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Authorities pinpoint source of carbon monoxide that killed family of 7 in Moorhead

The victims, all members of Hernandez-Pinto family, were found dead in a Moorhead home.

A home furnace is believed to be the source of carbon monoxide that killed seven family members in a Moorhead home last month.

Four adults and three children, all members of the Hernandez-Pinto family, were discovered dead inside the home on the 4400 block of 13th St. S. on the evening of Dec. 18. Investigators quickly ruled out trauma, finding a "lethal level of carbon monoxide toxicity" in the blood of each of the victims. 

But the source of the poisonous gas remained unclear pending further tests, with police identifying two possibilities: The home's furnace or a van located in the garage.

The test results, revealed Monday by the Moorhead Police Department, showed no cyanide — the byproduct of a vehicle's combustion engine — detected in the victims' blood. This, in effect, rules out the van as the source of the carbon monoxide, police said.

Instead, the gas appears to have emanated from the furnace.

"The Moorhead Police Department has now concluded its investigation," Monday's update said. 

The victims ranged in age from 5 to 37, with the family reportedly having moved to Moorhead from Honduras. A Go Fund Me to help pay for funeral costs raised just over $13,000.

The victims were identified as:

  • Belin Hernandez, age 37
  • Marleny Pinto, age 34
  • Breylin Hernandez, age 16
  • Mike Hernandez, age 7
  • Marbely Hernandez, age 5
  • Eldor Hernandez Castillo, age 32
  • Mariela Guzman Pinto, age 19

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