Family of 4 Found Dead in Arizona Cabin After ‘Significant Failure’ of Heating Unit.
Investigators discovered a “significant failure” in the heating system of a cabin where an El Mirage family died of apparent carbon-monoxide poisoning, the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday evening.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Sheriff’s Office said the four family members likely died several days prior to being found in the Flagstaff-area cabin on New Year’s Day.
A contractor retained by the Sheriff’s Office discovered a failure in the heat system that “would be consistent with carbon monoxide overcoming the residence,” officials said in a statement.
The heating unit was the only gas appliance in the home, officials said in the statement released Tuesday.
The Sheriff’s Office believes the family arrived at the cabin in Parks on Friday night and may have died by Saturday morning, said spokesman Jon Paxton.
The victims were identified by the Sheriff’s Office as Anthony and Megan Capitano, both 32, and their children, Lincoln, 4, and Kingsli, 3. The family was found in the bedroom areas, Paxton said.
Although carbon monoxide is suspected, it has not yet been confirmed, Paxton said.
The Coconino County medical examiner is investigating what caused the deaths, he said.
The owner of the cabin was a family friend, Paxton said, and the Capitanos had wanted to use it while the owner was out of town. The Sheriff’s Office had been trying to contact that individual but had so far been unsuccessful. Paxton said investigators believe the owner was out of the country.
‘They would just do anything for anyone’
Dan Matock, a family friend, said Anthony and Megan met at Apollo High School in Glendale and were the best kind of people.
“He was a very selfless human being, and Megan was a mirror of that,” Matock said. “They would just do anything for anyone at anytime.”
Matock and Anthony Capitano lived together for about two years before Anthony moved to El Mirage. The two met through mutual acquaintances and became instant friends in 2003.
“He had a magnetic personality,” Matock said. “I really learned a lot from Tony and Megan. Tony was a leader by example. The example was: you get up early every day and happily go to work for your family.”
Anthony Capitano worked at Discount Tire. Matock said anytime his family needed help in the tire department, Tony would treat them like VIPs.
Matock said Anthony Capitano had a son from a previous marriage who lives in Texas with his mother.
Friend’s call led to discovery
Paxton said he didn’t know if the cabin was the owner’s primary residence.
The Sheriff’s Office said it received a call from a worried friend of the Capitano family about 12:30 p.m. Monday. A sheriff’s deputy went to the cabin and saw a vehicle matching the description of the family’s car, officials said. As the deputy neared the cabin, he reported smelling gas coming from inside. Carbon monoxide is odorless.
At about 1:45 p.m., Ponderosa Fire Department officials arrived with protective breathing equipment and found the family inside.
Paxton said although the deaths remain under investigation, they are considered accidental.
Parks is about halfway between Flagstaff and Williams, off Interstate 40.