Outdoor heater may have poisoned couple: police

The Taumarunui couple found dead yesterday may have died of carbon monoxide poisoning, say police.
The Taumarunui couple found dead yesterday may have died of carbon monoxide poisoning, say police.

Police say an outdoor patio heater in a bedroom may have been the cause of two deaths in Taumarunui yesterday.

David Nicholas Otimi, 43, and Bernadette Otimi, 41, were found by their children in their home in Taupo Road about 8.45am, police spokeswoman Kim Perks said.

The couple - who had three children under 13 - were in a bedroom which also contained an outdoor gas heater.

Post mortem examinations on the pair were carried out this morning, but the finding is going to be subject to further toxicology tests which may take some time, but at this stage the most probable cause of death is suspected carbon monoxide poisoning.

Detective Senior Sergeant Keith Borrell said: "It is for the Coroner to make a formal finding once all of the medical evidence is available to him.

"However early indications are that this couple have died as a result of a tragic accident.

"I would like to take the opportunity to raise people awareness of the
dangers of having outdoor equipment such as gas patio heaters and gas
barbecues inside the home, as it may well turn out that such equipment caused this tragedy. These products are designed for outdoor use only."

The deaths are not being treated as suspicious and are believed to be
accidental.

- NZ HERALD STAFF

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