An 11-year-old Rock Hill boy died in a Boone motel over the weekend, just two months after a couple died mysteriously in the same room.
Police said Jeffrey Lee Williams, 11, was found dead in his room at the Best Western Plus Blue Ridge Plaza. His mother, Jeannie Williams, 49, was listed in critical condition at a Boone hospital Saturday night, but her condition was not known Sunday.
On Sunday afternoon, police said there was no danger to the general public. “The investigation and testing is ongoing,” Sgt. Shane Robbins said in a news release, adding he didn’t expect additional information to be released until Tuesday at the earliest.
Police did not identify the couple, but a Washington state man said his elderly parents died in the same hotel on April 16, and he said he believes that something in the room may have contributed to their deaths. He said he was outraged that the room continued to be rented before the toxicology reports on his parents were returned.
“Do you know how mad I am right now?” asked Doug Jenkins. “Why are they still renting out this room?”
Representatives of the motel could not be reached late Sunday. Throughout the day, calls were being forwarded to the Country Inn and Suites, which shares the same parking lot as the Best Western.
Emergency responders were called to the motel, at 840 E. King St., around 12:30 p.m. Saturday, after getting reports of a medical emergency involving two people, officials said.
The boy was pronounced dead at the motel, and his mother was taken to Watauga Medical Center by ambulance for treatment.
The Williams family’s pastor, Scott Davis of Northside Baptist Church in Rock Hill, said on Saturday that the pair were on a family vacation. Relatives are devastated, he said.
Davis could not be reached on Sunday.
Authorities said they were exploring the possibility that Jeffrey Williams’ death could be linked to the deaths of Jenkins’ parents. Robbins says detectives are testing possible evidence related to the dead boy as well as features of the room.
“While no evidence has been discovered that these incidents are related, investigators continue to explore all possibilities,” Robbins said in a statement on Saturday.
Start of vacation
Daryl Dean Jenkins, 73, and Shirley Mae Jenkins, 72, both of Longview, Wash., died within hours of each other April 16 in hotel room No. 225.
Doug Jenkins said his parents were visiting Boone at the beginning of what was to be a three-week vacation, with the entire family planning to meet in Las Vegas near the end.
He last communicated with his parents around 7:48 p.m.
His parents had said they felt a little chilly when getting off the elevator, Jenkins said. His sister sent a message to their parents around 11:40 p.m., but the message was never read, he said.
His aunt and uncle, who were traveling with his parents, found the pair in a position that would suggest they hadn’t died from a sudden medical condition, he said, although he declined to elaborate.
“They were two healthy people who died within 2 feet of each other. Mom had her cellphone 2 feet away from her,” he said. “Things just don’t add up.”
Doug Jenkins said the family is waiting on the results of the couple’s toxicology reports to come back before filing a lawsuit against the hotel, although they are already working with a lawyer.
The autopsy report proved inconclusive, he said.
About a month after his parents’ deaths, Jenkins said a lawyer representing the family had told the motel not to make any changes to the room before the family could perform an independent investigation.
Jenkins said his family is distraught that another family is going through the kind of pain they experienced.
Observer reporters Cleve Wootson and Caroline McMillan contributed
Arriero: 704-804-2637; On Twitter: @earriero
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