A father and his two young children are dead after doing something that most of us have done once the weather gets freezing. Juvenal Garcia Mora from Louisville, Kentucky, went to his car, started it and turned on his heater, hoping to warm up the vehicle before his two children, Cruz Isaac and Mayra, got in for the drive to school. But on this day, the simple act had fatal results. Parked in the garage, the enclosed space filled with carbon monoxide, and the family was poisoned to death.
The incident happened on November 28, when Mora was getting ready to take his kids to school.
Juvenal and his two children—Cruz, 3, and Mayra, 8—had been waiting for the car to warm up in their garage with the door closed, when carbon monoxide poisoning knocked all three of them unconscious.
When the family was eventually discovered, Cruz was found dead in his car seat and Juvenal was found on the ground outside of his car.
Mayra was unconscious and suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning when she was taken to Norton Children's Hospital. The 8-year-old was declared dead on November 29.
Juvenal and his children had been waiting for the car to warm up in their garage with the door closed, when carbon monoxide poisoning knocked all three of them unconscious.
The children's mother had already left for work when the incident happened, according to People magazine, and Louisville Police Department spokeswoman Lt. Emily McKinley told reporters that everything happened “very, very quickly.”
“It appeared to be that he had warmed the car up while it was in the garage and trying to get the kids out the door to school and start the day,” she said.
At least 430 people in the United States die every year from carbon monoxide poisoning, and about 50,000 are sent to the hospital, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The agency explains that carbon monoxide is made when burning fuels such as gasoline or natural gas. Carbon monoxide can build up and become toxic to humans and animals when it's created in an enclosed space. Common signs of carbon monoxide poisoning might seem "flu-like" and include headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain and confusion.
The CDC recommends that drivers get their cars checked every year for exhaust system leaks and add that they should never run a car or truck inside a garage with the door closed.
A GoFundMe account has been made in the family's honor to cover funeral costs, and now Juvenal's brother-in-law is opening up about the tragedy.
Speaking with WDRB, Juvenal's brother-in-law, Mavro Le'Kondua, shared how his family is coping after Juvenal and his two children's passing.
"I used to see everybody say prayers for people on Facebook when people have a tragedy," Mavro said. "And now that this tragedy is part of me and my family, I now know that all these prayers are really helping. It really helps soothe the pain."
Mavro even shared some fond memories of his niece, who he said was graceful and artistic. "Always glowing," he said. "She was into dancing. She was a ballet dancer."
He remembered this about his nephew, Cruz: "He was such a fan of cars, especially those monster trucks."
But this grieving uncle also has an important message for families who might not know about carbon monoxide poisoning or don't think it can happen to them.
"We've never dealt with anything of this gravity," Mavro explained. "The kind of tragedy that happened the other day. Mistakes happen. Accidents happen. I mean, it could have happened to any of us, and that's the thing people can relate."
Thus far the GoFundMe account has raised more than $18,000.
This post was originally published on Mom.me sister site CafeMom.