ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) - A mother found her teenage son and his girlfriend dead inside her garage Monday, and St. Petersburg Police said carbon monoxide poisoning is to blame for this "tragic accident."
According to investigators, Dorian Gomez Poehlmann, 17, and Emily Sabow, 14, were killed by the odorless gas while sitting in a running SUV in a garage with the garage door shut.
"It appears that this was a horrible tragedy that has clearly devastated both of these families," said Assistant Chief Jim Previtera.
Police said Dorian and Emily had been gone since Sunday afternoon, setting off a frantic search involving both families, who reported the children missing at 11 p.m.
The search eventually took loved ones to a detached garage in South St. Petersburg, belonging to Dorian's mother. Previtera said the teenagers' parents initially weren't able to get into the garage.
"Because of a garage door opener, they couldn't get the door up but they didn't believe the kids were there," he said.
They continued their search elsewhere, looking everywhere between St. Pete and Riverview, where Dorian and Emily were living with other family members.
Dorian's cell phone data was used to determine that the teens were likely in his mother's garage. Their parents pried the door open and found the kids' bodies.
Investigators believe Dorian and Emily had been in an SUV with the garage door shut for hours; the vehicle was out of gas. Previtera said it appeared Dorian tried to get out, but was overcome by the fumes -- something firefighters said could have quickly happened in an area with no ventilation.
"It could be a matter of minutes," said Lt. Steve Lawrence with St. Pete Fire Rescue. "It just depends on the exposure and how quickly your body is adapting to it. Once you start breathing in the carbon monoxide, then it starts combining with your blood and the hemoglobin in your blood and then it can render you unconscious pretty quickly."
Investigators said all the evidence, which they did not specify, points to this being an accident.
Dorian and Emily were students at East Bay High School in Hillsborough County. Classmates are planning to hold candlelight vigil Wednesday.