Root Cause of Iowa Family's Death in Mexico Identified
Mexican officials say water heater leaked toxic gas
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 26, 2018 2:34 PM CDT
View of the beach in Tulum, Mexico, Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2012.   (AP Photo/Israel Leal)

(Newser) – Mexican authorities say a water heater is to blame in the deaths of an Iowa family vacationing in the Quintana Roo resort town of Tulum. An inspection over the weekend found that the water heater at the Sharp family's rented condominium was leaking gas, according to Quintana Roo's head prosecutor. "A high concentration of this toxic (gas) was found in the room," Miguel Angel Pech told local media, per the Des Moines Register. Autopsies on Kevin Sharp, 41; Amy Sharp, 38; and their children, Sterling Sharp, 12; and Adrianna Sharp, 7, previously indicated they died from inhaling toxic fumes.

The autopsy results indicated the Sharps had been dead for 36 to 48 hours when their bodies were found Friday; they had arrived in Mexico March 15 and were due to leave for home last Wednesday. Authorities checked on them after they failed to return to the US and were reported missing. "Some were lying in their bedrooms, and the children were playing, one in one part of the room and the other in another part of the same room," Pech says. On Friday, Amy Sharp's cousin told ABC News the family was supposed to meet up with friends at a water park in Mexico during their vacation and never showed; she also said it was odd they didn't post photos during their vacation as they normally would have. It's not clear what caused the water heater to leak gas.

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