2 Adults, 2 Children Found Dead in Merrillville, Ind. Home

Police chief says family members may have died Saturday

Four family members just moving into their new home in Merrillville, Ind., were found dead Wednesday night, the victims of apparent carbon monoxide poisoning.

Officials said the family had just moved to the suburb from Chicago and didn't yet have the power on in their new home.

A gas generator found in the garage, with numerous electronic devices connected to it, is believed to have caused the deaths.

The bodies of Micheal Nichols, 41, Kennetha Purnell, 38, Matthew Nichols, 13, and Morgan Nichols, 11, were discovered inside the house, officials from the Lake County coroner's office said in a statement.

"Saturday was the last day my wife saw them. The van has been there in the driveway," said neighbor Michael Davenport. "We are devasted. We spent last night praying for the family. It's something you don't want to see."

Merrillville Police Chief Joseph Petruch said the family members may have died Saturday but were not discovered until Wednesday night after a well-being check prompted by a family member.

"To lose them, it's disgusting," said Kenneth Purnell, father of Kennetha Purnell. "To lose them is a big thing. I just couldn't believe it."

The family is convinced this was a horrible accident.

"Can't explain it, no one can," Kenneth Purnell said.

Neighbors said generators are commonly kept in homes in the area because the power goes out frequently.

"We are always without power out here. There are so many trees that knock down the power, and it takes time to get back up, so they use generators for electricity," explained neighbor Janet Yaros.

An official cause of death was pending Thursday morning.

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