A Maryland utility company has been asked to document when it shut off power to a home where eight people were found dead of carbon monoxide poisoning, authorities said Tuesday.
Delmarva Power was subpoenaed by the Somerset County State's Attorney's Office after the bodies of a father and his seven children were found last week in their rented home in Princess Anne, Md., police said. The family had been using a gas generator to keep warm after their electricity was turned off.
Maryland utilities are barred from shutting off power for nonpayment from Nov. 1 through March 31 unless they file an affidavit with the Public Service Commission at least 24 hours ahead of time.
The bodies were discovered after a supervisor at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore contacted the Princess Anne Police Department on Monday to report that one of her kitchen workers was missing. Stephanie Wells told police she had not seen or spoken to Rodney Todd, 36, since March 28.
When detectives entered Todd's home in Princess Anne, they found his body and the bodies of his children in their beds, Princess Anne Police Chief Scott Keller told reporters during a news conference Tuesday.
Delmarva Power said it had discovered March 25 that a stolen electric meter was in use at the home and disconnected it that day "for safety reasons and to comply with standard protocol."
The home did not have legal electricity during the time Todd and his family lived there, the utility said, adding that it "did not disconnect electric service at this address for nonpayment."
"Electric service was disconnected in October of last year at the request of the customer of record at that time," the company said in a statement. "There was no request to reconnect service."
Spokesman Matt Likovich told the Los Angeles Times that it was not clear whether the tenants or landlord connected the stolen meter.