On Thursday, December 20, 2018, the Siskiyou County Sheriffs’ Office (SCSO) convened a forensic autopsy to help investigators determine the cause and manner of death in the case of two Dorris area residents found deceased in a trailer in a remote area of Siskiyou County outside of Dorris, California.

The cause of death was linked to carbon monoxide poisoning and the manner of death was classified as accidental.

On Wednesday, December 19, 2018, at about 9:28 p.m., the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) responded to a call of two people found deceased in a trailer on Big Stump Road near Mud Lake (in vicinity of Lakeridge Drive and Lakeview Drive), in the Dorris area. A neighbor reportedly found the adult man and woman deceased and notified SCSO authorities. Sheriff’s deputies found a deceased male adult and a female adult decedent in the trailer. Both of the decedents had identification with addresses outside of the county.

There was no evidence of foul play or criminal activity at the home, except it appears the decedents were on property where an illegal marijuana cultivation site was operational, according to investigators. The decedents had ties outside of Siskiyou County. One decedent previously resided in Mexico and the other decedent previously resided in Tehama County. The decedents’ names will not be released until they have been positively identified and their next-of-kin have been notified. Investigators have made progress identifying the decedents and expect to release their names within the next few days.

​​The source of the carbon monoxide is suspected to be from a wood stove and another heater located in the trailer home occupied by the victims. The autopsy results indicated high levels of carbon monoxide (CO) in the systems of the victims.

​​According to Sheriff Lopey, “I want to take this opportunity to remind our citizens that the alarming number of accidental deaths attributed to carbon monoxide poisoning (CO) in recent years is a serious concern. It is important to realize that this time of the year we sometimes see an increase in these types of human tragedies due to freezing temperatures and the unsafe use of heating devices. CO deaths are preventable and are normally caused by the improper or careless use of potentially hazardous heating devices that often emit harmful CO fumes, especially in enclosed areas without proper ventilation. It is equally important to remember that CO is very difficult to detect because it is an odorless, colorless, and tasteless gas. It is slightly less dense than air and CO can cause disabling and sometimes fatal injuries.”

​​Carbon monoxide poisoning can strike without warning and can kill or injure people and pets. CO claims the lives of hundreds of people every year and makes thousands more ill in our nation. Many household items can create deadly CO fumes, including gas and oil-burning furnaces, portable generators, charcoal grills, lanterns, unvented or sub serviced wood burning stoves, and similar heating devices. The following tips can help prevent the needless injuries and deaths caused by CO in our communities:

• Ensure your heating system, water heater, and any other gas, oil, or coal burning appliances are serviced by a qualified technician once a year.
• It is highly recommended that battery-operated or battery back-up CO detectors be installed in your home and check or replace the battery when you change your clocks each spring and fall.
• If the CO detector sounds, leave your home immediately and call 9-1-1.
• Seek medical attention if you suspect CO poisoning. Symptoms include a dizzy, light-headed, and/or a nauseated feeling.
• Never use a generator, charcoal grill, camp stove, or other gasoline or charcoal-burning device inside your home, basement, and garage or near a window of any structure you occupy.
• Don’t run a car or truck inside a garage attached to your house, even if you leave the garage door open.
• Don’t burn anything in a stove or fireplace that isn’t vented.
• Don’t heat your house with a gas oven.
• If you use a generator near your home, ensure it is located at least 20 feet away from your home, doors, and windows.
• Carbon monoxide can’t be seen, can’t be smelled, can’t be heard, BUT CAN BE STOPPED by following some of the suggestions mentioned in this news release.”
Questions about the dangers associated with CO should be referred to your local law enforcement agency, fire department, or, if in a county area or one of SCSO’s contract cities (Dorris, Montague, Fort Jones, and Dunsmuir), by calling the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office at (530) 842-8300, unless it is an emergency, which should prompt a call to “9-1-1.” The 24-hour SCSO Dispatch Center may also be contacted at (530) 841-2900.”

Press Release by Siskiyou County Sheriffs’ Office

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