• Family of 11-year-old boy killed by carbon monoxide files wrongful death suit

    By: Allison Latos

    Updated:

    BOONE, N.C. - The family of an 11-year-old boy killed by carbon monoxide in a Boone motel in 2013 is suing the motel.
     
    Jeffrey Williams died on June 8, 2013.
     
    His mother, Jeannie, was sickened and knocked unconscious by the poisonous gas, which leaked from a faulty pool water heater at a Best Western hotel in Boone.

    Weeks earlier, the same leak killed Darryl and Shirley Jenkins, authorities said.

    The attorney for Jeffrey Williams' family filed a lawsuit Friday.

    Williams' mother told Channel 9 that she fights the feeling that somehow she could have protected him.

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    "Jeffrey followed me into that room," Jeannie Williams said.  "He followed me and trusted me to take care of him and I trusted the hotel to take care of us."
     
    Williams said her family is focused on turning their heartbreak into a mission to help others. She now wears a necklace with Jeffrey's fingerprint inside.

    "I could be bitter and I could be angry, but by doing that, I can't do the other work I need to do," Jeannie Williams said.

    The Williamses created a nonprofit in Jeffrey's name to raise awareness of carbon monoxide danger.

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    They are working to distribute more than 1,200 carbon monoxide alarms.
     
    Monday will mark the two-year anniversary of Jeffrey's death.

    The Williamses call it his heaven date and said they will find strength in faith and family.
     
    They plan to celebrate the bright 11-year-old boy the same way they did last year.
     
    "Last year on his heaven date, we took a Lego set and a book to the Ronald McDonald house," his mother siad.

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    The family of Darryl and Shirley Jenkins filed a lawsuit in February against the parent company of Best Western and others.
     
    The former hotel operator, Damon Mallatere, is facing criminal charges in the deadly leak.

    He will be in court in July.

    The deaths sparked a change in North Carolina law, which now requires hotels to have carbon monoxide detectors near equipment that could produce the deadly gas.

    The Williamses released a statement Friday after filing the lawsuit. It read:

    "The tragic events of June 8, 2013 have forever changed our families’ life. Today’s actions in no way bring any healing to our family; instead, we intend to hold all parties involved in Jeffrey’s death accountable for their actions or lack thereof. Our true goal is to effect profound and dramatic change in the way business is conducted. As a family our pain is great. Your continued support and prayers for our family as we go through this process is greatly appreciated." - Jeff and Jeannie Williams

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