By: Sylvia Ramirez - Tue, 19 Feb 2013 15:35:33 -0800
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE (BCN) -- Investigators are saying that Alyssa Byrne, the 19-year-old Petaluma woman who was found dead in the snow in South Lake Tahoe on New Year's Eve, died of hypothermia and had drugs in her system, an El Dorado County sheriff's spokesman said today.
"The cause of death is listed as probable hypothermia due to prolonged environmental exposure," sheriff's Lt. Pete Van Arnum said in a news release.
The results of Byrne's autopsy, which was conducted by the Sacramento County coroner's office, were released Monday.
"Other significant conditions are listed as methamphetamine toxicity, and multiple psychoactive drug ingestion," Van Arnum said.
He did not disclose what what psychoactive drugs Byrne had ingested.
The El Dorado County Sheriff's Office said it appears Byrne left the SnowGlobe Music
Festival at Lake Tahoe Community College late on New Year's Eve night and started walking in single-digit temperatures back to the Horizon Casino resort two or three miles away in Stateline, Nev., instead of taking a shuttle bus.
Her body was found Jan. 4 within a mile of the college behind a snow bank along Pioneer Trail in South Lake Tahoe.
Van Arnum said Byrne had turned right instead of left on Pioneer Trail and walked west, away from the casino. Her boot prints in the snow were parallel to the snow bank, Van Arnum said.
Byrne was fully clothed, but her white jacket was found about 100 yards from her body, leading investigators to believe she may have become disoriented and confused from hypothermia, which initially makes one feel warm before the body's core temperature drops to a lethal level.
The autopsy found no signs of trauma to her body that would indicate foul play.
Tissue and blood samples were taken to determine if alcohol or drugs were in her system. The autopsy results released Monday made no mention of alcohol in her blood.
Byrne, an aspiring paramedic-firefighter, was studying at Santa Rosa Junior College. She worked as a hostess at the Cattlemen's restaurant in Petaluma.
The 2011 Grande High School graduate had played lacrosse, baseball, softball and basketball.
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