Criminal Probe Into Boone Best Western CO Deaths Concluding, DA’s Office Meets With Investigators

Published Thursday, November 7, 2013 at 2:34 pm

By Jesse Wood

Nov. 7, 2013. District Attorney Jerry Wilson and Chief Prosecutor Britt Springer met with Boone’s Planning and Inspections department, Boone Police Chief Dana Crawford and investigators Andy LeBeau and Chris Hatten yesterday to ask for more information in regards to the tragedies in Room 225 of the Best Western Hotel earlier this year.

“We asked for additional information on top of the already impressive amount of work the police department had put on the case,” Springer wrote in an email. “The information may take a few weeks to complete but we are nearing the finish line on this terribly heartbreaking case.” 

In early June, Boone Fire Chief Jimmy Isaacs (left) looks on as Boone Police Chief Dana Crawford reads a prepared statement about the deficient exhaust system for the pool’s water heater. Photo by Jesse Wood

In early June, Boone Fire Chief Jimmy Isaacs (left) looks on as Boone Police Chief Dana Crawford reads a prepared statement about the deficient exhaust system for the pool’s water heater. Photo by Jesse Wood

Once the investigators retrieve the additional, requested information, the Boone Police Department will officially present the case to the District Attorney’s Office, after which the District Attorney’s Office will decide on whether or not to file criminal charges, according to Springer.

Capt. Andy LeBeau confirmed the meeting and noted that the investigation is coming to close. LeBeau said he was hopeful that the police department’s end of the investigation would be completed in two weeks.

“It’s concluding. We still have a handful of things to do still, but it’s coming to a close,” LeBeau said on Thursday morning.

Asked to be more specific, LeBeau said, “No, I really can’t. I don’t want the media to tell certain people we are coming to interview them.”

LeBeau added that it wasn’t the police department’s “position” to determine whether or not criminal conduct has occurred; that would be for the District Attorney’s Office.

Springer commended the job that the Boone Police Department has done so far investigating the tragedy.

“I want to take this opportunity to say what an outstanding job the Boone Police Department has done on this investigation. I have been impressed with the thoroughness and the willingness to investigate all avenues available to them,” Springer said, adding that the DA’s office will send out a release once it has had the chance to review the final report.

While little details of the investigation have been released, local, state and federal investigators confirmed that a deficient exhaust system for the pool water heater at the Best Western in Boone led to the deaths of three lodgers who stayed in Room 225 earlier this year.

Room 225 is situated above the pool’s mechanical room that houses the water heater. 

The hotel closed down in June following the death of Jeffrey Williams, 11, of Rock Hill, S.C., who stayed in Room 225. His death led to the discovery that Daryl and Shirley Jenkins, both of Longview, Wash., and both in their early 70’s, also died of carbon monoxide poisoning in Room 225 on April 16.

The hotel reopened in July, while the pool area and Room 225 remain closed to the public. 

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