Four dead from high levels of carbon monoxide leaked from hot water heater

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Police in Genoa Township says it appears a recently installed hot water heater leaked high levels of carbon monoxide inside the Reitter family home.

According to the Geona Township Police Department, carbon monoxide levels exceeding 999ppm were found in the home of the Reitter family where four members and three dogs were found dead, May 2.

The bodies of Richard Gabriel Reitter III, Jennifer Reitter, Richard Gabriel Reitter IV and Grace Reitter were located in seperate rooms, either in bed or in bathrooms, and no carbon monoxide detectors were found in the home. 

Police say the last known contact with the family was the evening of Monday, April 29, 2019 and they had all complained of illness. The schools were notified by the parents that their daughter would not be attending school on Tuesday, April 30, 2019 due to illness. 

When a forensic engineering company tested the hot water heater during the death investigation, it began emitting high levels of carbon monoxide and testing had to be stopped before it was possible to conclude if the cause of carbon monoxide was faulty installation or a faulty unit.

The Montgomery County Coroner, who performed autopsies on the Reitter family, has issued a preliminary report listing the cause of death as carbon monoxide saturation. After the blood gasses are analyzed, which will take several weeks, the cause of death may be changed to carbon monoxide intoxication.  

There were no other signs of trauma or any other cause of death indicated, according to police. 

Police emphasized it is still too early to determine whether the carbon monoxide leak was caused by faulty installation or a product defect, but they have informed the Ohio Attorney General’s consumer product safety section of the investigation’s findings.  

Because investigators have determined there was no crime committed in the deaths of the Reitters, the case has been closed by the Genoa Township Police Department 

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