MIAMI — The day after Christmas, Juchen Martial wanted to celebrate his 19th birthday.
So he and four friends from their Little Haiti neighborhood rented a Hialeah motel room Sunday for a night of fun and fast food.
By 2 p.m., a hotel maid discovered all five teenagers dead, apparently poisoned by carbon monoxide fumes.
The car they had driven — a red Kia Optima — was left running in the bottom-floor, single-car garage. The door to the interior stairway leading to the room on the second floor was opened slightly, allowing the odorless, deadly fumes to seep upstairs.
The car engine was still running when Hialeah police and firefighters arrived at the hotel Monday afternoon.
The victims were Martial, who turned 19 on Sunday; Evans Charles, 19; Jonas Antenor, 18; Peterson Nazon, 17; and Jean Pierre Ferdinand, 16.
The five were found in their street clothes on or around a bed.
The teens had checked in Sunday at about 9 p.m. to the Hotel Presidente near Miami International Airport.
Friend Richard Dalce, 26, said the group decided to leave the car running to keep the battery charged.
“They didn’t want to cut the car off,” Dalce said.