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Father, Daughter Found Dead on Houseboat, Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Suspected

By Zachary Stieber

A father and daughter were found dead on a houseboat and authorities said they suspect carbon monoxide poisoning was the cause.

John LeBarre, 57, and his daughter Denielle LeBarre, 27, residents of Discovery Bay, were on their houseboat to watch fireworks for the Fourth of July.

They were found dead on July 5 in the lower part of the houseboat, which was anchored in the San Joaquin Delta.

The San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement that conditions on the boat pointed to carbon monoxide poisoning.

“When emergency personnel arrived on scene, their CO detectors alerted them that there were high levels of carbon monoxide in the air,” sheriff’s office spokesperson Andrea Lopez told KCRA.

“However, we still have toxicology tests and autopsy pending.’’

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, gasoline-powered engines on boats produce carbon monoxide, a colorless and odorless gas that can poison or kill in just seconds.

“Traveling at slow speeds or idling in the water can cause CO to build up in a boat’s cabin, cockpit, bridge, and aft deck, or in an open area. Wind from the aft section of the boat can increase this buildup of CO,” it stated.

Dannelle Kent, who was sleeping on the top part of the houseboat, said she smelled fumes and went downstairs to find the bodies.

Firefighters and other personnel arrived around 90 minutes later and took action.

“As soon as they arrived their carbon monoxide detectors were going off, they put their masks on and immediately took me away into an ambulance to be treated for mild symptoms,” Kent told CBS 13.

The houseboat is a 1972 Nautaline and did not have a carbon monoxide detector.

Marcelo Vararela, who owns two houseboats in the area, said detectors don’t cost much and are easy to install.

“I think it’s time for everybody to check their boats, and if it’s an older boat that doesn’t come equipped with it automatically, it’s time to think about this,” Vararela said.

“People don’t know that it kills number one and for two that it’s so easily prevented,” added Eric Franzen, who has lived in the Bay for 25 years.

Jody Gianni, who knew John LeBarre for 25 years, told KCRA: “It’s unbelievable and tragic and sad. It shouldn’t happen. With today’s technology it’s just unbelievable.”

Friends remembered both LeBarres as good people.

“Definitely a big personality. Big heart,” Gianni said. “Always looking out for everybody else. Putting himself last. Making sure everyone was taken care of. Took pride in taking care of his fiancée and children.”

Jeanne Frigard, who worked with Danielle in the past, added: “How tragic it is because she was so electric. I thought she was full of life. And her life was definitely cut too short.”

Kent was identified in some reports as John LaBerre’s fiancée.

Friends started a GoFundMe fundraiser for costs associated with the deaths.

“My best friend Danelle lost her soulmate John and his daughter Denielle from a tragic accident on the Delta this weekend,” one wrote. “She now has so many unexpected costs she will be facing. All of us that knows Danelle knows what big heart she has and she would be the first helping anyone.”