Carbon monoxide suspected in deaths of father, two sons
A father and his two sons were found dead Tuesday in a small mobile home east of Española in what investigators suspect was an accidental carbon monoxide poisoning.
Relatives found the body of Dominic Manzanares, 39, on the kitchen floor of the home on Camino De Paz in the small community of Cuarteles on Tuesday afternoon, but they ran from the home when they encountered noxious fumes and called 911, according to a search warrant filed by Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office detectives in state District Court on Tuesday.
Investigators later found Manzanares’ sons, Isa, 19, and Ventura, 9, also dead inside the home. The two were stepbrothers, according to the sheriff’s office.
Detectives do not suspect foul play at this point, but they believe the deaths were due to high levels of carbon monoxide inside the home, sheriff’s spokesman Juan Ríos said. The source of the toxic gas was still under investigation Wednesday.
Manzanares, a Latino hip-hop and rap artist known as “Sandman,” had just returned home from a Southwest tour and had been planning events in California, Canada, Colorado and New Mexico in the coming weeks, according to J.C. Salazar, the president of Grip Alot Records, a Denver-based hip-hop recording label that represented Manzanares.
“He was a real popular artist and just a great gentleman,” Salazar said. “We’re still trying to understand what happened.”
According to the search warrant, Manzanares’ mother had gone to her grandson Ventura’s school in Rio Arriba County on Tuesday afternoon to pick up the child and was told the boy was not at school that day. She then went to the home, located on a narrow dirt road near the Santa Cruz River, and knocked on the door, but she got no response.
“She figured the family must have gone fishing with friends,” Detective Jonathan Jaramillo wrote in the warrant. The mother then contacted the boy’s mother, who went to the home and got no answer at the door.
Dominic Manzanares’ mother then returned to the home and climbed in through a window, finding her son on the floor, the warrant said. She put her hand on her son’s chest and it felt cold to the touch, and then she ran from the house because of fumes.
A male relative then went to the home, saw Manzanares’ body inside and tried to enter, but he also could not deal with the fumes, according to the warrant. The family then called law enforcement.
Official causes of death have not been determined. Sheriff’s investigators are waiting for autopsy results from the state Office of the Medical Investigator.
Ríos said determining a possible source of the fumes is up to the State Fire Marshal’s Office. A call to that office Wednesday evening was not immediately returned.
Manzanares’ Facebook profile indicates he graduated from Española High School in 1998 and studied visual communications at Northern New Mexico College from 1996 to 2006.
According to Salazar, Manzanares “had just rekindled his relationship with his children” and had been guiding his older son, Isa, into the hip-hop industry.
“He was following in his father’s footsteps,” Salazar said. “It’s just tragic.”