Carbon Monoxide Blamed for Thanksgiving Day Deaths in Newport

November 28, 2003 - Posted at 8:51 a.m. CDT

NEWPORT, AR - A Thanksgiving Day tragedy has emerged this morning in Jackson County.

Newport police say 81-year-old Jess Elliot and 63-year-old Edna Barnett were each found inside Elliot's home around 1:30 Thursday afternoon, both victims of apparent carbon monoxide poisioning.

Detective Sergeant Donnie Shultz told K8 News that police officers were asked to check on Elliot and Barnett by family members after the two failed to show up for a family gathering at a relative's home.  When officers arrived at the home at 602 Newport Avenue, they gained entry and found Elliot's body in the living room, and Barnett's in a bedroom.  Shultz said the temperature inside the home was a stifling 120 degrees.  A small gas heater "was going full blast, the heat was unbelievable," said Shultz.

The Newport Fire Department was called to the scene, where firefighters did a carbon monoxide check and found the toxin levels to be extremely high.

The victims were pronounced dead by Jackson County Coroner Jimmy Cooper.