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5 Family Members Die in Mississippi

October 26, 1998

MERIDIAN, Miss. (AP) _ Five members of one family, four of them children, were found dead in their home at Meridian Naval Air Station, possibly victims of carbon monoxide poisoning. A sixth person was hospitalized.

Autopsies were under way to determine if the odorless gas was the cause of death, base spokeswoman Susan Junkins said today. A source of the gas had not been determined; it can be caused by faulty water heaters, furnaces and other fuel-burning appliances.

The victims were found Sunday at a house in the base housing area, Junkins said. She wouldn’t give additional details. Investigators believe the five died in their sleep.

The mother of the four children, Tina Johnston, whose age was not available, was in guarded condition today at Rush Foundation Hospital in Meridian.

The dead were identified as Petty Officer 1st Class Michael Johnston, 34; his sons, 4-year-old twins Robert and Jesse Johnston; and James Hall, 13, and William Hall, 9, Ms. Johnson’s sons from an earlier marriage.

Johnston was assigned to the Naval Training Meteorology and Oceanography Detachment.

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