New Details Revealed in Death of Gilroy Teen - NBC Bay Area

New Details Revealed in Death of Gilroy Teen



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    Gilroy police held a news conference Monday to "clear up mistaken information that has surfaced" in the case of a 15 year girl who died after a sleepover at a friend's home a little over a week ago.

    The news brought little comfort to the hundreds of people who came to Gilroy on the same day for Sarah Botill's funeral.

    Police have said from the beginning that alcohol played a role in Botill's, but gave new details on how she got her hands on alcohol in the hours before she died.  They also corrected published reports about what was found in Botill's lungs after her death.

    Police said Botill, the daughter of a Gilroy firefighter, drank beer and vodka with two friends in the early morning hours of Dec. 5.

    New Details Revealed in Gilroy Teen Death

    [BAY] New Details Revealed in Gilroy Teen Death
    Gilroy police released additional details on the chain of events leading up to the death of a 15-year-old girl at a sleepover on Dec. 5, but said the exact cause of her death is not yet known.
    (Published Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2009)

    The sleepover was held at the home of Gilroy councilman Roland Velasco.  His daughter was celebrating her 16th birthday.

    Police say the girls left the house and went to a boy's home late Friday. They said Botill got a beer out of the refrigerator of that home.  They say once back at the Velasco home, one of the girls got out some vodka she brought to the party. The three girls consumed a total of 12 ounces of hard liquor between them.  That is the amount of a can of soda.

    Either the alcohol or something else made Botill sick enough to vomit several times in the following hours.

    Some time after 7 a.m. two of the girls got into swimsuits and got in the shower in an effort to clean up the vomit.

    Around 8 a.m. the girls asked for help from the parents who called 911 after finding Botill unresponsive.

    Police spokesman Sgt. Jim Gillio refuted reports that the teen had large amounts of water in her lungs when she died.
    "Sarah did not have water in her lungs," he said.   There had been speculation that the Botill may have drowned from water she inhaled during the shower.

    The preliminary coroner's reports did find that Botill had a condition  known as pulmonary vascular congestion with mild edema.   Experts say that means the autopsy showed Botill's lungs reacted the same way they would have if she had drowned.   They say something triggered changes in the lining of her vessels which forced blood to seep into the airways of her lungs.  Doctors told NBC Bay Area it is possible that her condition was linked to alcohol poisoning.  They say alcohol poisoning can slow or shut down your heart and lungs, adding drinkers who have a low tolerance are more at risk for an extreme reaction, which may have been the case with Sarah.

    The Gilroy Police Department is awaiting final toxicology reports  from the medical examiner's office before they can determine whether to press  charges against anyone involved in supplying the alcohol, Gillio said.