Police said they believe suicide and an accidental death are to blame in the deaths of a man and his teenaged son Wednesday.
The two bodies found in an apartment complex in Mountain View on Wednesday have been identified as 53-year-old Lian "James" Liu and his 17-year-old son, William Liu by the Santa Clara County Medical Examiner-Coroner's Office. Liu was the store director of the Milk Pail Market in Mountain View.
"While we are continuing to investigate this case, at this point in time the deaths of our two victims appear to be the result of a suicide along with one accidental death," said Mountain View police Monday via the department's blog. The coroner's office reported that the cause of death for Liu and his son William is still pending as of Monday morning, as toxicology reports are not yet back.
Liu was not only the store director but also the brother-in-law of Steve Rasmussen, owner of the Milk Pail Market. According to a Facebook post by Kai Rasmussen, Liu's niece, he was a "brilliant manager, buyer, and grocer who was greatly admired by our staff, customers, and vendors alike."
Police continue continue to investigate the source of the noxious smell that broke out at 2025 California St. Sept. 24 and triggered an evacuation. The bodies of both victims were located in one of the apartment units by fire crews.
Investigators later found that calcium sulfide and sulfuric acid were present in the the complex at 2025 California St., as well as the byproducts of both chemicals -- sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide, according to Shino Tanaka, spokeswoman for the Mountain View Police Department.
Hydrogen sulfide in lower concentrations can cause nausea, eye irritation and headaches, according to the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration. Higher concentrations can lead to unconsciousness, serious eye damage and death.
Sulfur dioxide is a colorless gas with a pungent odor that causes irritation to the eyes and skin, and can lead to eye damage, lung damage and skin burns.
Police are not releasing any additional information on the investigation.
Police received reports of the noxious "rotten egg" smell in the apartment complex at 6:09 p.m. Wednesday night, and evacuated residents in the area until 8 a.m. the next morning.
During the evacuation and investigation, four responding officers were sickened by the fumes and reported feeling lightheaded. They were treated and released.
Tanaka confirmed that the noxious smell was not caused by a gas leak, and that no suicide note had been left at the apartment where the two bodies were located. Police had originally suspected a gas leak caused the noxious smell, and PG&E crews shut off gas lines in the area.
Another apartment building adjacent to the complex was also evacuated, and an estimated 30 or 40 evacuees were sheltered at the nearby community center on Rengstorff Avenue.