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Dad and 7 kids 'poisoned by fumes'

A man and his seven children found dead in their home were poisoned by carbon monoxide from a generator they were using after the power company cut off their electricity, relatives have said.

Police found the bodies at the house in Princess Anne, on Maryland's Eastern Shore, after being contacted by the father's supervisor, who said he had not been seen for days.

They identified the victims only as an adult and seven young people aged six to teenagers and said the cause of the deaths was still being investigated.

But Bonnie and Lloyd Edwards, speaking outside the home, said they were the mother and stepfather of Rodney Todd, 36, whom they identified as the adult who died. They said Mr Todd had seven children, including five girls and two boys.

Mrs Edwards said the children were boys Cameron, 13, and Zycheim, seven; and girls Tynijuiza, 15, Tykira, 12, Tybree, 10, Tyania, nine and Tybria, six.

Mr Edwards said police told them Mr Todd had died. "It was disbelief," he said. "It's so hard. How can you understand something like that?"

Mr Edwards said Delmarva Power had cut off the electricity to the house because of an outstanding bill. Princess Anne police chief Scott Keller said there was a generator in the kitchen that was out of fuel.

Matt Likovich, a spokesman for Delmarva Power, would not say whether the power had been cut off. He said the matter was being investigated.

Mr Edwards said: "To keep his seven children warm, (Todd) bought a generator. It went out and the carbon monoxide consumed them."

Mrs Edwards described her son as a loving, caring young man who set an example for his children. "I don't know anyone his age who would have done what he did" for his children, she said. "I was so proud to say he took care of seven kids."

Mr Todd was a utility worker at the nearby University of Maryland Eastern Shore. His supervisor Stephanie Wells, who had not seen him since March 28, said she went to the house yesterday morning and knocked on the door, but no one answered. She then filed a missing person report with the police.

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