Family of four and three dogs found dead in Ohio home from suspected carbon monoxide poisoning

The officials in Genoa Township during a press conference revealed that first responders went into the family's three-bedroom house and found high levels of carbon monoxide inside the home.


                            Family of four and three dogs found dead in Ohio home from suspected carbon monoxide poisoning

An Ohio couple, their two children and their three dogs were found dead inside a Genoa Township home on Thursday afternoon. Authorities believe that carbon monoxide might be the cause of their death. 

The officials in Genoa Township during a press conference revealed that first responders went into the family's three-bedroom house on Lewis Center Road and found high levels of carbon monoxide inside the home. The carbon monoxide levels were above 1,200 parts per million, it is around 17 times higher than the highest level that is relatively harmless to humans. First responders went to the 6900 block of Lewis Center Road shortly before 1.30 p.m after a relative called 911 and asked for a well-being check at the home. The caller said they hadn't been able to contact the family for several days.

Richard Ritter and Jennifer Ritter (Gabe Ritter III)

The deceased were identified on Friday as Richard Gabriel Reitter III, 50, his wife Jennifer, 49, their 15-year-old son, Richard Gabriel Reitter IV, and 13-year-old daughter, Grace Reitter. 

During a press conference on Friday, the officials revealed that their house was not equipped with carbon monoxide detectors. Deputy Fire Chief Joe Ponzi says keeping in mind the situation they would not enter a home with carbon monoxide levels in excess of 30 parts per million without protective gear and without a carbon monoxide detector in the home, its presence was undetectable. “You’re never gonna smell it, you’re never gonna taste it, won’t know,” Ponzi said. “I think the evidence shows this might be the case for this family.”

The father, Gabriel, also known as Gabe, operated a stucco business. He and his wife Jennifer had been married for nearly 18 years. The kids attended schools in the Olentangy Local School District. On hearing the news of the tragedy, the school posted a tribute to the family on Facebook saying, "We are deeply saddened to learn about the passing of the Reitter family. Our district community is very close and this tragedy is undoubtedly felt by all." 

During a press conference on Friday, the officials revealed that the Lewis Center road house was not equipped with carbon monoxide detectors. (Genoa Township Police Department)

There were additional counselors made available on Friday at Berlin High School, where Gabe was a student, and at Berkshire Middle School where Grace was studying in the eighth grade.  

According to the Columbus Dispatch, Gabe’s friend and classmate Josh Chmielewski revealed he noticed that Gabe wasn't in the school bus on Thursday morning but thought he might have been well. "It’s just weird to think you could say, "Goodbye, see you later" to someone, and you won’t see them alive again," Chmielewski said.

According to Fox 28, Charlene Baggs, the Ritters' neighbor said, "They moved in just a couple of years ago and just became very close friends, they were very nice kids. He had his own business. Their two little kids call me grandma, so you know they are going to be really missed." 

Baggs lives across the street from the Ritters' and has fond memories of the family. "He would do our driveway in the winter. He'd get pie in return... We never had neighbors like that at all,” said Baggs. “It's tragic, it's awful, it's terrible I don't know what to say really, I don't."

The family had moved into their 5,600-square-foot home that sits on 5 acres of land nearly three years ago and they had completely remodeled the exterior. The home has a fireplace that is heated by propane, WCMH reports. 

Investigators are still trying to positively identify the source of the CO in the home.