A divorced father and the seven children he was trying to raise on a kitchen worker’s salary were poisoned in their sleep by carbon monoxide only days after the power company discovered a stolen meter and cut off electricity to their rental home in Princess Anne, Maryland, police said Tuesday.
Delmarva Power said it did not cut off the family’s electricity because they were behind on their bills, but for safety reasons after discovering the illegal connection March 25.
Rodney Todd, 36, then bought a gas-powered generator and installed it in his kitchen to keep his two sons and five daughters warm. Friends and relatives last saw them alive March 28.
“The children were all in beds, and it appears as though they were sleeping,” Princess Anne police Chief Scott Keller said. “Probably it was bedtime and they decided they needed some light and probably some heat, because toward the end of March even though it was spring we were having some pretty chilly nights.”
Police found their bodies Monday inside the one-story wood-frame home on Maryland’s Eastern Shore after school workers, friends and Todd’s co-workers knocked on the door with no answer.
“I’m just numb. Like it’s a nightmare but it’s not,” the children’s mother, Tyisha Luneice Chambers, told The Associated Press on Tuesday. “If I had known he was without electricity, I would have helped.”
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Princess Anne county