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Published: Wednesday, January 03, 2018 @ 4:55 PM
PARKS, Ariz. — An Arizona couple and their two young children were found dead Monday in what authorities said was a case of suspected carbon monoxide poisoning.
Anthony and Megan Capitano, both 32, Lincoln Capitano, 4, and Kingsli Capitano, 3, were found during a welfare check performed after family members were unable to reach them for several days. Officials with the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office said that the family from El Mirage was staying in a cabin belonging to a family friend in Parks, which is located west of Flagstaff in the Coconino National Forest.
A deputy sent to check on the family found their vehicle parked outside the cabin and, when he approached the home, smelled a strong odor of gas coming from inside, Sheriff’s Office officials said. Additional deputies were called in, as were firefighters from the Ponderosa Fire Department.
Firefighters wearing self-contained breathing equipment went inside and found the family dead, fire officials reported. Anthony Capitano’s older son, Ashton, was home with his mother in Texas when his father, stepmother and siblings died.
Sheriff’s Office investigators called in a heating and cooling provider to investigate the gas heating system in the cabin.
“The contractor found a significant failure in the heating system which would be consistent with carbon monoxide overcoming the residence,” investigators said in a statement. “The heating unit was the only gas appliance in the home. This provides additional evidence regarding a possible carbon monoxide-related event.”
The Coconino County Medical Examiner’s Office was still working to confirm the manner and cause of death, investigators said.
Jon Paxton, a spokesman with the Sheriff’s Office, told KPNX-TV in Phoenix that the family drove up to the cabin late Friday evening. Investigators believe the gas leak killed them early the following morning.
Friends of the couple told the news station that the family had stayed at the cabin several times before. One friend, Rhonda Alsobrook, said that she and Megan Capitano texted back and forth multiple times just hours before the family likely died.
“I sent her this snap, ‘I love you more,’” Rhonda Alsobrook said. “I won this conversation because I said, ‘I love you more,’ and I was the last one to say, ‘I love you more.’”
Alsobrook, a professional photographer, told the news station that she was up late Friday night and into Saturday morning, finishing up the Capitano family’s Christmas photos, which were taken about two weeks before their deaths.
She said she didn’t hear from Megan Capitano again. Days later, she received the devastating news.
“I got a phone call from her sister,” Alsobrook said. “She called me and told me, and it didn’t really set in.”
Alsobrook said she believes the family went to sleep, unaware of the danger they were in, and never woke up.
Carbon monoxide is a particularly potent danger in the winter, when cold temperatures have people turning on their heat to stay warm. Though the gas is odorless, it is sometimes possible to smell a leak from a propane gas furnace, Ponderosa Fire Chief Lee Antonides told KPNX.
“It depends on how strong the smell is, how rich, and when the furnace was last serviced,” the fire chief said. “Sometimes you can smell it, and sometimes you can’t.”
Antonides said anyone with gas heat should have a certified heating contractor inspect their home’s system before using it each winter. He said a yearly inspection is also important in rental properties.
“It’s important, if you’re renting a place you’re not familiar with, to ask when the last time the furnace was inspected,” Antonides told the news station. “Ask if there’s a carbon monoxide detector in the house and, if there is, make sure it functions.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than 400 people die of accidental carbon monoxide poisoning each year. Another 20,000 people visit the emergency room, and more than 4,000 of those people are hospitalized.
Symptoms of carbon dioxide poisoning, which are often described as “flu-like,” include headaches, dizziness, weakness, vomiting, chest pain and confusion. The CDC said on the agency’s website that people who are asleep or have been drinking can die from poisoning before any symptoms appear.
Homeowners who have gas heating systems or other gas appliances should install battery-operated carbon monoxide detectors, or electric detectors with battery backup, the CDC said. Detectors should be placed where residents can hear them if they go off at night, and the batteries should be replaced at least twice a year.
Carbon monoxide detectors should be replaced every five years.
Gas heating systems, along with gas, coal or oil burning appliances, should be serviced annually, the CDC said. Chimneys, which can become blocked by debris, should also be serviced each year.
Portable gas heaters and other gas-burning items like generators, should never be used indoors. Generators also should not be used within 20 feet of windows, doors or vents.
Friends of the Capitanos expressed shock and grief on social media.
“This is so hard to process,” Dan Matock wrote on Facebook. “My friend and his family will be sorely missed. I love you, Tony Capitano, Megan Capitano, Lincoln and Kingsli.”
Christle McGinnis described the family as “beautiful, caring souls.”
A man named Marty Gallo wrote that he was devastated by the deaths.
“My heart breaks that I wished I spent more time with you and your family,” Gallo wrote. “Tony Capitano and Megan Capitano were above and beyond the greatest souls to be around. Unwavering good in them, and it showed in their two beautiful young humans, Lincoln and Kingsli.”
Another friend, Anthony Martinez, described Tony Capitano as an incredible person.
Published: Wednesday, June 20, 2018 @ 2:05 AM
CARTERSVILLE, Ga. — Friends and family of a 21-year-old Cartersville, Georgia, man who drowned at Florida's Panama City Beach over Father's Day weekend say he died a hero.
Tony Jackson Jr. was on vacation swimming with friends when a strong current pulled him under.
WSB-TV's Michael Seiden spoke with Jackson's friend, Muhammad Qasim, who was at the beach with him and witnessed the accident.
Qasim told Seiden that just before they planned to leave, Jackson had turned back in the water to try to save a child who had fallen off a float.
“I was right next to him in the water, but when he tried to go toward the kid and the wave hit him, the wave just dragged him back 10 feet," Qasim said. "There was nothing I could’ve done.”
“I was right next to him in the water, but when he tried to go toward the kid and the wave hit him, the wave just dragged him back 10 feet . There was nothing I could’ve done .”— Michael Seiden (@SeidenWSBTV) June 19, 2018
-Muhammad Qasim on the death of his best friend Tony Jackson Jr. pic.twitter.com/0BmlZbViEH
Rescue crews recovered his body two hours later.
Jackson's family is now trying to raise enough money to fly his body back to Georgia so they can bury him. They say it will cost around $1,700.
“The main thing is to just get him home; that’s the biggest thing," said Jackson's mother, Latanisha.
She hopes the public will step up to help. The family has set up a GoFundMe page to help cover the expenses. They hope to raise $10,000 to pay for transportation and funeral arrangements.
In the meantime, the family is remembering a man who they believe risked his life to help a complete stranger.
“He had a big heart. He would do anything for anybody,” Latanisha told Seiden.
“He was a hard worker and he would do anything," Qasim said. "He would literally give the shirt off his back for anybody.”
Qasim says there was no warning posted about dangerous conditions in the water. A spokesman for the Panama City Beach Police said red flags were flying before the drowning, warning swimmers not to get in.
Qasim says that isn't true.
Click here to help the family.
Published: Wednesday, June 20, 2018 @ 2:31 AM
EAST PITTSBURGH, Pa. — A 17-year-old was shot and killed by police in East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday night after he allegedly ran away from a traffic stop on foot.
According to the Allegheny County Police Department, the vehicle the teen got out of matched the description of a vehicle seen near a shooting that occurred in North Braddock around 8:20 p.m.
Police processing suspects gray car along Grandview Ave in East Pittsburgh. County investigators believe this car was involved in a separate shooting in N Braddock where man was wounded. Suspects fled. 1 suspect shot, another in custody and police still searching for the third. pic.twitter.com/xz1AuURF78— Mike Holden (@WPXIMikeHolden) June 20, 2018
An officer from the East Pittsburgh Police Department was handcuffing the driver when two males ran from the car, authorities said.
One of those males was the 17-year-old who was shot and killed by police, authorities said.
The Allegheny County Police Department is asking the other person who ran away from the vehicle to turn himself in "so that he can give a comprehensive description of what occurred."
The victim in the North Braddock shooting, a 22-year-old man, was treated for his injuries and released from an area trauma center.
Published: Monday, June 18, 2018 @ 9:09 PM
PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. — Two men from North Georgia drowned in separate weekend incidents off Panama City Beach, police said.
Eugene Spann, 67, of Atlanta, was declared dead after being pulled from the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday morning, authorities said.
The body of Tony Orlando Jackson, 21, of Cartersville, was found Sunday afternoon about two hours after he was caught by a large wave, according to police.
Police and emergency workers took over life support efforts from bystanders when they found Spann unresponsive on the beach behind a motel short after 11 a.m. He was taken to an emergency room on the beach, where he was pronounced dead.
A search effort involving several agencies eventually found Jackson’s body. Police originally responded to a call about a swimmer in distress about 2:30 p.m.
Published: Wednesday, June 20, 2018 @ 1:22 AM
KINGSLAND, Ga. — Police say they are not releasing any additional information about the death of a 7-month-old who was found in a hot car in Camden County, Georgia, near the Florida border.
Kingsland officers were called to a motel Tuesday after reports that an infant was not breathing, the police department said. The child was declared dead.
Neighbors told ActionNewsJax's Amber Krycka that it was a boy who was found outside the Quality Inn in Kingsland.
Krycka spoke to a man who rushed to help and said the baby was extremely hot. He said he didn’t want to be identified because he’s in the military.
“She was screaming. She was just saying, 'Save my baby, save my baby,'" he said.
He said the mother was lying on the ground with the baby wrapped in a blanket.
“I got over there and unwrapped him,” said the man.
He then performed infant CPR on the baby, but it was too late.
No one has been taken into custody, the police department said.
Temperatures in Camden County reached about 90 degrees Tuesday, with “feels-like” temps near 100 degrees.
Temperatures can rise quickly in an enclosed car. In 90-degree weather, the temperature inside a car can reach almost 110 degrees in 10 minutes. Temperatures reach almost 125 degrees within 30 minutes.
Kingsland Police Department's full statement:
"The Kingsland Police Department is investigating an infant death. In the afternoon of June 19th, 2018, officers from the Kingsland Police Department were dispatched to a local motel in reference to an infant not breathing; upon police arrival to investigate, the child was declared deceased.
"No suspect(s) have been taken into custody at this time.
"We are attempting to handle the investigation with the utmost sensitivity and care out of respect for the family as possible to ensure the integrity of our investigation. Dealing with an infant death is hard enough for a family to deal with without added stress from publicity.
"We would like to ensure that our investigators have adequate time to conduct their investigation to accurately put the facts together before we release any further information.
"No additional information will be released at this time — including the baby’s time, place and cause of death; relation to the caller — until investigators conclude the investigation."