The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


May 5, 2014

Carbon monoxide kills five in cabin

ELIMSPORT — A woman is imploring people to be more careful of carbon monoxide after five guests at her family’s cabin died as a result of accidental monoxide poisoning.

Two adults and three children were found dead Saturday in the small cabin, located near the property of Janice Miller, of 405 Gap Road in Washington Township, Lycoming County.

The deceased are Jacqueline Stackhouse, 23, of New Columbia, and her 3-year old son; Nathan Reece, 30, of Muncy, and two girls, ages 4 and 9.

State police at Montoursville ruled the cause of death to be carbon monoxide poisoning and said the deaths are not suspicious.

All of the people at the cabin were friends of family members, Miller said. Her son had been with the guests Friday night at a party and later fell asleep in his truck. “Otherwise, he’d be in there too,” she said Sunday. Her son was the one who found the bodies Saturday morning.

The cabin is owned by Miller’s father. Miller declined to give the names of her son and father.

Miller was clear that she wasn’t blaming anybody in the deaths. However, it was an accident that could have been prevented.

“It was such a simple thing, and it wouldn’t have happened,” she said. “A simple crack of the window, and they would have been fine.”

The guests “were all alive at 5 a.m.,” when they turned on the propane heater in the cabin, Miller said.

She said she was grateful for the volunteers who responded to the scene, saying they “arrived in seconds” after the call was placed at about 10 a.m. “They’re excellent, they train constantly.”

She also was thankful that they helped reassure her son after the five were found dead. They told him they went peacefully in their sleep, Miller said.

She declined to further discuss how her son was taking the news, only saying that he and Stackhouse had been friends since they were in school.

Of the people at the cabin, Miller only personally knew Stackhouse and her son.

“It’s breaking me up,” she said. “He was a sweet little boy.”

Guests usually stay over at the cabin, Miller said. “We go down there frequently all summer long.”

After Saturday’s tragedy, though, Miller’s family already has sold the cabin to a nearby Amish family.

“We don’t even want anything in it. … None of us want to go down to it,” she said.

A story from The Associated Press said the mother of the two girls in the cabin had left with another woman at about 5 a.m. Police said they do not believe there is evidence to support charges against the mother, whose name was not released.

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