MOORHEAD, Minn. (FOX 9) - An online fundraiser has been set up to help pay for the funeral costs of 19-year-old Mariela Guzman Pinto, one of the seven people found dead in a Moorhead home from carbon monoxide poisoning last weekend.
According to the GoFundMe, Mariela graduated last May from MACCRAY High School in Clara City, just west of Willmar. Police and family members said she was living in Moorhead with her uncle, aunt, three cousins and her uncle's brother.
Mariela's mom, Dilcia, is caring for Mariela's two sisters who currently attend the MACCRAY School District, the fundraiser states. They live in the small town of Raymond in central Minnesota, which is nearly three hours away from Moorhead. The money raised will help the family pay for funeral arrangements, travel and other expenses. As of Thursday evening, the GoFundMe has raised more than $3,800.
Earlier this week, police confirmed the victims died of apparently accidental carbon monoxide poisoning and released their identities and ages:
- Belin Hernandez, age 37
- Marleny Pinto, age 34
- Breylin Hernandez, age 16
- Mike Hernandez, age 7
- Marbely Hernandez, age 5
- Eldor Hernandez Castillo, age 32
- Mariela Guzman Pinto, age 19
Funeral information and location has not yet been shared.
What was the source of the carbon monoxide?
On Wednesday, police said there were two possible sources of the carbon monoxide: a furnace and a vehicle.
Officers say it appears the furnace was working properly and investigators were unable to replicate any trouble. The victims were also wearing light clothes, leading police to believe it was working properly.
The vehicle, a van, however, was having trouble and was found with a dead battery and half a tank of gas. Police are working to determine if there was a presence of hydrogen cyanine in the home, which would indicate exhaust was the cause. But, officers say it could take eight weeks to determine the exact cause.
A carbon monoxide detector was found inside the home, but it had been taken off the wall and its batteries had been removed.
Remembering the immigrant family
Relatives of the family discovered the victims Saturday night in a home in south Moorhead when they went to check on them after not hearing from them. Police are still working on a time frame of the deaths but said the three children who lived there were not in school on Friday.
Belin Hernandez and Marleny Pinto were the parents of Breylin, Mike and Marbely; Eldor Hernandez Castillo was Belin’s brother; and Mariela Gusman Pinto was Marleny’s niece, family members said.
Family members who gathered at the house Monday to share stories described their loved ones as happy people who were relieved to get away from turmoil in Honduras. They had been in the United States between three and eight years, a family translator said.
"They love this community," Moorhead Police Chief Shannon Monroe said of the surviving family members. "They are very pleased with the outpouring of support they’ve seen so far. Just know that these are terrific members of our community and this is a huge and tragic loss at a holiday season."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.