SANTA ROSA (CBS SF) – A 14-year-old girl who was found dead in her bedroom the morning after a sleepover last summer died from drinking GHB, a so-called “date rape” drug, according to the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office.
The sheriff’s office is still investigating where the girl, Takeimi Rao, got the GHB, or gamma hydroxybutyric acid, sheriff’s Lt. Dennis O’Leary said.
The drug is found in some cleaning solvents, but investigators have not recovered any such substances from the teen’s home, O’Leary said.
It is also possible that the girls at the July 9 sleepover at the teen’s home on Foothill Ranch Road, north of Santa Rosa, drank a liquid containing GHB by mistake, O’Leary said.
The girls gave no information about how they might have come in contact with the drug, O’Leary said.
“Three girls said they drank a liquid in a cup and didn’t like the taste and stopped drinking it and were sick later,” O’Leary said Wednesday morning.
Rao and three friends went to sleep on the floor of the teen’s bedroom, O’Leary said.
Her three friends became ill and started vomiting around 3 a.m., and Rao’s mother helped clean them before they went back to sleep, O’Leary said.
Rao appeared to be asleep at the time, but it is now believed she died between 2 and 4 a.m., O’Leary said. Her mother found her unresponsive around 9 a.m.
It was initially thought that the girls had food poisoning, O’Leary said in July. Alcohol poisoning was also a possibility, but an autopsy found minimal levels of alcohol in Rao’s blood and no evidence that the teen choked in her sleep, O’Leary said.
Additional toxicology tests were performed, and the results this week determined that Rao died of GHB poisoning, O’Leary said.
Traces of GHB were found in the paper cups the girls drank from and in a plastic water bottle, O’Leary said.
Sheriff’s investigators collected a bottle of vodka in the house but it did not contain GHB, O’Leary said.
Rao’s parents said there might have been some cleaning solvent containing GHB in another empty vodka bottle that was not collected and was later thrown out, O’Leary said.
GHB can inhibit breathing and cause asphyxia, O’Leary said.
It can be in the form of an odorless, colorless liquid or white powder and is commonly mixed with alcohol, according to the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.
The drug is popular among teens and young adults at dance clubs and “raves” and is easy to synthesize and manufacture, according to the DEA.
It causes drowsiness, dizziness, nausea and visual disturbance at lower doses and unconsciousness, seizures, severe respiratory depression and coma in higher doses, DEA officials said.
Known as a “date rape” drug, GHB has been used to commit sexual assaults on victims who are rendered incapable of resisting, and can cause memory problems that make it difficult to prosecute offenders, according to the DEA.
O’Leary said anyone with information about how the teens acquired GHB is asked to call the sheriff’s office at (707) 565-2650 or make a report anonymously online at http://www.sonomasheriff.org.
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