PRINCESS ANNE, Md. – A single dad and his seven children were found dead in their one-story home, relatives said, and though officials gave no identities or details on the cause of the deaths, the man’s stepfather said he had been trying to keep the family warm with a generator after the power was cut because of an outstanding bill.
Lloyd Edwards told the Associated Press that his stepson, 36-year-old Rodney Todd, had bought the generator after the power was shut off to the home in Princess Anne, about 60 miles southeast of Annapolis on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. He said those who died were Todd and Todd’s two sons and five daughters.
“The carbon monoxide consumed them,” Edwards said.
Authorities would not confirm any information about possible carbon monoxide poisoning, but Princess Anne Police Chief Scott Keller told the AP that there was no foul play and that a generator with no gasoline was found in the kitchen. He confirmed that the electricity to home was turned off and said officers were looking into when that began.
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Lloyd and Bonnie Edwards spoke with an AP reporter outside the one-story wood frame home, identifying themselves as the mother and stepfather of Todd.
A police statement said only that the cause of the deaths remains under investigation, and it identified the victims as an adult and seven children from 6 years old to the teens.
Bonnie Edwards identified the man’s children as boys Cameron, 13, and Zycheim, 7; and girls Tynijuiza, 15; Tykira, 12; Tybree, 10; Tyania, 9; and Tybria, 6.
Matt Likovich, a spokesman for Delmarva Power, would not say Monday night whether the power to the home had been cut off. He said the matter is being investigated.
People hugged each other and looked on somberly outside the home Monday as police officers stood by and investigators went through the house. The home was encircled with yellow police tape, wrapped around some trees in the yard.
“It’s so hard,” the stepfather said.
Police said in a statement that officers went to the home after being contacted by the man’s co-worker, anxious that the man hadn’t been seen in days.
Bonnie Edwards described her son as a loving, caring young man who set an example for his children. “I don’t know anyone his age who would have done what he did” for his children, she said. “I was so proud to say he took care of seven kids.”
Todd was a utility worker at the nearby University of Maryland Eastern Shore, said his supervisor Stephanie Wells.
Wells, who hadn’t seen Todd since March 28, said she went to the house Monday morning and knocked on the door, but no one answered. She then filed a missing person report with police.
“You don’t want attention drawn to your town for something tragic like this,” Keller said. “Maybe people can learn and be safe, I hope.”