by: Dave Faherty Updated:
BOONE, N.C. - Police said the Boone businessman accused of causing three deaths at a hotel hasn't been charged yet because he's out of town.
Those deaths all happened in the same room at the Best Western in Boone last spring from carbon monoxide poisoning.
A grand jury handed down indictments against Barry Mallatere Wednesday, the operator of the motel.
Mallatere posted a message on Facebook saying, "I'll be out of touch for a while but I deeply appreciate your kind words during this very difficult time."
Once he turns himself in, Mallatere will face three counts of involuntary manslaughter and one count of assault inflicting serious injury.
Mallatere is in charge of the Best Western hotel, where last April, gas from a pool heater seeped into Room 225 from a corroded exhaust pipe, killing Daryl and Shirley Jenkins, investigators said.
Seven weeks later, 11-year-old Jeffrey Williams died, and his mother nearly died.
Mallatere's attorney blames the leak on Independence Oil. He said the company converted the pool water heater to natural gas in 2011.
He also said the town of Boone inspected the water heater, but Boone Planning Director Bill Bailey told Channel 9 last summer the town never approved the converted water heater.
"If we had inspected it, the odds are we would not being talking about this now," Bailey said.
Channel 9 went back to the planning department Thursday to ask for inspection records on the pool heater and was told to fill out a Freedom of Information Act request.
Independence Oil, the company that did the conversion, was sold two months ago to another company.