AUTOPSY RESULTS IN ON GIRLS’ DEATH LEAP — (Press-Telegram)

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Press-Telegram (Long Beach, CA)

July 12, 1996

Author: G.M. Bush,  Staff writer

Two teen-age girls who apparently jumped off a cliff at Point Fermin in a suicide pact seven weeks ago were not under the influence of alcohol or illicit drugs, the Coroner’s Office reported Thursday.  

The bodies of Alicia Hayes, 15, and her best friend, Amber Hernandez, 14, were found on the rocky ocean shore on May 23. Each had broken remnants of twine wrapped around a wrist, leading investigators to speculate that they may have been bound together when they leapt from the craggy cliff.

After the tragedy, Alicia’s parents, Becky and Dave Jordan, spoke about their daughter’s former heavy use of LSD and other illicit drugs. Although she had not taken drugs for some time, her father thought she may have suffered neurological damage from prior use of LSD. Her mother called the suicide   “the aftermath of the drugs.”

But Craig Harvey, chief of investigations at the Coroner’s Office, said toxicological tests showed that neither girl had LSD in her system. Nor was there any evidence of other hard drugs or alcohol.

Alicia, however, did have traces of fluoxetine — a prescription drug used to treat mental depression — and a related drug, norfluoxetine, in her system. Fluoxetine is the chemical name for Prozac.   The tests found 1.30 micrograms per milliliter of fluoxetine and 3.20 micrograms per milliliter of norfluoxetine in her blood.

No fluoxetine was found in Amber’s system, based on tests of her spleen. The only chemical discovery was a slight trace of ethanol, Harvey said.  Dr. Skip Hinchman, an expert on juvenile suicide and executive director of the Greater Long Beach Child Guidance Center, said despite numerous stories, there is no hard data showing Prozac to be a cause of suicide.

More than a year before the girls died, the Jordans found several letters about suicide written by their daughter and several of her friends. However, they said, she remained clean and sober for at least a month before her death. Two days before they died, the girls attended a Tough Love program at a nearby church and talked about returning the following week.

The Greater Long Beach Child Guidance Center has opened a full-time branch office in San Pedro to help troubled teen-agers deal with problems. The San Pedro clinic is located at 333 W. Sixth St. For more information, call (310) 424-4227.

Record Number:  9607120085