Authorities have charged a Quincy mother with the first-degree murder of her 8-year-old son in what was an apparent suicide attempt using a charcoal grill.

Li Rong Zhang, 39, was charged from her hospital bed in Boston on Friday, authorities announced.

Her son, Brendon Yang, was found in the bedroom with her. He was lying face down on the bed and she was on the floor. Both of them were unconscious and not breathing when emergency crews arrived to the family’s Quincy home about 3:45 p.m. Thursday.

In the middle of the room was a “wok-type, hibachi-type grill ... emitting smoke,” said Quincy Police Chief Paul Keenan.

Zhang’s 16-year-old son came home and noticed the smoke. He could not get into the bedroom and called for help.

“When the fire department did get to the second floor, they did have to force entry,” Keenan said. “There was a large bureau-type piece of furniture that was blocking the door.”
The death was difficult for many, including the authorities investigating it.

“My heart goes out for anybody with young kids and for especially with having a family member come in and find evidence of smoke,” Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey told reporters shortly after the incident.

Charcoal suicide common in Asia

The way Zhang allegedly killed her son and tried to kill herself is not
that uncommon.

Charcoal-burning suicide is common in Asian cities, according the Macau
Daily Times, which reported that Hong Kong had to limit access to
charcoal in supermarkets.

The BBC reported that burning charcoal is the most common method of
family suicide in Taiwan.

“It is considered easier ... and allows the family to die at the same
time,” it stated.

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