Mexican official says gas leak from water heater is suspected in deaths of 4 from Creston, Iowa

A prosecutor in Mexico says a gas leak in a water heater is suspected in the deaths of a family of four from Creston, Iowa.

The head prosecutor of the Caribbean coast state of Quintana Roo told local news media Monday that the water heater “was leaking gas, maybe from use or lack of maintenance.”

Miguel Angel Pech told the Radio Formula station that “a high level” of gas was found in the rented condo where the couple was staying.

Autopsies indicate the family died from inhaling toxic gas in the resort of Tulum, but the source hadn’t been determined.

Kevin and Amy Sharp and their two children, 12-year-old Sterling and 7-year-old Adrianna, were found dead in the condo they had rented at a resort near Akumal, which is down the Caribbean coast from Cancún.

The family had been scheduled to return to the U.S. on Wednesday, and their relatives reported them missing early Friday morning.

Photos released by Mexican officials show authorities checking the oven and other areas of the condo rented by the family.

The Yucatan Times reported that the family’s bodies were found in a condominium unit at Bahía Príncipe,in Tulum. The two children were in the living room and the adults were in one of the bedrooms.

The family had been dead for up to two days when they were found at 3 a.m. Friday. The bodies were taken to a morgue in Playa del Carmen pending the arrival of family members.

A candlelight vigil was held in the family’s memory Saturday night at the Adams County Speedway in Corning, Iowa, where Kevin Sharp was a popular race car driver. More than 300 people attended, according to the Creston News Advertiser.

World-Herald staff writer Nancy Gaarder contributed to this report, which includes material from the Associated Press.

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