Four elderly people were found dead in a Floral Park, Queens home Friday afternoon in an apparent carbon monoxide poisoning after a car was left running in the attached garage, police said.
Police described the victims as a married couple, a close friend and an upstairs tenant. The deaths are believed to be accidental.
The victims were discovered shortly after 3 p.m. when a relative of the couple came to the two-story home on 86th Avenue, near the Nassau County line, to check on them, police said.
“It looks like they all sustained carbon monoxide poisoning,” a police source said.
A law enforcement official identified the relative who made the discovery as Robert Hugel, an NYPD sergeant.
Close friends identified the couple as the owners of the home: Jerry Hugel, 83, and Marie Hugel, 80.
Authorities said the other victims were the friend, a 76-year-old man, and the tenant, a 70-year-old woman. The identities were withheld by police last night pending notification of family members.
An investigation into the deaths was underway. The bodies showed no signs of trauma, police said. It’s unknown how long the people were dead before the bodies were found.
NYPD investigators said the husband was found in the garage, next to a parked Buick that was still running.
Det. Michael DeBonis, an NYPD spokesman, said the man’s wife was found in a kitchen basement area off the garage. The friend was found in the first-floor living room of the home, and the fourth victim was found in a first-floor doorway, he said.
Jerry and Marie Hugel were longtime members of a Bavarian dance club that meets Wednesdays at the Plattduetsche Park Restaurant in Franklin Square, according to friends.
“They were a lovely couple, very big in the German community,” said a shaken Michael Mattern, president of the group, GTEV Schlierachtaler Stamm.
Mattern said he called club members to inform them of the deaths. The group participated in dance competitions in Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Vancouver, Canada, and elsewhere.
Hugel was the group’s president for 41 years, until 2013. His wife selected outfits for the performances and the couple’s children were also involved, members said.
“They did everything that had to be done, whether it was setting up for a dance or cleaning up afterward,” said Kathy Fetzer of East Rockaway.
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SOURCE: Newsday, Darran Simon and Nicole Fuller