Woman finds her parents dead in Harlem apartment on Easter


A Harlem woman planning to attend Easter service with her elderly parents instead found them dead Sunday in their apartment from apparent carbon monoxide poisoning.


“We were supposed to go to church today,” the tearful daughter, Rita Crawford, 38, said after making the shocking discovery.


Crawford and her husband Garry McFadden became concerned Sunday morning when Doris Crawford, 71, and John Crawford, 80, didn’t answer the phone in their East Harlem home.


The couple rushed over to the apartment on First Ave. near 101st St. and opened the door with their key — and were met by an overwhelming odor of gas.

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“The smell hit me in the face,” McFadden said.


He found his father-in-law lying face-down in bed in a pool of vomit, his hands stiff, McFadden said.


His mother-in-law was sitting in her TV chair, he said.


“I thought she was sleeping but she was not breathing, so I knew she was dead too,” he told the Daily News.

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Garry McFadden found his father-in-law lying in bed, face-down in a pool of vomit, his hands stiff. His mother-in-law was sitting in her TV chair.

(Theodore Parisienne for New York Daily News)


The Crawfords had been married for more than 46 years and were regulars at East Ward Baptist Church, the family said.


McFadden called 911 and first responders arrived just after 9 a.m., according to FDNY Dep. Chief James Coyne, who was at the scene.


“There were high levels of CO in the apartment,” he said. “The oven was on — no food in the oven, but the oven was on.”


He said there were no smoke or carbon monoxide detectors in the home. But there were brackets on the walls for both devices.

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