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Teens Found Dead Beside Empty Can of Four Loko

Four Loko Energy Drink

California authorities were investigating the deaths of two teenagers whose bodies were found near an empty can of Four Loko, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday.

Aaron Saenz, 15, and Chelsea Taylor, 16, were found dead in a vacant Huntington Beach apartment on Friday just after 10 am local time. Police had responded to a call from apartment managers, who saw the teens through a window and were unsure whether the two were dead or alive.

Huntington Beach Police Lt. Russell Reinhart said the teens died of drug and alcohol-related causes.

Police found an empty can of caffeine-alcohol drink Four Loko -- banned in some US states -- in the apartment, the Times said.

Mitchell Sigal, supervising deputy coroner for Orange County would not confirm their causes of death, saying the investigation was ongoing.

Four Loko, which has been dubbed "blackout in a can" by some drinkers, sells for under $3 and contains as much alcohol as nearly five beers and as much caffeine as several cups of coffee.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sent official warning letters in November to the manufacturers of four caffeinated-alcoholic beverages, including Four Loko, saying it would not rule out seizing their products in the name of safety.

The companies were given 15 days to prove they would stop selling caffeinated products.
Phusion Projects, the maker of Four Loko, had already announced that it would strip its fruity canned beverages of all caffeine, though it continued to assert that the combination of alcohol and caffeine was safe.

The drink has been called a factor in the death of a 17-year-old girl who died when she drank Four Loko after taking a diet pill, the drunk-driving death of a 21-year-old and the hospitalization of nine college students in Washington whom police initially believed to have been dosed with date rape drugs, but were later found to have consumed rum, vodka and beer in addition to Four Loko.

The drink remains legal in California, but states including Washington, Utah, Michigan, New York and Oklahoma have banned the sale of caffeinated alcoholic drinks.