Cause of death for Berkeley couple still undetermined despite media reports

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The cause of death for the couple who died in their South Berkeley apartment Jan. 23 is still undetermined, according to an email sent by Berkeley Police Department spokesperson Officer Byron White on Monday.

This information comes at a time when many media outlets, including CBS, the Daily Mail and the New York Daily News, have been reporting that officials have determined the couple, Roger and Valerie Morash, died from carbon monoxide poisoning from their 3D printer. Berkeleyside also reported that the couple may have died from carbon monoxide poisoning, though it attributed the deaths to speculations of a laser cutter’s emissions.

White said in his email, however, that the cause of death still has not been confirmed. Berkeleyside has since removed the reference to the laser cutter from the headline and lede of the article.

“Over the past few days, information has circulated that a cause of death has been determined in the recent suspicious deaths on Deakin Street,” White said in his email. “The Berkeley Police Department has not yet made a determination of the Morash’s cause of death. The Berkeley Police Department is waiting for the report from the Coroner’s Office on the Morash’s cause of death.”

In his email, White explained that Berkeley Fire Department, BFD’s Hazardous Materials Team and PG&E responded to the scene and tested the building for any contaminants, including carbon monoxide, radiation and gas leaks. According to White, none of these agencies found any traces of those contaminants in the building.

White said in his email that he was told that the coroner’s office is giving the Morash case priority. He added that the report “may be provided to us in a week or so.”

Check back for updates.

Chantelle Lee is an assistant news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @ChantelleHLee.

Correction(s):
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Berkeleyside had reported that carbon monoxide emitting from a 3-D printer may have caused the death of the couple. In fact, Berkeleyside had reported that carbon monoxide emitting from a laser cutter may have been the cause of death.

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  • Jerry Erikson

    l.

  • emraguso

    Sorry to be here again, continuing to have this discussion.

    “Berkeleyside also reported that the couple died from carbon monoxide poisoning, though it attributed the deaths to a laser cutter.”

    Actually no, we did not. And we say they MAY HAVE died from CO.

    We said it MAY have been linked to the laser cutter: “There has been some speculation that this could have been a source of fumes.”

    Your article states further, “Berkeleyside has since removed the reference to the laser cutter from its article.”

    Again this is absolutely wrong. We have repeated references to the laser cutter — but are very circumspect in the language. We did remove SOME references to it, and explained this in our story.

    I am really disappointed at the failure to correctly report this. It looks like the actual correction gets it right, but the story itself is incorrect on BOTH counts. Please fix this.

  • emraguso

    CORRECTION: We (at Berkeleyside) absolutely never said the carbon monoxide came from the printer. I contacted DC about this Tuesday night. Disappointed corrections are so slow to take place. Our story on the carbon monoxide is here: http://bit.ly/2kR6ALY

  • flashsteve

    There were several useful comments on this article that have since been removed ????