Family found dead at home days after 'feeling sick'

Police have revealed details of the circumstances surrounding a family of four found dead in their home last week.

They identified the family members as 50-year-old Richard Reitter III, 49-year-old Jennifer Reitter, and their two children Richard Reitter IV, 15, and Grace Reitter, 13. The family’s three dogs were also found dead.

Firefighters went to the Ohio home early on Thursday afternoon when a relative couldn’t get a response at the residence and called 911 saying they had not been able to reach anyone for three days.

Police Chief Stephen Gammill said on Friday that some family members had complained on Monday about feeling sick.

Richard Gabriel Reitter III, 50, his wife Jennifer, 49, their son, Richard Gabriel Reitter IV, 15, and daughter, Grace Reitter, 13, were all found dead in home in Ohio. Source: Facebook/ Jennifer Reitter
Richard Gabriel Reitter III, 50, his wife Jennifer, 49, their son, Richard Gabriel Reitter IV, 15, and daughter, Grace Reitter, 13, were all found dead in home in Ohio (pictured in 2013). Source: Facebook/ Jennifer Reitter

Firefighters donned protective suits to enter the home, where high levels of carbon monoxide, an odourless, colourless and tasteless gas, were detected, Assistant Fire Chief Joseph Ponzi said.

Protocol requires firefighters to wear protective suits whenever carbon monoxide levels of 30 parts per million are present, Ponzi said. Levels inside the home were eventually measured in excess of 1,200 parts per million, which Ponzi said he had never seen in his 25 years as a firefighter.

The home where the Reitter family were found dead. No carbon monoxide detectors were found inside the home. Source: WBNS
The home where the Reitter family were found dead. No carbon monoxide detectors were found inside the home. Source: WBNS

Ponzi said it took 90 minutes to completely ventilate the home to make it safe to enter without protective equipment. He also said symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can mimic flu symptoms. No carbon monoxide detectors were found inside the home.

Gammill said the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office is assisting in the investigation, and that experts will be consulted as appliances and other possible sources of carbon monoxide inside the home are examined.

A coroner will make an official determination about how the family died.

The Olentangy Local School District, where the two children were students, said it would make grief counselors available on Friday.

Genoa Township is about 32 kilometers north of downtown Columbus.

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