Gas Leak From Faulty Water Heater Blamed in Deaths of Iowa Family Members

Playing How to Protect Your Family From Carbon Monoxide Poisoning on Vacation

After an Iowa family of four was found dead in their vacation condo in Mexico last week, police suspect the family died due to a gas leak from a water heater.

Kevin Wayne Sharp, 41, Amy Marie Sharp, 38, and their two children, ages 7 and 12, were on vacation when relatives became worried and reported them missing.

A newly released autopsy report said the family died of asphyxiation and inhaling toxic gases. The family had reportedly been dead for about two days before police found them during a welfare check Friday. 

They were scheduled to return home Wednesday.

The head prosecutor of the Caribbean coast state of Quintana Roo said that an inspection revealed that the water heater at the rented condominium in the resort town of Tulum was leaking gas, ABC News reported.

Home safety expert Ron Hazelton says there are steps you can take you can take to protect your family when you go on vacation.

"One of the simplest things you can do when you go on vacation is to take with you a portable carbon monoxide or gas alarm or monitor," Hazelton said. "It’s very simple. You just drop it in your suitcase."

Hazelton said the first thing you should do when you arrive is take it out and plug it into a wall outlet or make sure it has batteries.

A candlelight vigil was held for the family over the weekend at a local speedway in Iowa. Kevin Sharp was a popular local stock car driver. 
 
"They're just great people,” said someone at the vigil.

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