Nevada authorities said Tuesday the Las Vegas cryotherapy spa where an employee was found frozen to death inside a liquid nitrogen chamber wasn’t licensed by the city, county or state to perform procedures.
Rejuvenice received a stop work order following the death of Chelsea Patricia Ake-Salvacion, 24, who was found Oct. 20 in a chamber used to provide pain treatments and soothe other conditions.
"When they found her, she was rock solid frozen," Albert Ake, the dead woman's uncle, told the Associated Press.
Las Vegas police said the death didn’t appear to be suspicious and closed the case without a criminal investigation.
Ake said he was told his niece texted her boyfriend on the night of her death and said she was going to use the cryotherapy chamber at the spa. She was also seen on security video locking the salon, he said. Her co-worker arrived the next day and noticed Ake-Salvacion’s car still in the parking lot and her belongings in the spa, Ake said.
Ake said he was troubled by reports that his niece misused the cryotherapy chamber or made a mistake. He said he was told she died within moments.
"Something went wrong," Ake said. "It's not operator error if she died within seconds."
When someone goes through a cryotherapy session, they are exposed to extremely cold temperatures for short periods of time. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports cryotherapy is marketed as way to lose weight.
Sub Zero Recovery, another Las Vegas cryotherapy spa, monitors its clients as soon as they are ready for treatment.
“You should never put yourself in here alone," manager Dawn Napuunoa told the Review-Journal. She said her employees make sure they stay in constant communication with their clients.
Clark County Coroner John Fudenberg said no reports about Ake-Salvacion’s death had been released by his office as of Tuesday. The official cause of death is still pending the results of toxicology results.
Rejuvenice Cryotherapy has locations in Las Vegas and unincorporated Clark County and were planning on opening a third facility, officials said. However, state regulators ordered both locations to shut down indefinitely after owners weren’t able to provide proof of worker compensation or insurance, said Teri Williams, spokeswoman for the Nevada Department of Business and Industry and the state Division of Industrial Relations.
"All three locations were issued a stop work order," Williams said. "They have to provide proof that they have a workers compensation policy in order to reopen."
One location was also shut down Tuesday because it was operating without a license. City spokesman Jace Radke said the application was denied three times since January for nonpayment of fees. A fourth application was pending.
Clark County officials said the owners applied for a business license in July and indicated the salon was undergoing renovations. A final inspection was pending and the facility should not have been doing business, county spokesman Dan Kulin said.
On Monday, the Nevada State Board of Cosmetology ordered the spa where Ake-Salvacion died shut down because it didn't have a license to perform skin and other advertised aesthetician services such as facials. The agency said there was a licensed professional at the spa, but the business itself wasn't licensed. The owners were fined $1,000.
"We didn't even know who they were," Gary Landry, executive director of the state cosmetology board, said about the spa owners. "They had never approached us."
Two state occupational safety agents determined that Ake-Salvacion should not have been using the cryotherapy chamber after-hours for personal use, said Williams, who also serves as spokeswoman for the Nevada Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
"The facts indicate that the fatality occurred as a result of employee misconduct or non-complaint activity," Williams said in an email. "The employer cannot be cited ... and further investigation is not warranted."
Ake-Salvacion grew up in Hawaii and moved to Las Vegas more than two years ago with her boyfriend, who recently returned to Hawaii to take a job, her uncle said. She planned to follow after another year at the spa and hoped to open a similar business of her own.
"She was a good spirit and loved everyone," Ake said. "She had the true aloha spirit. Aloha is love."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.