Traverse City Record-Eagle

September 4, 2013

Authorities probe apparent Benzie murder-suicide attempt


— ELBERTA — An Elberta woman and her daughter are being treated for carbon monoxide poisoning in an apparent murder and suicide attempt that used two burning charcoal grills inside a van, authorities said.

The 45-year-old woman and her 14-year-old daughter were found unconscious Tuesday inside a van parked in a remote area in Blaine Township after a search by Benzie County sheriff's deputies and Michigan State Police.

Officials at a Grand Rapids hospital confirmed today the two are patients, but refused additional comment.

State police Lt. Kip Belcher said the mother and daughter were found inside a full-size van with two burning portable charcoal grills. He said the van's windows were shut and investigators believe the mother tried to kill herself and her daughter, but no motive was immediately clear.

"I'm not aware of any information that she was bound or restrained," Belcher said of the 14-year-old.

Assistant Prosecutor Jennifer Tang-Anderson said authorities don't believe the incident was an accident.

Both the mother and daughter suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning and were transported to Munson Medical Center before they were transferred to a Grand Rapids-area hospital for further treatment. The woman is expected to fully recover but the 14-year-old may suffer permanent brain damage from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Belcher said doctors should better know the teen's condition Thursday.

"Hopefully, we'll get some good news," he said. "It's hard to say."