8 Deaths in Princess Anne Home Bring Scrutiny of Carbon Monoxide - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

8 Deaths in Princess Anne Home Bring Scrutiny of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Posted: Updated:
The Princess Anne home where Rodney Todd and his seven children were found dead Monday from carbon monoxide poisoning. (Photo: WBOC) The Princess Anne home where Rodney Todd and his seven children were found dead Monday from carbon monoxide poisoning. (Photo: WBOC)

PRINCESS ANNE, Md. (AP/WBOC)- Utility regulators and police are trying to determine what could have been done to prevent the deaths of a man and his seven children who died of carbon monoxide poisoning from a generator installed after their Princess Anne home's power had been disconnected.

Officials from Maryland's public utility regulator say they are looking into what happened, while Princess Anne police have subpoenaed the Delmarva Power company to document exactly what steps it took and when.

Delmarva Power officials said they encourage residents who are having trouble paying their bills to contact them, but that Rodney Todd had not done so.

Todd, 36, and his children were poisoned in their sleep only days after the power company discovered a stolen meter and cut off electricity to their rental home on Antioch Avenue, police said. Delmarva Power said it cut off power for safety reasons on March 25, not because the family was behind on its bills, as family members previously had said.

With the power out, Todd had bought the generator and put it in his kitchen to keep his two sons and five daughters warm. Friends and relatives last saw them alive March 28.

"Probably it was bedtime and they decided they needed some light and probably some heat, because toward the end of March even though it was spring we were having some pretty chilly nights," Princess Anne police Chief Scott Keller said.

Princess Anne police found their bodies Monday inside the one-story, wood-frame home after school workers, friends and the father's co-workers knocked on the door with no answer.

"I'm just numb. Like it's a nightmare but it's not," the children's mother, Tyisha Luneice Chambers, told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "If I had known he was without electricity, I would have helped."

She said relatives would meet Wednesday to plan their funerals.

Why Todd had a generator running indoors wasn't clear. The chief speculated that if it had been outside, the noise would have bothered neighbors. He ruled out foul play.

Matt Likovich, a spokesman for Delmarva Power, said the utility was not contacted after the illegal meter was removed. "We had no record of who was living there," Likovich said. "There was no way to determine what their situation was."

Likovich said customers are encouraged to contact the utility if they are having difficulty paying their bill. He said there are options for such customers, including partnerships with social service agencies. But, he said, the customers "have to contact us."

Todd had received assistance with utility bills in the past but did not apply for help this year, said Tom VanLandingham, who directs the Office of Home Energy Programs in Somerset County.

Although Todd received some welfare money, it wasn't enough to pay the bills, his close friend Sarah Hardy said.

"How can a man survive off of basically minimum wage with seven kids, and you can't help him with a utility bill?" Hardy said. "This man was working. And Delmarva Power cuts the lights off?"

Later Tuesday, the utility revealed that the rental home never had legal power while the Todds lived there. The utility said the electricity had been disconnected in October when the previous tenants moved out, and there was no request to reconnect it after the family moved there in November.

"Through the use of smart meter technology, Delmarva Power discovered a stolen electric meter was being used at the home on March 25, 2015. Delmarva Power disconnected the illegally connected meter for safety reasons and to comply with standard protocol. Delmarva Power did not disconnect electric service at this address for nonpayment," its statement said.

Bonnie Edwards said her grandsons, Cameron and ZhiHeem, were 13 and 7, and her granddaughters, Tyjuziana, Tykeria, Tynijuzia, TyNiah and Tybreyia, were 15, 12, 10, 9 and 6, respectively. Todd did all he could to stretch his money for their care, she said.

"All he was trying to do was to keep his kids warm," she said.

Todd retained full custody when their divorce was finalized last September, and his ex-wife said he never harmed the children. But Chambers said he stabbed her in the face and served 16 months in prison for assaulting her.

Chambers also said she had been the primary breadwinner when they were together and kept paying child support until losing track of them in Todd's last move.

"I was working 12-16 hours as a manager at McDonald's, the overnight shift. He was home cooking and cleaning, and I was the working mom," she said.

Hardy said there is more to that story.

"She abandoned him and the family," Hardy said. "He took his seven kids ... and raised them on his own."

  • Delmarvawide NewsDelmarvawide NewsMore>>

  • Virginia State Police Mourn the Loss of Special Agent

    Virginia State Police Mourn the Loss of Special Agent

    Saturday, May 27 2017 9:58 PM EDT2017-05-28 01:58:12 GMT
    Saturday, May 27 2017 9:58 PM EDT2017-05-28 01:58:12 GMT
    Special Agent Michael T. Walter, 45Special Agent Michael T. Walter, 45

    RICHMOND, Va. -- Virginia State Police are mourning the loss of an officer shot following a traffic stop Friday night. 

    More

    RICHMOND, Va. -- Virginia State Police are mourning the loss of an officer shot following a traffic stop Friday night. 

    More
  • Dover Leaders Say High-Crime Areas Will be Saturated With Police

    Dover Leaders Say High-Crime Areas Will be Saturated With Police

    Friday, May 26 2017 8:40 PM EDT2017-05-27 00:40:44 GMT
    Friday, May 26 2017 11:23 PM EDT2017-05-27 03:23:35 GMT

    DOVER, Del. -- After a number of shooting incidents in recent weeks, Dover's mayor and police chief on Friday announced officers will be focusing their efforts in high-crime areas in the city. Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen said the effort comes after the city has seen more than 20 shooting incidents in 2017 and at a time when the summer is fast approaching and children and teenagers will be leaving school. "We are not going to ease up on the people that are using our city to c...

    More

    DOVER, Del. -- After a number of shooting incidents in recent weeks, Dover's mayor and police chief on Friday announced officers will be focusing their efforts in high-crime areas in the city. Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen said the effort comes after the city has seen more than 20 shooting incidents in 2017 and at a time when the summer is fast approaching and children and teenagers will be leaving school. "We are not going to ease up on the people that are using our city to c...

    More
  • OC Business Owner Fined for Selling Out-of-State Cigarettes

    OC Business Owner Fined for Selling Out-of-State Cigarettes

    Friday, May 26 2017 4:10 PM EDT2017-05-26 20:10:08 GMT
    Friday, May 26 2017 11:22 PM EDT2017-05-27 03:22:32 GMT

    Ocean City Police  uncovered a cigarette smuggling scheme that resulted in the criminal citation of a local businessman for violating Maryland tax regulations. 

    More

    Ocean City Police  uncovered a cigarette smuggling scheme that resulted in the criminal citation of a local businessman for violating Maryland tax regulations. 

    More
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Virginia State Police Mourn the Loss of Special Agent

    Virginia State Police Mourn the Loss of Special Agent

    Saturday, May 27 2017 9:58 PM EDT2017-05-28 01:58:12 GMT
    Saturday, May 27 2017 9:58 PM EDT2017-05-28 01:58:12 GMT
    Special Agent Michael T. Walter, 45Special Agent Michael T. Walter, 45

    RICHMOND, Va. -- Virginia State Police are mourning the loss of an officer shot following a traffic stop Friday night. 

    More

    RICHMOND, Va. -- Virginia State Police are mourning the loss of an officer shot following a traffic stop Friday night. 

    More
  • Man Found Guilty of Assault After Punching Correctional Officer

    Man Found Guilty of Assault After Punching Correctional Officer

    Friday, May 26 2017 7:57 PM EDT2017-05-26 23:57:58 GMT
    Friday, May 26 2017 11:21 PM EDT2017-05-27 03:21:36 GMT
    Eric Dolby was already serving a life sentence for burning a man alive.Eric Dolby was already serving a life sentence for burning a man alive.

    A 27-year-old Wilmington man, already serving a life sentence for the 2008 murder of a Dover man, has been convicted by a superior court jury of assault in a detention facility. 

    More

    A 27-year-old Wilmington man, already serving a life sentence for the 2008 murder of a Dover man, has been convicted by a superior court jury of assault in a detention facility. 

    More
  • Dover Leaders Say High-Crime Areas Will be Saturated With Police

    Dover Leaders Say High-Crime Areas Will be Saturated With Police

    Friday, May 26 2017 8:40 PM EDT2017-05-27 00:40:44 GMT
    Friday, May 26 2017 11:23 PM EDT2017-05-27 03:23:35 GMT

    DOVER, Del. -- After a number of shooting incidents in recent weeks, Dover's mayor and police chief on Friday announced officers will be focusing their efforts in high-crime areas in the city. Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen said the effort comes after the city has seen more than 20 shooting incidents in 2017 and at a time when the summer is fast approaching and children and teenagers will be leaving school. "We are not going to ease up on the people that are using our city to c...

    More

    DOVER, Del. -- After a number of shooting incidents in recent weeks, Dover's mayor and police chief on Friday announced officers will be focusing their efforts in high-crime areas in the city. Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen said the effort comes after the city has seen more than 20 shooting incidents in 2017 and at a time when the summer is fast approaching and children and teenagers will be leaving school. "We are not going to ease up on the people that are using our city to c...

    More
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2017 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices