Coral Springs, FL – A few days ago, Jonelle Bartley was packing clothes, picture frames and
books into boxes.
She was preparing to leave today for Gainesville to finish up her degree at
the University of Florida.
Bartley was found dead of apparent carbon monoxide poisoning in a Coral
Springs town house with her boyfriend and her boyfriend’s pet Sheltie.
The bodies of Bartley, 22, of Lauderdale Lakes, and her boyfriend of two
years, Leighton Batiste, 26, were found Friday by Batiste’s half-sister,
Gabrielle Forbush, in the town house Batiste shared with Forbush at Wyndham
Lakes in Coral Springs.
Police said a green, two-door 1999 Honda Accord was left running in the
first-floor garage of the three-story townhome in the 11600 block of
Northwest 56th Drive.
When police entered in the home Friday, the carbon monoxide level was off
the charts, said Sgt. Joe McHugh, a Coral Springs police spokesman.
Bartley’s mother, Diane Reid, said her daughter and boyfriend were “very
humble and respectful.”
”She was loved,” Reid sobbed. “I don’t know what to do now. She was my
hope and my dream. I told her that if I were to die tomorrow, to just keep
on going, never stop. Now she’s gone.”
Bartley, who was on the dean’s list at Broward Community College, came to
the United States from Clarendon, Jamaica, in 2002. While attending BCC, she
worked at BankAtlantic in Fort Lauderdale. She planned to become an
”They were very in love,” said Ann Simms, Bartley’s aunt. “He was an
accountant, and she was studying.”
Batiste’s family members declined to comment Friday, saying they were going
through a private moment.
Forbush found the couple when she returned home Friday morning. Batiste was
face-up in the bedroom near the bed, and Bartley was face-down in the
Forbush’s found her brown and white Sheltie dead behind the couch.
Forbush told police she began feeling ill several minutes after entering the
The home did not have a carbon monoxide detector, police said.
State law requires that homes and apartment buildings built with a heater,
fireplace or attached garage after July, 1, 2008, must have a carbon
monoxide alarm within 10 feet of bedrooms.
Carbon monoxide is one of the leading causes of accidental deaths. The
odorless, colorless and tasteless gas kills about 480 people each year, and
sends an additional 15,200 to hospital emergency rooms, according to the
U.S. Fire Administration.
Coral Springs police continued their investigation Friday.