Homeless family of 4 found dead in parked van in California

2018-03-17 18:58
PHOTO: Gallo Images/Getty Images

PHOTO: Gallo Images/Getty Images

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Garden Grove – A homeless family of four was found dead inside a parked van that had its windows covered with blankets and a sunshade at a Southern California strip mall in what authorities suspect was a tragic case of carbon monoxide poisoning, police said on Friday.

Garden Grove police Lt. Carl Whitney said a man, a woman and their two young children were found inside the white Honda van outside a CVS store late on Thursday after a woman reported a foul odour coming from the vehicle.

"They were in pajamas and sleeping gear and it looks like they were all asleep inside the van," Whitney said.

There were no signs of obvious trauma. The cause of death is still under investigation, but authorities suspect carbon monoxide poisoning based on their initial observations, Whitney said.

Both children appeared under the age of 2 and were still in diapers, he said.

Rise in homelessness

The case comes as Southern California grapples with a rise in homelessness amid soaring housing costs.

The family had been living in the van for some time and relatives were aware of the situation but the father did not seek help, Whitney said.

"What is tragic about this is we have our special resources teams that have connections to different resources," Whitney said. "We don't want these people living in their cars, and especially with small children. We want them to be off the streets for their own safety."

Police declined to release the names of the victims until their identities were confirmed by Orange County Coroner investigators.

The family had been dead for at least two or three days by the time police arrived and the van was not running, Whitney said.

A clerk at the CVS store declined to comment early on Friday. The strip mall – which also has a tea house, shoe store, pizza shop and mobile phone retailer – is located at a busy intersection in the city of 175 000 people nearly 50km southeast of Los Angeles.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

Read more on:    us

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.