01/22/2018 12:15 EST | Updated 01/22/2018 13:40 EST

Man, 2 women found in car: Faulty exhaust may be behind northern Alberta deaths

CONKLIN, Alta. — Police say a problem with the exhaust system may have caused the deaths of three people found in a car in northern Alberta earlier this month.

A security guard found two women and a man in the two-door car on a semi-remote access road near the hamlet of Conklin on Jan. 9.

Emergency medical responders were called, but all three were declared dead at the scene.

Wood Buffalo RCMP say a mechanical inspection determined a faulty part may have allowed carbon monoxide to get into the car.

Police say it's not known whether it was an existing problem or had occurred more recently.

Mounties say the investigation continues.

A police spokeswoman said earlier this month that the vehicle was turned off when it was found and the time of death was unknown.

There was also no immediate word on what the fuel level was in the car's gas tank. Temperatures in the region had been around -30 C.

The three were identified as 21-year-old Tristan Dave-Lawrence, who was living in Red Deer, Alta.; 22-year-old Tanisha Peterson of Camrose, Alta., and 29-year-old Cade Lavallee.

Conklin is a small community about 150 kilometres south of Fort McMurray.

The fatalities followed the deaths of a 17-year-old-boy and a 16-year-old girl who were found unconscious in a running car in a parking lot in Drayton Valley, southwest of Edmonton, just days before Christmas.

Police said late last month that a faulty exhaust system could be behind those deaths.