A young couple in love who had been missing for almost a month were discovered together in a garage, slumped over in the front seats of a car, the apparent victims of carbon monoxide poisoning. The young lovers, Jorge Rodriguez, 24, and Melissa Pereira, 25, had apparently slipped away for some alone time inside a garage that Pereira's family owns in New Jersey. A neighbor saw them drive the car into the garage and thought they might be going in for a "little hanky panky." That was the last time they were seen alive.

The couple appear to have had the car running in order to stay warm -- the car's gas tank was reportedly empty and the battery dead when the bodies were found.

Family members say the couple were happy and planning a romantic trip to Pennsylvania for New Year's Eve and would have had no reason to commit suicide. No note was found. "This has to be an accident," Pereira's uncle, Sham Bacchus, told the Daily MailOnline.

Family members are disturbed that it took police this long to track the couple down, considering that Melissa had her cell phone on her and it was working and the phone could have been tracked. Police, however, say they checked the garage as soon as they learned the phone's whereabouts. Either way, this is a horrible tragedy.

Carbone monoxide poisoning is one of those things you tend to simply forget about -- you turn on your car to keep warm, and then nothing warns you to impending doom. It is silent, odorless, and painless. You fall asleep and then are gone.

By all accounts, the two were madly in love, and Melissa's last tweet was about Jorge. She wrote:

Weekend with my everything. :) #lovehim

But when the pair never showed at the hotel for their NYE getaway, Melissa's mother became concerned.

Family members seem convinced this was a horrible accident, and not double suicide. "They’re a loving couple and they would not kill themselves," one relative told the Daily MailOnline.

I suppose it is small comfort that a young vibrant couple's lives were snuffed out by such a random accident, but at least their lives were not taken violently by a stranger. Still, it must be absolutely devastating to know that such a small thing as running the car on a cold night could turn to such tragedy.

Are you careful about running your car in the garage?


Image via New Jersey State Police