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Water heater blamed in family’s death in Akumal condo

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State attorney Miguel Angel Pech said “all the indications” suggest a water heater was the source of a gas leak that killed an Iowa family of four. Photo: Fiscalia General QR/Twitter


Akumal, Q. Roo —  Gas fumes leaking from a water heater is thought to be behind the death of an entire Iowa family vacationing on the Caribbean.

Kevin Wayne Sharp, 41; Amy Marie Sharp, 38; and their children, Sterling Wayne Sharp, 12; and Adrianna Marie Sharp, 7; were found dead in their condo with no signs of violence.

“All the indications are that a gas leak was the cause of the death of four members of a family in Bahia Principe de Tulum, Quintana Roo, and installations are already being investigated to determine what happened and who is responsible,” said state attorney Miguel Angel Pech.

Pech said a “high concentration” of toxic gas was found in the room.

Quintana Roo director of civil protection Adrian Martinez told the Des Moines Register the condominium complied with all regulations, but Pech said the water heater was possibly not maintained properly.

Five people were evacuated from rooms around the apartment.

The vacationers were dead for 36 to 48 hours before their bodies were discovered on Friday.

Forensic samples were sent to labs in Mexico City for further study, said Pech.

Relatives of the family are waiting to finalize funeral arrangements until their bodies are returned to the United States.

The Sharps left the United States for Cancun on March 14, then rented a car and drove toward Tulum, according to Amy Sharp’s sister, Renee Hoyt, who spoke with the Creston News Advertiser.

The condo the family rented was at a beachfront community in Akumal called Tao.

Tao in 2013 sold the condo to an unnamed private owner, who is responsible for its maintenance, said the developer’s head operations officer in a statement to The Washington Post.

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