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Cause of death released for 6 victims in Gainesville liquid nitrogen leak

The victims include five men and one woman.

GAINESVILLE, Ga. — Authorities have released the cause of death for the six victims who died in a chicken plant's liquid nitrogen leak in January. According to the Hall County Sheriff's Office press release, all six victims died from "asphyxia due to, or as a consequence of liquid nitrogen exposure." 

The victims include five men and one woman:  

  • Jose DeJesus Elias-Cabrera, 45, of Gainesville
  • Corey Alan Murphy, 35, of Clermont
  • Nelly Perez-Rafael, 28, of Gainesville 
  • Saulo Suarez-Bernal, 41, of Dawsonville
  • Victor Vellez, 38, of Gainesville
  • Edgar Vera-Garcia, 28, of Gainesville

First responders were called to Foundation Food Group, previously known as Prime Pak Foods on Memorial Park Drive on Jan. 28 to respond to the scene. Several employees were taken to the hospital, including a few firefighters. Authorities said the preliminary investigation showed a nitrogen line ruptured, causing the leak.

Since the investigation began, two wrongful death lawsuits have been filed. The lawsuits call for the industrial gas company to be held accountable for the incident.

The first lawsuit was filed by the spouse of victim Corey Murphy. 11Alive previously interviewed two attorneys who are representing the plaintiff(s). Attorney Ronny Hulsey said he wants clarity and justice for all the victims.

“Now that we have filed it, we’re going to be able to get in there and get our experts and be able to investigate and determine what’s going on,” he said.

The second lawsuit was filed on behalf of another victim’s family.

“This helps every family,” attorney Cook said to 11Alive last month. “Because the information that’s gathered is part of the public record and sometimes the best disinfectant is a little bit of sunshine. And that’s what a lawsuit does,” he said.

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