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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, January 22, 2004

Cheerleader wasn't drugged before fatal fall

By Timothy Hurley
Advertiser Maui County Bureau

WAILUKU, Maui — "Date-rape" drugs were not present in the body of 18-year-old cheerleader Lauren Crossan when she fell 80 feet to her death from a Ka'anapali hotel balcony Jan. 12, the Maui County medical examiner said yesterday.

Dr. Anthony Manoukian said toxicology test results found no evidence of Rohypnol and gamma-hydroxybutyrate, or GHB, which are the most common drugs used in "date-rape" assaults in which victims are unknowingly drugged.

Crossan, who was to perform with hundreds of cheerleaders at last Saturday's Hula Bowl college all-star football game, had arrived on Maui at 4:45 p.m. Jan. 11 and died less than 12 hours later. Her nude body was found below the ninth-floor balcony from which she fell.

The balcony belonged to a room registered to two California men whom she had met hours earlier. The men, aged 19 and 20, were arrested and questioned by police but released.

Autopsy results found no apparent sign of foul play, no sign of a struggle or any evidence of sexual assault, authorities said. Her injuries were consistent with a fall. Police have classified the case as a "miscellaneous accident."

Crossan's injuries indicate she hit "an intermediate object," possibly the building, during her fall, suggesting that she slipped and fell straight down. If she had jumped or been pushed, she likely would have cleared the building, he said.

Manoukian said test results show the victim had a blood-alcohol level of .17 percent, which is twice the legal threshhold for drunken driving. Police incorrectly reported yesterday her alcohol-blood level was .18.

The medical examiner described Crossan's state at the time of her death as "markedly intoxicated," a level equivalent to being under the influence of eight or nine drinks, though she probably had consumed more earlier in the day. The police investigation indicates she began drinking soon after she arrived in Lahaina and met up with other young people on Front Street.

Factoring in her inexperience as a drinker and the jet lag from a long flight from New Jersey, Crossan was susceptible to disorientation, mental confusion and loss of critical judgment, especially as it relates to time and distance, Manoukian said.

Manoukian set the time of death at between 1:30 a.m. — the last time anyone in her traveling party heard from her — and 3 a.m.

The two California men in the room said they went to sleep around 1:30 a.m. and didn't know what happened to the woman.

Manoukian said the evidence points to an accident, though he's still awaiting blood results testing for more than 1,000 compounds. The results also will show whether she ingested any substances just before her fall.

Reach Timothy Hurley at (808) 244-4808 or thurley@honoluluadvertiser.com.