A 5-year-old triple-homicide case in Pennsylvania has apparently been solved: The murderer was carbon monoxide.

The case involved suspicious deaths that were initially considered murders by authorities. But recent scientific tests, prompted by a story by the Associated Press, now seem to confirm the the deaths were most likely caused by accidental carbon monoxide poisoning.

http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2012/03/20/ap_carbon_monoxide_likely_culprit_in_3_pa_deaths/

The case revolved around deaths of three cousins — David Grasch, Tony DiMartino and Pat Mahoney —   who traveled to a cabin in rural Forkston, Pa., on Nov. 14, 2006, according to AP. The trio apparently planned to do some work on the house, which was only half built. The weather was cold, and that night the men called home. They were never heard from again, and it is believed they died not long after getting to the cabin.

After the first call four days passed without a word from the three men, and their relatives got nervous. Grasch’s brother, Stephen, asked neighbors in Forkston to check the cabin. They found the bodies of the three men, who were in their 20s, in a living room, according to AP.

Authorities and relatives immediately suspected that Stephen, who AP said was later convicted of running a cocaine ring in Cape May, N.J., was involved in the deaths. According to AP, Stephen passionately proclaimed his innocence and paid for a  lie detector test regarding the deaths.

Moses Taylor Hospital in Scranton, Pa., did tests on the bodies of the three victims shortly after their deaths, and those test results made authorities believe that carbon monoxide poisoning wasn’t the cause of their demise back in 2006, AP reported.

The wire service ran a fifth anniversary story on the mysterious deaths of the three men in November 2011, and that article apparently prompted officials to take another look at the case. AP reported that authorities conducted reenactments at the Forkston cabin using the same gas generator and portable space heaters that the three men had in the cabin five years ago.

One reenactment was done in November and a second one was performed in March, AP said, and both found the same thing: lethal levels of carbon monoxide.

So authorities are now conceding that it was likely carbon monoxide poisoning, not murder, that did in the three men.

Now officials are trying to determine why the tests at Moses Taylor Hospital apparently were not correct, according to AP.

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