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Fort Hall Family Killed By Mysterious Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Four members of the Parrish family passed away from carbon monoxide poisoning February 23. Bill Parrish was a dentist on the Fort Hall Reservation.
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When four members of the Parrish family didn’t show up for church or Sunday dinner, other family members became worried. Bill and Ross Parrish, and their sons, 14-year-old Keegan and 12-year-old Liam, were found deceased in their home in Pocatello, Idaho by family members later in the evening on Sunday, February 23.

The Idaho State Journal reports that the family had no carbon monoxide detector in their home. Investigators are looking at a number of possibilities including a natural gas pipeline, a water heater, furnace or stove that may have malfunctioned in the family’s home.

“There is evidence that they knew that they were sick,” Bannock County Coroner Kim Quick told the Journal. “They just didn’t know what they were sick from.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control more than 400 Americans die from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning every year. “The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion,” says the CDC website.

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The Parrish family, left to right: Bill, Ross, Liam, Keegan, Jensen, Ian.

Since 1995, Bill Parrish had been working with the Not-tsoo-Gah-nee Health Center in Fort Hall as a dentist. He was appointed Chief Dental Officer in 2000.

“Dr. Parrish was a rare individual whose professional skills and personal traits allowed him to be both sincerely revered and highly respected by all who knew him well. CAPT Parrish was an extremely energetic, compassionate professional who had a winning spirit of excellence. He had an unsurpassed devotion to providing dental care and treatment to the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and other American Indian patients. He earned the admiration of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes Tribal Health and Human Services Department colleagues as a team player, leader and Joint Medical Professional Staff Chairman,” reads a statement from Fort Hall. “Dr. Parrish will be sorely missed by the Fort Hall Tribal community, his employees, Indian Health Service leadership, colleagues, Fort Hall Service Unit and Tribal Health Family and his community patients in Fort Hall.”

Bill and his wife have two other children who weren’t home at the time of the carbon monoxide poisoning. Jensen Parrish, 22, was in Vancouver and Ian Parrish, 20, was in North Dakota. Both were serving as missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and both have returned to Idaho to mourn with their extended family by their side.

“I guess a lot of people might see their cousin every year at the family reunion, but we saw each other several time a week, we grew up in the same houses,” Craig Parrish, Bill’s cousin told the Journal. “We’re a big family and we’re taking care of each other. Our faith, knowing that families are forever, is a comfort for us right now. God has a plan, we just don’t know what that is.”