Iowa family suffocated in Mexican resort when gas leaked from rusted water heater: Authorities

A rusted water heater is reportedly to blame the tragic deaths of an Iowa couple and their children who died while on vacation in Tulum, Mexico last month.

Mexican police told the Des Moines Register that an appliance in use at the vacation rental home where the Sharp family spent spring break had rusted due to the climate, leading to death by asphyxiation for all four members inside.

As CrimeOnline reported last month, reports found that Kevin Wayne Sharp, Amy Marie Sharp and their two children, 12-year-old Sterling and 7-year-old Adrianna, had inhaled an unknown toxic substance. At that time, authorities indicated that foul play did not appear to be a factor in the deaths.

They were found early on the morning of March 23 on the top floor of a high-end vacation rental property. Investigators were soon on the scene in protective suits to search the condominium.

Christopher Martinez of the Fiscalia General Office in Tulum is heading the investigation and revealed the suspected cause of the propane leak in an interview this week.

“There was a leak, and it was coming right from the laundry room,” he said, as interpreted from Spanish. “The laundry room had no ventilation whatsoever.”

As KCCI reported, an autopsy showed the family members had inhaled a toxic level of propane.

Martinez explained that the Delta brand water heater was found to be the source of the leak. The appliance was reportedly purchased in 2012 and had been under warranty until last year.

The investigator said police obtained a comparable model and were able to determine the water heater at the scene of the Sharp family’s death had been compromised by rust corrosion.

According to local officials, the Caribbean climate frequently causes such damage.

[Featured image: Sharp family/Facebook]