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BAKERSFIELD – Local disc jockey Karen Garcia’s 2005 death was an accident, not a murder, the coroner’s office has decided. The ruling, announced this morning, comes after a near year-long homicide investigation.
During the last 12 months, as detectives canvassed her neighborhood looking for clues and witnesses, the coroner’s office undertook an intensive and sophisticated re-examination of the medical evidence in the case.
Pathologists now believe Garcia, 34, suffered a seizure on Nov. 5, 2005, and that seizure caused her to slip from where she sat at her desk and rendered her unconscious. She fell to a kneeling position with her body slumping forward, and that position blocked her airway.
The death was attributed to “positional asphyxia,” the coroner reported.
The seizure was caused by Garcia’s use of the prescription drug Buproprion, the anti-depressant sold under the brand name Wellbutrin, the coroner’s office said. Shortly before her death, the report said, Garcia had upped her dosage from 150 mg to 300 mg per day.
“Substantial amounts of Bupropion were detected,” in the autopsy, said pathologist Dr. Steven Karch.
”The amount present was not consistent with an intentional overdose, but use of Bupropion, even at modest levels, is associated with the unpredictable occurrence of grand mal seizures, and these may be fatal.”