Grieving family of mother and son found dead in Kendall share their story

Paulette Gilman is mourning the loss of her nephew and sister-in-law. Joan Gilman, 38, and her son RJ, 14, were found dead in their Kendall apartment last Wednesday from possible carbon monoxide poisoning. (WHAM photo)

Kendall, N.Y. (WHAM) - The family of the mother and son found dead in their apartment in Kendall continue to mourn their loss.

Joan Gilman, 38, and her son RJ, 14, were found in an upstairs bedroom last Wednesday. Deputies say it’s possible their deaths were caused by carbon monoxide poisoning

Paulette Gilman held back tears as she tried to come to grips with the loss of her nephew and sister-in-law known to everyone as Jo.

“They were amazing people, and this is just so sad,” said Gilman. "They were in one room and RJ had made a bed of blankets on the floor next to her bed to try and stay warm. They went to sleep and just didn't wake up."

Gilman believes the tragedy could have been prevented.

"It's just a senseless tragedy,” said Gilman. “It shouldn't have happened. Jo did everything that she could for that boy. She loved him to no end."

Deputies said Joan's duplex had its power shut off days before, and a portable generator along with propane powered appliances were being used.

Gilman, however, claims neither the generator nor the appliances were being used to heat or power Joan's apartment.

"She said she didn't understand why the power had been shut off,” said Gilman. “She had given the property manager a substantial amount of money the week or two before."

Gilman said Joan was a devoted mother. She said RJ was like any other young teen who had an infectious smile and what Gilman described as a 'Gilman' sense of humor.

“RJ, he was a sweetheart. He loved playing video games and hanging out with all his cousins and aunts and just everybody,” said Gilman. “Every time we got a picture of him and he knew it, he was always making a goofy face. Always trying to make us smile."

A funeral for both Joan and RJ is being held Saturday at First Baptist Church in Albion. A GoFundMe page has been set up in their honor.

The Orleans County Sheriff's Office is still investigating their deaths.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off