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February 10, 2010 - Two Sisters Apparently Killed by Pesticide

A 15-month-old Utah girl died Tuesday, three days after her 4-year-old sister was killed by apparent pesticide poisoning, officials said.

Investigators say Rachel and Rebecca Toone may have been poisoned by pellets an exterminator used on their family's lawn in Layton Friday, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. Fumitoxin aluminum phosphide pellets were dropped into burrows on the lawn to kill voles, small rodents that resemble mice.

Rebecca began having trouble breathing Saturday and died within hours. The rest of the family was hospitalized overnight with flu-like symptoms. Rachel became sick again Sunday and was hospitalized again.

Bugman Pest and Lawn, a Bountiful company, placed about 1 1/2 pounds of the pesticide within 7 feet of the front door of the house, Lt. Col. Tyler Smith of the Utah National Guard said. He said phosphine gas given off by the pellets may have collected under the porch and seeped into the house.

Lt. Quinn Moyes of the Layton Police Department said investigators were still examining what the pest company did and whether its employees made mistakes that led to the girls' deaths.

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