Dangerous fumes from car battery suspected cause of mystery deaths of woman and toddler


OSCEOLA COUNTY, FL (WESH) It’s been four months since first responders walked up to a 2006 Porsche Cayenne involved in what looked like a single-car fender bender along Florida’s Turnpike in Osceola County.

Latifa Lincoln, 45, and her 3-year-old daughter, Maksmilla Lincoln, were found dead inside. A strong odor forced first responders back. Three of them reported breathing problems. Investigators have since determined the mother and daughter did not die as the result of a crime, but questions remained, how did they die?

After months of intensive investigation on the vehicle at the medical examiner’s office in Orlando, Assistant Medical Examiner Dr. Gary Utz says he suspects the mother and daughter died of hydrogen sulfide intoxication, likely as the result of a defect in the car’s battery.

“It’s unprecedented,” Utz says. “I haven’t been able to find another case.”

Utz said he found elevated levels of hydrogen sulfide in the victim’s urine.

He sent the battery to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in hopes of having more tests done. He’s also sent “darkened coins” found in the SUV to an Ohio lab in hopes of determining the substance on them is hydrogen sulfide. The clear, flammable gas can smell like rotten eggs. Hydrogen sulfide in high concentrations can cause sudden death.

Unlike many vehicles which have the battery under the hood, the Porsche Cayenne battery is found under the driver’s seat.

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