California teenager dies after rave, following two similar deaths in state

Reuters News
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Posted: Aug 18, 2015 2:59 PM

By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A 15-year-old girl has died of a suspected drug overdose after attending a rave party in Central California, police said on Tuesday, marking the third fatality in the state this month tied to an electronic dance music festival.

The latest rave death occurred as electronic dance promoters in California come under increased pressure to change how they operate their events, which authorities say too often result in participants suffering overdoses after taking the party drug ecstasy.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday was expected to receive a report on a proposal to prohibit raves on county property while officials examine measures to potentially make the marathon dance events safer.

The 15-year-old girl who died in Fresno, less than 200 miles (322 km) north of Los Angeles, had attended the Zoo-Tronic rave on Saturday night at the Fresno Fairgrounds, Fresno police spokesman Lieutenant Joe Gomez said.

The teenager, identified by the coroner's office as Houa Lai Hue, left the event at around midnight and walked across the street to a McDonald's where she met a 62-year-old man and asked for a car ride, Gomez said.

The girl, who may have been confused, asked the driver to take her to a series of different addresses, Gomez said.

The man eventually drove to his apartment complex and parked outside, where he fell asleep in the front seat of the car with the girl in the back seat, Gomez said.

When he woke up on Sunday morning, he found the girl lifeless in the backseat, police said.

"There's a lot of things unusual about this," Gomez said.

Investigators do not believe the man committed any sexual assault or other wrongdoing against the teenager, and she appears to have died of a drug overdose, Gomez said.

Toxicology results are pending to determine what drug might have caused her death, according to the Fresno County Coroner's Office.

The girl's older brother, Keng Hue, told Fresno television station KFSN his sister was not acting like herself at the rave.

"She was just tired, mad," Keng Hue told the station. "She just like, I don't know, (had an) attitude."

The rave-related deaths of two young women that caused Los Angeles County officials to become alarmed involved the Hard Summer electronic music festival at the Pomona Fairplex.

Both women died in hospitals on Aug. 1 after attending the event, said Los Angeles County Coroner's Office assistant chief Ed Winter. Toxicology results are pending.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Sandra Maler)