By Jesse Wood
June 11, 2013. Following the three deaths due to carbon monoxide in Room 225 of the Best Western in Boone during the past three months, the local owners have hired Paul Culpepper, a partner with the Hickory-based law firm Young, Morphis, Bach & Taylor.
Reached for comment on Tuesday, Culpepper released a written statement: “The health and safety of guests who stay at our hotel is our number one priority. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of those involved. We are cooperating fully with authorities who are investigating this truly tragic incident.”
The statement continued, “The hotel will remain closed as we work closely with authorities to address any issues identified and authorities declare the hotel cleared for occupancy. We respectfully ask that any further questions be directed to the Boone Police Department or other governmental agencies that are investigating the matter.”
The property is owned by AJD Investments, according to tax maps recorded with the Watauga County Register of Deeds, and before he died in January, Ashok Patel owned, along with several other local hotels, the Best Western in Boone.
The manager at the Best Western has declined to comment since Jeffrey Williams, an 11-year-old boy, passed away in the hotel on Saturday, and representatives with AJD Investments have been unreachable since that tragic day as well.
Last Sunday, Doug Jenkins, the son of Shirley and Daryl Jenkins of Longview, Wash., the couple who passed away in April 16 in the same room as Williams, was outraged that the hotel continued to rent out the room and expressed an intent to file a lawsuit after an analysis of toxicological results from the N.C. Office of Chief Medical Examiner were released, according to the Charlotte Observer.
Those results were finally released yesterday – nearly two months after the couple died.
Boone Police Chief Dana Crawford, at a press conference on Monday, announced that the cause of death in all three cases was carbon monoxide toxicity.