GARDEN CITY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A Long Island community was in mourning Thursday night after two long-time residents were found dead earlier in the day.
The discovery occurred during a wellness check, and, as CBS 2’s Sean Hennessey reports, carbon monoxide likely played a role in the deaths.
When police and firefighters entered the home of Joe and Kay Hayes, they found the elderly couple dead in their separate bedrooms, their car running in a locked garage, and the home’s carbon monoxide detector disabled.
“I still can’t believe it,” friend Sue Hall said.
Hall said she knew the couple for 55 years.
“They couldn’t have been nicer neighbors and friends. When I needed them when my husband was so sick, they helped me and they took care of Frank when I couldn’t,” Hall said.
Neighbors said Kay Hayes suffered from Alzheimer’s in recent years and that her 88-year-old husband was slowing down.
“Joe was very energetic years ago, but recently had become ill — heart problems,” neighbor Joe Sapanski said.
Authorities don’t know how long the car had been running but said the built-up carbon monoxide fumes seeped from the garage throughout the entire house and likely killed the couple.
“We know the dangers of carbon monoxide. We have a carbon monoxide detector inside but you know what? I don’t think it’s something we check the batteries on as much as we check the smoke detector,” neighbor Greg Pando said.
The couple was religious, and neighborhood fixtures.
“Shocking. They’re wonderful people. I’ve lived here for 18 years and they’re always been very, very kind,” Marge Barbaro said.
Police said the couple, who’d been married more than 50 years, was found in an upstairs bedrooms, under the covers. They’re calling it an accident. So is their friend of 55 years.
“I have to think it was an accident. Yeah, I want to think that,” Hall said.
They were a popular couple that will be missed.
The couple left behind a son, a daughter and four grandchildren.
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