Family of 11-year-old boy killed by CO poisoning shares story

by: Torie Wells Updated:

Loading

BOONE, N.C. - For the first time Eyewitness News is hearing from the family of an 11-year-old boy who died from carbon monoxide poisoning in a Boone motel.

"He was a fantastic little boy and he would have been a great man," said Jeff Williams, Jeffrey William's father.

"He was just a great kid, a great kid," said Jeannie Williams, Jeffrey's mother.

Jeffrey's parents and sister told Eyewitness News that he was caring, he showed concern for others. And they said Jeffrey was smart and great with technology.

"It was just an adorable relationship that we had," said Breanne Williams, Jeffrey's older sister.
As the family spoke, Jeannie Williams held on to Jeffrey's Bible. She said that she now keeps it by her bed.

"It's something I can touch because his hands were on it," she said.

She said it is Jeffrey's presence she misses most.

"Just being able to hold him, and touch him," she said.

Police said carbon monoxide leaking from the pool heater under Jeannie and Jeffrey William's Boone hotel room killed the young boy on June 8. Police said it also killed Daryl and Shirley Jenkins who stayed in the same room weeks before. The carbon monoxide made Jeannie sick.

"I'm doing OK," said Jeannie. "I just keep going step by step, day by day and just try to keep a positive outlook as much as I can."

The family said that it is working to honor Jeffrey's life by starting a foundation in his memory. Jeff Williams said the goal is carbon monoxide poisoning awareness and prevention.

"To help push for legislation that will help prevent this from happening to another family," he said.

He also said the family hopes the foundation can raise money to help small communities and fire departments purchase test equipment that could save other lives. Eventually, they also hope to create something called "Jeffrey's list," which would list hotels that have taken steps to keep families safe by installing carbon monoxide detectors. That way, other families could educate themselves about where they are staying.

The Williams family told Channel 9 it wanted to publicly thank all the friends, family, doctors and strangers who have given them so much love and support.

"'Thank you' is not a good enough word but that is the only word we have," said Jeff Williams.

Jeannie said that their home school group and church members signed up to make meals for the family and spent hours sitting with Jeannie when she was first recovering. She said that another home school group sends flowers to the family on the 8th of every month.

For years, Breanne and Jeffrey were homeschooled together. This year she started going to school outside of their home. The family said it's very thankful for the support she's received in making that transition.

Jeannie also told Eyewitness News that Jeffrey loved chocolate. Now she's made it part of the way she remembers him.

"Jeffrey loved brownies, anything chocolate," she said. "On the eighth, I make brownies. That's how I remember him."