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Five found dead in Miami-Dade home

It appears all five - three adults and two children - died of carbon monoxide poisoning. Authorities say it could be accidental or a murder-suicide plot.

Published August 28, 2006

MIAMI - The bodies of five people, including two children, were found inside a home in southwestern Miami-Dade County on Sunday, and a preliminary investigation indicated that each victim died from carbon monoxide poisoning.

The body of one adult, a woman, was found in a sport utility vehicle still running in the garage, police said. Officers found four other bodies - two children and two adults - inside the four-bedroom structure located in a cluster of newly built homes.

Police said they were still determining if the deaths were accidental or part of a murder-suicide plot.

The identities and ages of the victims were not immediately released, pending notification of other family members, Miami-Dade police spokeswoman Nelda Fonticiella said, adding that detectives had to let the fumes escape from the home before being able to begin their investigation.

"Oh my God," said Feliza Thomas, who lives in a home just behind the one where the family was found. "Their children were very young. They had a little white dog. We would say hello to each other all the time. They never messed with anybody."

A relative of the victims had not heard from the family in two days and, upon getting no response at the door, called police to investigate, Fonticiella said.

Carlotta Loero, who lives next door to the scene, said the family was polite but tended to keep to itself. "It appeared that maybe they didn't like associating with the neighbors too much, so we gave them their space," said Loero.

Carbon monoxide poisoning is the most common type of accidental poisoning nationwide, contributing to 40,000 emergency room visits annually in the United States. Each year, the odorless gas is responsible for about 500 accidental deaths and is used in about 2,000 suicides, according to government figures.

[Last modified August 28, 2006, 01:53:24]

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