LATI Student Died of Asphyxiation

An official cause of death has been determined for a Lake Area Tech student who died last month after a night of drinking.

Codington County State’s Attorney Patrick McCann tells KWAT News the cause of death was, “positional asphyxia due to acute alcohol intoxication.”

That essentially means the victim suffocated.

That was the finding of a final autopsy conducted recently by a forensic pathologist in Minnehaha County.

The nineteen year-old was found unresponsive at a residence at 113 2nd Street Southwest in Watertown during the early morning hours of March 21st. She was taken to Prairie Lakes Hospital where she was pronounced dead just over one hour after the initial police call.

Her blood-alcohol concentration at the hospital was found to be .296 percent. McCann says that, in and of itself, was not a fatal level.

Three people were charged with misdemeanor crimes in connection with the death.

Twenty one year-old Kayla Juhnke was charged with purchasing the alcohol that was consumed that night.

Nineteen year-old Brady Johnke is charged with furnishing the alcohol that was consumed.

Nineteen year-old Logan Schilling is charged with A Social Host misdemeanor for providing the location for which the alcohol was consumed.

All three defendants are due back in court on April 25th. Schilling has pleaded no contest, Juhnke will plead either no contest or guilty, and Johnke has yet to enter a plea.

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