Two teenagers were found dead in an idling SUV in Fernley on Tuesday, apparently overcome by carbon monoxide as the boy dropped the girl off at her house after an evening out.
The teens, both 16, were discovered a little before midnight by the girl’s mother and pronounced dead at the scene. The exhaust system had been damaged and was sending fumes into the cabin, according to Lyon County Detective Lt. J.L Pattison.
Authorities planned to conduct an autopsy and toxicology tests, but ruled out foul play and suicide in the case.
The teens, whose names haven’t yet been released, had been friends since the fourth grade and may have started dating, according to Pattison, who reviewed text messages on the boy’s phone.
The boy had picked up the girl about 8 p.m. and was supposed to bring her back by her 10 p.m. curfew. The pair was nearly two hours overdue when the girl’s mother checked on the Toyota 4 Runner that was still running in front of house.
Efforts to revive the two were unsuccessful.
Officers who checked on the vehicle found it was in four-wheel-drive mode and the exhaust system was damaged near the rear tire, Pattison said. One theory is that the teens had gone four-wheeling, hit an object and damaged the undercarriage, sending fumes into the cabin instead of out the tailpipe.
There were no signs of a struggle and both teens were found in their respective seats.
“Maybe they didn’t realize they were in danger,” Pattison said.