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Families of Boone hotel victims respond

The families of the three people who died last year from carbon monoxide poisoning at the Boone Best Western weighed in on the criminal charges filed Wednesday against the owner of the hotel’s management company.

Here are their statements:

The Jenkins Family

“The Jenkins family is pleased to learn that the Watauga County District Attorney will seek criminal accountability for the deaths of Daryl and Shirley Jenkins and Jeffrey Williams. The family has no further comment in light of the pending criminal proceedings.”

The Williams Family

“As the process begins for criminal proceedings, we, as a family, regret that the blatant and glaring hotel safety deficiencies and multiple systems failures were not corrected months before the Jenkins family, and Jeffrey and Jeannie stayed in the Best Western Plus.

This is a very difficult position for our family as we do not want to see any person or persons have to go to prison for an honest mistake. However, in this case, gross negligence and recklessness in the failure to correctly design, install, inspect, maintain, and repair the hotel’s pool heater system, coupled with delays in the initial investigation of Daryl and Shirley Jenkins’ deaths, then a failure to act on information directly caused Jeffrey’s death and Jeannie’s injuries.

At this time, our family is not privy to the information of this case, as it is a legal matter being handled solely by the District Attorney’s office in Boone. The family’s attorney was informed late last week that this matter was to be presented within a matter of days to the Grand Jury.

Any verdict rendered in the criminal case will not bring Jeffrey back and it will not heal Jeannie. However, if this matter is tried, it will hopefully help set a legal precedent that will serve as a staunch reminder for future generations of decision makers in similar cases that the public’s safety is of paramount concern.

As we have said before, our family wishes to discover the truth. We also want to make sure every effort is made to make absolutely certain that no other family has to go through this same needless and absolutely avoidable tragedy.

We will, of course, pay very close attention to the progress of the case and hope in the end the citizens and visitors of Boone, North Carolina are safer because of the process now beginning.”

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