24:04

CO toxicity confirmed in boy's death

by Anna Oakes

State toxicology results have confirmed carbon monoxide toxicity led to the death of 11-year-old Jeffrey Williams at the Best Western hotel in Boone June 8.

The Boone Police Department on Friday announced that regional pathologist Brent Hall contacted them late Thursday afternoon stating he had received state toxicology results for Williams.

"The blood concentration of carbon monoxide was greater than 60 percent," the Boone Police statement said. "(Regional pathologist) Dr. (Brent) Hall advised that these CO levels would have caused the asphyxia that was noted in the autopsy. This level of CO concentration is consistent with the levels found in both Daryl and Shirley Jenkins."

Police on Wednesday announced that preliminary tests pointed to the hotel's swimming pool water heater as the source of elevated carbon monoxide levels in room 225, where Williams died June 8 and the Jenkins, a couple in their 70s, died April 16.

According to the Mayo Clinic, carbon monoxide poisoning occurs when CO binds to hemoglobin and prevents delivery of oxygen to the tissues. 

"Twenty percent saturation of hemoglobin induces symptoms (headache, fatigue, dizziness, confusion, nausea, vomiting, increased pulse and respiratory rate)," the Mayo Clinic website states. "Sixty percent saturation is usually fatal. This concentration is reached when there is 1 part CO per 1,000 parts air."


"Carboxyhemoglobin diminishes at a rate of about 15 percent per hour when the patient is removed from the contaminated environment," it said.

Hall received the toxicology results from the Office of the State Medical Examiner less than a week later than Williams' death last weekend. It took nearly two months for the state to return results for the April 16 fatalities -- Boone Police on Monday said they had received the results for the Jenkins within the past 24 hours.