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Prosecutor: No criminal charges in Niles hotel carbon monoxide death

Posted at 4:07 PM, Jun 08, 2017

NILES, Mich. - The Berrien County Prosecutor says he will not be filing any criminal charges in connection with the death of a Nile teen at a hotel pool.

Bryan Watts, 13, died on April 1st from carbon monoxide poisoning while swimming with friends at the Quality Inn on 11th Street in Niles.

Prosecutor Michael Sepic says that the incident was likely caused by a pool heater ventilation pipe that had disconnected from the pool heater. The carbon monoxide leaked into a closed maintenance room and then vented out into the pool area.

Sepic says that criminal charges would be appropriate if there was evidence of intent or from "gross, wanton or willful" negligence. He says the owner replaced the pool heater in 2012 and the person who replaced the heater then may have been negligent, but not to the level of being grossly negligent.

Sepic says the decision has no impact on the civil liability of the hotel.