Update [Jan. 22] - RCMP say a faulty exhaust system may be to blame in the deaths of one man and two women earlier this month near Conklin.
Since their deaths on Jan. 9, a mechanical inspection has been completed and determined a malfunctioning system could have allowed exhaust into the vehicle cabin. Levels of carbon dioxide have been confirmed, according to Cpl. Teri-Ann Deobald.
She adds the inspection found a bolt and spring to be missing from the exhaust system.
Police say it is unknown whether or not this was an existing problem or a recent occurrence.
A former Drayton Valley resident who was living in Red Deer has been identified as one of the three found dead in a parked car outside a small northern Alberta community Tuesday.
In a Facebook post, Emily Lawrence says her cousin, 21-year-old Tristan Dave-Lawrence, was one of the three who passed away. Dave lived in Drayton Valley while attending H.W. Pickup School.
"This is a very difficult time for all of us," Lawrence says in her post. "We are thankful for the condolences from all of her friends, family, and everyone who has been affected by this tragedy."
Lawrence went on to say that she adored Dave’s selflessness.
“She always did her best every single day growing up to show people that they were loved. She loved people, plants and animals. She lived for experiences and blessed us all with her life.”
Wood Buffalo RCMP say a security guard found 29-year-old Cade Lavallee and two women in a two-door car on a semi-remote access road near the hamlet of Conklin over the noon hour on Tuesday.
Emergency medical responders were called, but all three were declared dead at the scene.
The second woman has been identified as 22-year-old Tanisha Peterson of Camrose. Both recently worked at the Elephant and Castle pub in Red Deer before moving north to work at a Conklin-area restaurant. The two women were scheduled to work at the restaurant on the afternoon they were found. Dave-Lawrence was to return home this weekend after a 21-day stint up north.
Megan King, a friend of both women, says they will be dearly missed.
“Tristan always wanted people to be happy. She touched me with how compassionate she was," King added. "She loved everyone and always saw the good in everybody.”
The incident comes not long after the deaths of a 17-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl who were found unconscious in a running vehicle in a parking lot in Drayton Valley just days before Christmas.
RCMP said there was a strong smell of exhaust fumes in the Volkswagen Jetta when a patrolling Mountie discovered Gage Bogart and Shaina Lynn Ridenour.
Police said late last month that a faulty exhaust system could be behind the deaths.
Wood Buffalo RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Teri-Ann Deobald says investigators have the Drayton Valley case in mind as they investigate the Conklin deaths.
"That's why (carbon monoxide poisoning) is one of the possible contributing factors. Everything is being considered," she says.
With files from the Canadian Press
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