Family of 3 found dead inside Philadelphia home; CO poisoning believed to be cause

One of the victims was identified by the Philadelphia Archdiocese as Spanish teacher Maricel Martinez.

Saturday, February 17, 2024
Neighbors remember family killed by suspected carbon monoxide
Neighbors remember family who died following suspected carbon monoxide poisoning

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Three family members were found dead on Thursday when officers were called to a home in Philadelphia's Holmesburg section for a wellness check.

According to police, officers responded to a home in the 4000 block of Ashburner Street at about 12:53 p.m.

When police arrived, they found three bodies. Carbon monoxide poisoning is suspected as the cause of death, police said.

According to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, St. Albert the Great Catholic School Spanish teacher Maricel Martinez, 47, her husband Jorge Cardona, 56, and their 12-year-old daughter were all found dead.

IMAGE: Maricel Martinez, 47, her husband Jorge Cardona, 56, and their 12-year-old daughter were all found dead inside a home in Holmesburg on Feb. 15, 2024.
Yuli Morales

"We will remember Mrs. Martinez as a gifted Spanish teacher, wonderful mother, and true friend to our school community," the school said in a statement to the community.

Investigators said high levels of carbon monoxide were found when officials entered the home.

A fourth person was taken to an area hospital for treatment.

Police said the family was last heard from on Monday.

"I'm destroyed, I'm hurt, I'm hurt because he's such an amazing friend. Just a good person," said Katrina Orama.

Orama knew the man who died at the home. She worked with him at Springfield Township High School.

She hadn't seen him since Friday.

"He was talking about, telling me his daughter's birthday was on Saturday, and they were going to throw a birthday party. He had to leave early because he had to pick up the birthday cake," she said.

Orama had been calling and texting him since Monday with no answer.

Fire officials confirmed that the request for a wellness check came from the school where the man worked.

No foul play is suspected and the medical examiner will determine how the family died. Officials believe carbon monoxide poisoning is the likely cause.

Deputy Fire Commissioner Jeffrey Thompson is reminding the public about the importance of having working CO detectors in your home.

"One on every level, very similar to what we recommend for smoke alarms," he said.

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