Three found dead in car near Conklin exposed to 'lethal levels' of carbon monoxide: RCMP

Three people found dead in a vehicle near Conklin this month were exposed to lethal levels of carbon monoxide from a faulty exhaust system, say Wood Buffalo RCMP.

Faulty exhaust system allowed deadly gas to enter vehicle through air intake for heater

Tristan Dave-Lawrence, 21, Cade Lavallee, 29, and Tanisha Peterson, 22, were found Jan. 9 inside a parked car off Lagoon Access Road in Conklin. (Submitted)

Three people found dead in a vehicle near Conklin earlier this month were exposed to lethal levels of carbon monoxide from a faulty exhaust system, say Wood Buffalo RCMP.

"The medical examiner was able to confirm over the phone that there were lethal levels of carbon monoxide exposed to those individuals," Cpl. Teri-Ann Deobald told CBC News Monday.

"RCMP members have spoken with the three families now."

On Jan. 9, three people were found unresponsive in a vehicle parked on a lagoon access road near Conklin, 150 kilometres south of Fort McMurray. All three were declared dead at the scene.

Family members identified the victims as Cade Lavallee, 29, Tanisha Peterson, 22, and Tristan Dave-Lawrence, 21. Family members have said they had been told by a medical examiner the deaths were due to carbon monoxide poisoning.

Deobald said Monday a mechanical inspection report on the vehicle is now complete.

"In the report it was determined that there was a faulty exhaust system component which may have caused carbon monoxide to enter the vehicle," she said. "It is unknown whether or not it was existing or if it was a recent occurrence."

Deobald said the system was missing "a bolt and a spring" and that there was a gap between the exhaust system and the vehicle's heater box.

"Unfortunately, that's how it was positioned. And the testing revealed that there was heavy contaminants from the exhaust on that air intake."

Toxicology tests are still being done as part of the police investigation into the cause of death. The medical examiner's office has said it could take several weeks for those reports to be complete, Deobald said.

A faulty exhaust system component was blamed for the deaths of Shaina Ridenour, 16, and her boyfriend Gage Bogart, 17, last month in Drayton Valley.