MIAMI — The day after Christmas, Juchen Martial wanted to celebrate his 19th birthday.
So he and four friends from their Little Haiti neighborhood rented a motel room in the adjacent city of Hialeah Sunday for a night of fun and fast food.
By 2 p.m., a hotel maid discovered all five teenagers dead -- apparently poisoned by carbon monoxide fumes.
The car they had driven, a red Kia Optima, was left running in the bottom-floor, single-car garage. The door to the interior stairway leading to the room on the second floor was opened slightly, allowing the odorless, deadly fumes to seep upstairs.
``It seems like this is a tragic accident,'' said Hialeah police spokesman Carl Zogby.
The car engine was still running when Hialeah police and firefighters arrived at the hotel Monday afternoon.
The victims were: Martial, who turned 19 on Sunday; Evans Charles, 19; Jonas Antenor, 18; Peterson Nazon, 17; and Jean Pierre Ferdinand, 16.
The car belonged to another buddy, who had lent them the car for the birthday getaway.
The five were found in their street clothes on or around a bed.
Bags of McDonald's, some of the food still uneaten, were in the room.
The teens had checked in Sunday at about 9 p.m. to the Hotel Presidente, 1395 SE Eighth Ct., near Miami International Airport and off of Okeechobee Road. Rooms rent for $62 a night.
Earlier in the night, the borrowed Kia had been giving them trouble.
About an hour before they checked in, another friend, Maxon Ofea, 18, had jumped the car battery.
``They thought the car wouldn't start. That's the reason it happened,'' Ofea said, who grew up with the other teens.
Read the full story at MiamiHerald.com