Julia Gonzalez was found dead in a Turlock (CA) park the morning of December 28, 2008. Her friends denied seeing her drink, but the autopsy revealed a blood-alcohol level incompatible with life.
As always, my condolences to her family and friends.
TURLOCK, CA - A 16-year-old girl found dead in a Turlock park last December died from alcohol poisoning with a blood-alcohol level over six times the adult legal limit, according to the findings of the Stanislaus County coroner's office.
Tests of Julia Gonzalez's blood showed an alcohol content of 0.52, six-and-a-half times the 0.08 limit to register as a legally drunk adult in California.
"It is rare that you hear of alcohol intoxication to this level," Turlock police Detective Brandon Bertram said.
Gonzalez, who lived with her grandmother, was last seen leaving home with friends about 7 p.m. on Dec. 27. At 5 a.m. the next morning, the teen's body was found by a passerby in Turlock's Pedretti Park.
While forensics were able to determine what killed the girl, the circumstances that led to her death remain mostly a mystery. Bertram said four other teens who admitted to seeing Gonzalez that night were questioned, but none have been accused of any wrongdoing.
However, no one has admitted to seeing the girl drink any alcohol that night, making it virtually impossible for authorities to establish exactly what happened in the ten hours after she left her home.
The sad case is also another disturbing glimpse inside the world of teen drinking, an issue with which Bertram says cops continue to struggle.
"It could be getting worse," Bertram said. "Binge drinking is a well-documented fact, not only on the high school level, but also on the college level."
Bertram still hopes someone will come forward with information about exactly what led to Gonzalez's death. Anyone with information about the girl's whereabout the night she died is asked to call the Turlock Police Department at 209-268-5590.
In 2004, at least nineteen people of college age died of alcohol toxicity (alcohol poisoning, alcohol overdose).
"There's no place that's actually keeping data on alcohol deaths"--Thomas Kunstman MD
In all cases, my deepest condolences to family and friends.
Signs of Alcohol Poisoning
Alcohol depresses nerves that control involuntary actions such as breathing, the heartbeat and the gag reflex that prevents choking. A fatal dose of alcohol will eventually stop these functions. After the victim stops drinking, the heart keeps beating, and the alcohol in the stomach continues to enter the bloodstream and circulate through the system. The victim may experience the following:
- Mental confusion, stupor, coma, unable to rouse the person
- No response to pinching the skin
- Vomiting while sleeping or unresponsive
- Slowed breathing (fewer than 8 breaths per minute)
- Irregular breathing (10 seconds or more between breaths)
- Hypothermia (low body temperature), bluish skin color, paleness
Alcohol Poisoning Requires Immediate Medical Attention
Alcohol Poisoning Cannot Be Reversed By:
- Drinking black coffee
- Taking a cold bath or shower
- Walking it off
The victim must have immediate medical attention.
Call 911, stay with the victim to prevent him choking on vomit, and tell emergency personnel how much alcohol the victim drank.
These Children Died of Alcohol Overdose, So Their Parents Started Foundations:
Taylor Webster's memorial foundation. Taylor died of alcohol poisoning at age 19-- Now his family and friends are working to get the message out, telling their stories and providing information on alcohol poisoning and the signs and symtoms of alcohol poisoning in hopes that lives will be saved.
Bradley McCue's memorial foundation. On November 5, 1998 Bradley turned 21. . He celebrated his birthday in a way that has become increasingly popular, drinking "his age in shots". That amount of alcohol was lethal and he died that night of alcohol poisoning.
Samantha Spady's memorial foundation. A 19-year old student at Colorado State University, Spady died of alcohol poisoning on September 5, 2004, "an unintentional tragedy." The Spadys say the SAM [Student Alcohol Management] Spady Foundation will develop peer-to-peer counseling and other services meant to reduce the risk of alcohol abuse.
Gordie Bailey's memorial foundation. The mission of the Gordie Foundation is to provide today’s youth with the skills to navigate the dangers of alcohol, and through education and promotion of self worth prevent alcohol poisoning, binge drinking and hazing.