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Marijuana grow operation blamed for Rhode Island mom’s carbon monoxide death

by Ellen Killoran

Three children are still recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning

A Smithfield, Rhode Island, mother of three died this week after she and her three children suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Kristen Latour and her children, ages 7, 9, and 11, were found unconscious inside their home on February 15 by Latour’s husband. According to WPRI, the husband had been working in the garage when he entered the home to find his family unconscious. They were all transported to a hospital but while the children have reportedly been gradually improving, Latour, 47, died on February 20.

An initial investigation found that a blocked heating system flue had forced to carbon monoxide back into the home, where there were no functional carbon monoxide or smoke detectors. But further findings point to a legal marijuana grow operation at the home for causing the blockage.

According to WJAR-TV, the Latours had a permit to grow marijuana, but had drilled a hole in the garage to run a garden hose to their marijuana plants. Building inspectors told the news station that the unauthorized alteration to the garage, combined with fans meant to mitigate the plants’ odor, created a draft that ultimately caused the exhaust from the home’s heating system to block the chimney, trapping the poisonous gas inside the home.

Smithfield police are reportedly considering filing charges.

Ellen is a seasoned journalist and former media & entertainment reporter with a taste for true crime. Formerly a senior editor at IBTimes, her work has appeared in Forbes, Rolling Stone, Maxim, NYMag, Indiewire, and more. She co-produced the HBO documentary "Youth Knows No Pain" and appeared in a documentary series that aired alongside the Lifetime movie "Manson's Lost Girls."