State’s Attorney: Lake Area Tech Student Died From Suffocation, Not Alcohol Poisoning

SIOUX FALLS – Authorities say it wasn’t alcohol poisoning that killed a 19-year-old Watertown student last month, but suffocation, and that they won’t be pursuing manslaughter charges against three people arrested in the case.

Codington County State’s Attorney Patrick McCann says a full autopsy revealed that the woman died of “positional asphyxia due to acute alcohol intoxication.” The woman’s blood alcohol content was determined to have been high, at .296, but not fatal.

Emergency crews were called to a  home in the 100 block of south 2nd ave. in Watertown just after 3:30 a.m. on March 21st. Court documents state the woman had been drinking vodka at the home that night with two 19-year-old men.

21-year-old Kayla Juhnke is charged with purchasing the alcohol. 19-year-old Brady Johnke is charged with furnishing it, and 19-year-old Logan Schilling is charged with permitting the consumption of the alcohol.

Police say the woman who died went to Lake Area Technical Institute, but is not from the area.

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