Hydrogen sulfide inhalation from car battery killed mother, daughter, medical examiner says

Four months after first responders discovered a woman and her daughter dead inside an SUV on the turnpike in Osceola County, Florida, medical examiners say they have answers about how the two died.

Dr. Gary Utz said a car battery leaked toxic hydrogen sulfide into the cabin of the SUV, where Latifa Lincoln, 46, and her 3-year-old daughter, Maksmilla, assumed they were safe.

"I don't have another reason for either of them to be dead," Utz said, calling the case "unprecedented."

The substance that hydrogen sulfide becomes in the body was nowhere to be found in the victims' blood, but Utz said a level of the substance was found in their urine.

The malfunctioning battery might have been nothing more than a nuisance, except that in the Porsche Cayenne, the battery isn't under the hood; it's under the driver's seat.

"Talking to the owners and the mechanics we have here, none of them have ever heard of anything like this in regard to a battery," said Ron Telleysh, manager of Auto Express Finance.

Telleysh said Auto Express sold the SUV to Lincoln.

"Nothing like this you ever see, ever," Telleysh said.

He said the car had a clean record and still had the battery with which it was sold.

He said his whole staff was saddened to learn that the woman and her daughter whom they had gotten to know were dead.

"I hope there are people out there that will take this seriously and find out what happened in this situation," Telleysh said.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration now has the battery from the SUV for testing.

Medical examiners say the case is so rare that drivers should not be worried about the batteries in their cars.