Why did Jeffrey Williams die? A look at North Carolina's medical examiners

December 16, 2013 

Open the door to Room 225 at the Best Western hotel.

Jeannie Williams and her 11-year-old son, Jeffrey, are settling in after driving up from the family farm outside Rock Hill. It is a little before 10 on a rainy Friday evening in early June. They plan to pick up Jeffrey’s older sister the following morning from a weeklong Christian youth camp.

Jeffrey snuggles beneath the covers of the king-size bed, wearing his plaid pajamas. Jeannie later told her family she remembers sitting beside him, talking with her husband over the phone. She tells him goodnight, then begins her Bible study.

Suddenly, she feels nauseated and confused. She rushes to the bathroom. She is so dizzy, she has to sit on the toilet. The last thing she remembers thinking is: I have to get my phone to call someone.

When a housekeeper finds them more than 14 hours later, around 12:25 the next afternoon, Jeffrey is dead in the bed. Jeannie, 49, is near death, lying unconscious on the bathroom floor, still in her clothes from the day before.

“Please hurry!” a hotel clerk pleads in a chilling call to 911. “This just happened to us.”

Less than two months earlier in the same room on the second floor of the Best Western, Daryl and Shirley Jenkins of Longview, Wash., died overnight in much the same way.

But despite the alarming circumstances of the first deaths – two bodies in a hotel room without any evidence of foul play – there is no indication that officials in Boone or anyone in the state’s medical examiner system acted with urgency to understand what happened.

Read more at the Charlotte Observer: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/12/14/4542244/why-did-jeffrey-williams-die.html#.Uq9c_mRkEor

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