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Faulty propane heater likely cause of 3 deaths in Sweet Grass County

Faulty propane heater likely cause of 3 deaths in Sweet Grass County
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Posted at 12:48 PM, Dec 26, 2022

BILLINGS — Three people found dead in a residence northwest of Reed Point likely died of poisoning related to a faulty propane heater, Sheriff Alan Ronneberg says, calling the deaths accidental.

Sheriff Ronneberg has identified two of the three people killed as Gary Morton, 81 years old, and Angelika Morton, 58, who lived on Stephen's Hill Road.

The third person killed, Sheriff Ronneberg says, was a 71-year-old man renting a unit on the Morton's property.

Ronneberg says the initial call came in Friday from a person at the Morton's residence in medical distress. Ambulances struggled reaching the property due to cold weather and snow drifts.

When first responders arrived they found three people unresponsive.

Ronneberg says the deaths are likely a cause of hypoxia, which is a lack of oxygen in bodily tissues, and/or carbon monoxide poisoning—though the official cause of death is still being determined.

No foul play is suspected.

Ronneberg says he is looking for a relative of the Morton's tenant before releasing the man's name.

The three bodies were taken to the state medical examiner's office in Billings for autopsies.

1st REPORT: 3 people dead in Sweet Grass County