District attorney probes Aspen carbon monoxide deaths
December 2, 2008
ASPEN ” The district attorney’s office in Pitkin County has opened a criminal investigation into the deaths of a Denver family, who died of carbon monoxide poisoning at the home they were staying in near Independence Pass.
Deputy District Attorney Arnold Mordkin, who heads the Aspen office, said he opened the investigation Friday. That was the same day Parker Lofgren, 39; his wife, Caroline, 42; and their children, Owen, 10, and Sophie, 8, were found dead by family friends.
The friends had driven from Denver to share the house with them for the holiday. The bodies were discovered in beds at the home, located at 10 Popcorn Lane, near the North Star Nature Preserve.
Mordkin declined further comment Monday. It was not clear how long the investigation would take to complete.
Authorities were called at 5 p.m. Friday. When the Aspen Volunteer Fire Department arrived at the scene they reported high and unsafe carbon monoxide levels inside the multimillion-dollar residence. The home sits in the exclusive Morningstar subdivision.
A team of gas and heating technicians later found that a malfunction of the hot water and snowmelt systems created extreme levels of carbon monoxide inside the house. The residence did not have carbon monoxide detectors, officials said.
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Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless, colorless gas that is created when fuels, such as gasoline, wood, natural gas, propane and methane, burn incompletely. It is poisonous and can kill cells of the body.
It also replaces oxygen in the bloodstream, which leads to suffocation.
Parker Lofgren was managing partner and co-founder of St. Charles Capital, a Denver-based investment bank that specializes in middle-market transactions. He joined four other investment bankers to form the company in 2005.
Caroline Lofgren was active with numerous charitable groups. Their children attended St. Anne’s Episcopal School in Denver. Funeral services are scheduled Friday at 10 a.m. at Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Denver, according to the school.