Three women found dead in car near Squaw
December 16, 2008
SQUAW VALLEY “-A Squaw Valley security guard found three young women dead Tuesday afternoon in a parking lot near the resort.
According to Lt. Allan Carter of the Placer County Sheriff’s Office, Lacey Louann Sutton, 22, of Marysville, Sara Alice McCullah, 21, of Marysville, and a 17-year-old juvenile female from Loma Rica appeared to have died from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning.
“I believe they are employees of the resort,” Lt. Carter said.
According to Carter, the preliminary investigation indicated the women had been sleeping in the car overnight. When snow from Monday’s heavy storm blocked the vehicle’s tailpipe, it caused carbon monoxide to enter the passenger compartment of the car.
Forensic autopsies will be performed by the Placer County Coroner’s office to determine the exact cause of death. There is no indications of foul play or drug use, Lt. Carter said.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 500 carbon monoxide deaths occur annually with increases during winter.
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Carbon monoxide has no taste, odor or color and, therefore, goes undetected.
When the end of the exhaust pipe is obstructed by snow, carbon monoxide can leak from cracks in the exhaust system, through the floorboard of the vehicle potentially resulting in death from inhalation.
The Sheriff’s Office warned travelers to snow country that they should never sleep in their vehicle with the engine running.