January 20, 2014 - 11:32 AM
PENTICTON - A young Penticton woman found dead last summer in a motel room with an inoperative smoke detector died of smoke inhalation according to a B.C. Coroner's report released today.
Coroner Jeb Maddock's investigation into the death of Kimberly Lynn Lakey, 27, deterimined she was killed from carbon monoxide poisoning while in her room at the Jubilee Motel on Skaha Lake Road on Aug. 15.
Her body was discovered by firefighters who came to the motel to investigate reports of strong odours of smoke coming from one of the rooms. Looking through the window, they saw the legs of someone on the floor, just inside the door to Lakey's unit. She was declared dead at the scene.
Maddock said the unit where Lakey was a tenant for about three months had one bathroom and two rooms with the main room serving as both bedroom and sitting area. There was no kitchen, only a small fridge and microwave.
"The main concentration of heat damage was to the ceiling above the foot of the bed in the main room," Maddock stated in his report. "Other damage was to a box spring mattress which appeared to have been used as a divider between the foot of the bed and a small couch."
Further investigation found Lakey had been a heavy smoker. Fire officials found an open package of cigarettes on the bed covers, a fresh cigarette lodged between two pillows, several spent matches and numerous cigarette butts.
"Evidence suggested some unattended smoke material smoldered between the bed mattress and the upright mattress divider which in time caused the fabric to ignite," Maddock said. The fire appeared to have extinguished on its own, suggesting a lack of oxygen in the closed room.
As for the inoperative smoke detector, Maddock stated that motel management indicated tenants frequently disable them.
An autopsy revealed Lakey inhaled a lethal amount of carbon monoxide and had toxic but non-lethal levels of methamphetamine and amphetamine in her system. Maddock ruled the death accidental and did not make any recommendations.
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