Officials are still waiting on a toxicology report for 16-year-old Kelsey Burris, a Dana Hills High School sophomore who died March 26, but they say the cause of death was most likely an accidental drug overdose. They said the investigation would continue.
The O.C. Sheriff's Department was called to the home of Burris' 19-year-old boyfriend at 3:17 a.m. on March 26.
"The call came in that a 16-year-old female was unresponsive, and paramedics were also called," said public information officer Jim Amormino. "When paramedics arrived, she was unresponsive. She was transported to San Clemente Hospital, where she was pronounced dead on arrival."
At the time, Amormino said the unnamed boyfriend told police that the two fell asleep Friday evening, March 25, and when he woke up the next morning, Burris was not responding.
A memorial service was held for Burris on April 3.
"It's not unusual that the toxicology report hasn't come back yet," said O.C. sheriff's Investigator Dan Salcedo. "Typically, it takes several weeks, sometimes even months. In fact, I just received a report from a case that happened in January a few days ago."
Salcedo said the toxicology report will help to pinpoint what Burris died from and if the findings corroborate witnesses' statements last month.
Drug use among teens is a growing problem in the county, he said, and heroin and prescription drugs are among the drugs of choice.
Salcedo said heroin can be purchased for as little as $10.
“It appears that kids are experimenting with harder-core drugs than in the past," Salcedo said. "We have seen a higher number of kids overdosing recently. The misconception is that drug addicts should look a certain way, as Hollywood portrays them. Not the case. A heroin or prescription-medication addict can look and function like an everyday person–work, school, etc. Parents need to know this.”
Salcedo suggested that parents be more attuned to what their kids are doing away from home and who their kids' peers are, as well as changes in their appearance and routine.
"I can’t really stress enough that in the death investigations we have been called out to, the kids who have overdosed kept their habit undetected. An overdose death could be that person’s first experience with that drug, or they may have used it many times. However, the end result was their death. They don’t get a second chance to learn their lesson. It’s unfortunate to say, but parents should really pay attention to what may be missing from their medicine cabinets."