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'Something Chemical' May Have Killed Utah Family

Authorities say it could take more than a month for answers
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 30, 2014 7:03 AM CDT
'Something Chemical' May Have Killed Utah Family
Springville Police investigate the scene where five people were found dead in a home in Springville, Utah, on Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014.   (AP Photo/The Salt Lake Tribune, Rick Egan)

There are still more questions than answers in the case of the family that died mysteriously Saturday in their home in Springville, Utah. "There was no blunt force trauma, no stab wounds, no gunshot wounds," a local police lieutenant tells KSL. "Nobody went in the house and shot these people or stabbed these people. What's left is something chemical, like carbon monoxide or a poison," but authorities don't have many leads there. "There's nothing, no note, no barbecue or gas heater, no container with a skull and cross bones on it." Benjamin and Kristi Strack and three of their children were last heard from around 7am Saturday; their oldest son and his grandmother found their bodies, all of them in the parents' bedroom, around 8pm that night. There was bottled water and soda in the room, which holds a large-screen TV, and authorities are looking into the possibility that the family was watching or planning to watch a movie.

The drinks are being tested, notebooks and phones at the scene are being looked at, and the next step is to await the results of toxicology tests, which could take a month or more. The family's three pets, which were not confined to the same room as the family but were in the house, were all found alive, KUTV reports. "This time of year, [carbon monoxide is] obviously something we’re concerned with," the lieutenant tells the Salt Lake Tribune, but there was no sign of the gas when firefighters entered the home. It could have dissipated by that point, as at least one door was open by then and a strong wind was building in the area. The Stracks lived in a duplex, and their neighbors were unharmed. (Another mysterious Utah crime this weekend: An elderly "nice guy" was shot four times after answering his door.)

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