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2 stepbrothers died in Richfield CO poisoning, sheriff says

By Alex Cabrero and Sandra Yi | Posted - May 10th, 2014 @ 10:31pm


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RICHFIELD — Joey Julander, 17, and Tyler Utley, 21, were identified Saturday as the two people who died from carbon monoxide poisoning inside a Sevier County home Friday night.

The stepbrothers were found dead in their home, near 200 South and 400 West, by their father, according to Richfield Police Chief John Evans.

"They went to bed about 11 p.m. Thursday. The father left for work at 6 a.m. the next day and found them when he got home at 7:20 p.m," Evans said.

Vannesa Batistic, 19, and Kennedee Starr, 14, were visiting the home and also became sickened with the carbon monoxide. Batistic was taken to Utah Valley Medical Center in Provo, where she is listed in serious condition, Evans said; Starr was hospitalized in Richfield and was expected to be released Saturday.

Investigators say the teens were using a generator to keep warm. For financial reasons, the power had been turned off earlier in the week.

"The family has been struggling a lot financially, lately. I know the dad has been working 12-hour shifts. I believe he was just coming off of a 12-hour shift when he found the boys," said Kevin Kitchen, the family's LDS bishop.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, one generator produces as much carbon monoxide as hundreds of cars and an average of 81 people die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning produced by generators. Brandon Smith, who sells generators at Lowe's, said they should never be used inside a home.

"It pumps out a lot of carbon monoxide compared to vehicles because it's a small engine, so they run 10 times harder than a vehicle would," Smith said.

While it's too late for Julander and Utley, Evan hopes others can learn from the tragedy.

"It's not advised to use a generator in an enclosed area like that," the sheriff said. "If they would've had a carbon monoxide detector, they may have still been alive."

Neighbor Dawn Allred praised the family and said they always treated her well. She recalled the first time she met Utley, just after a snowstorm, when he shoveled her sidewalk.

"It's just a tragic situation," she said of the deaths.

Contributing:Emiley Morgan


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