Police investigate serial deaths in same US hotel room

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Police are investigating the weekend death of an 11-year-old boy in the same North Carolina hotel room where an elderly couple died two months ago, local news media reported.

Jeffrey Lee Williams of Rock Hill, South Carolina was found dead in room 225 of the Best Western Plus Blue Ridge Plaza in Boone on Saturday, while his mother Jeannie Williams, 49, was rushed to hospital in critical condition.

It was the same room in which vacationers Daryl Dean Jenkins, 73, and Shirley Mae Jenkins, 72, from Washington state, died within hours of each other April 16, the Charlotte News and Observer reported.

"Do you know how mad I am right now?" their son Doug Jenkins, who is considering legal action against the hotel, told the newspaper. "Why are they still renting out this room?" The office of North Carolina's chief medical examiner told AFP that autopsy reports for all three deaths are pending.

But Charlotte television station WCNC reported on Monday that carbon monoxide had been found in the room, which it said is situated directly above a natural gas heater used to heat the hotel's swimming pool.

"While no evidence has been discovered that these incidents are related, investigators continue to explore all possibilities," the Boone Police Department said earlier in a press release.

The Blue Ridge Plaza, with 73 non-smoking rooms from US$79 (S$99) a night as well as eight suites, offers views over the Blue Ridge Mountains. It is part of the worldwide Best Western chain of 4,000-plus independently owned hotels.

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