Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Couple dies of CO poisoning in parked-car sex romp

Random garage with warning.

Random garage with warning.

Sitting in a car with the engine on in a closed garage is a time honored, supposedly painless, way end it all. A Pennsylvania couple, however, was feeling no pain Friday night when they did just that. They however, were not in the depths of despair, but the throes of passion when they died.

Keith Payton, 40, and Salina Johnson, 40, were found in a garage in Lycoming County at around 9:30 p.m., after police were advised by Payton’s brother that the couple had gone to a garage he rented on an errand for him, and not returned. The half-naked couple was found by the brother’s friend, surrounded by marijuana, unspecified drug paraphernalia, with the ignition on, but the car out of gas. To make matters worse there was also a kerosene heater that had been left running in the sealed garage, which had also run out of fuel.

They were pronounced dead by carbon monoxide poisoning about an hour after they were found.

Police speculate that Payton and Johnson were having a sexual encounter when they died because of the couple’s state of semi-undress. There is no indication that they were suicidal, only that they were having fun and wanted to stay warm in the 15-20 degree F. temperatures that day.

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