The father who was found dead with his seven kids in their southern Maryland home — due to carbon monoxide poisoning as the result of a running generator — never asked for electricity service to be connected to the home, a utility company said Tuesday.
Rodney Todd Sr., 36, and his five daughters and two sons, who ranged in age from 6 to 16, died after a generator was left running inside their Princess Anne home, a medical examiner and police said Tuesday.
The eight bodies were found by Princess Anne police detectives after a coworker reported she hadn't seen Todd since March 28, according to police.
A running generator that had burned through all of its fuel was found in the kitchen of the home, said Princess Anne Police Chief Scott Keller.
Todd's family told The Associated Press Monday that the father had bought a generator to keep the family warm after power to the home was cut because of an outstanding bill.
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But Delmarva, a utility company that services Maryland and Delaware, said in a statement Tuesday that in October of last year the owner of the home requested that service be disconnected. Keller said the Todd family moved into the home the next month, and Delmarva's statement said "there was no request to reconnect service."
Delmarva disconnected a stolen electric meter at the family's address on March 25, but did not cease service because of missed payments, said Matt Likovich, a media relations manager for the utility.
Todd's mother, Bonnie Edwards, told NBC News on Tuesday that she wasn't aware if her son, who was a single father, had refused or requested power from Delmarva.
Edwards said Todd was loved not only by his own kids, but also the children in the neighborhood. "They called him 'unc,' like an uncle,” she said.
Todd worked at a college, Edwards said, and "did the best he could" to provide for his family. "There wasn't nothing that he wouldn't do for them," she said. "Nothing."
"They decided they needed some light, probably even some heat. I believe they got themselves a generator," Keller said during a news conference Tuesday. "They laid down, and that was probably the end of the story right there, as far as they we're concerned.”
The American Red Cross warns that generators should not be used indoors because carbon monoxide, which can't be seen or smelled, can kill quickly, especially if doors and windows are kept closed.
"People don’t realize you’re sort of a payment or paychecks away from being in this type of situation," said Paula M. Carmody, the head of the Maryland Office of People's Counsel, which represents residential customers in utility matters. "People will do what they have to do to get heat to the house."