Alyssa Byrne: Teen likely disoriented before death, officials say
Alyssa Byrne, the 19-year-old found dead last week in a South Lake Tahoe snowdrift, appears to have become disoriented after leaving a nearby music festival and shed her ski jacket before her death, authorities said.
El Dorado County Sheriff's Lt. Pete Van Arnum told the Press Democrat that Byrne's bootprints — the only ones in the area — "kind of wandered a bit," suggesting she was disoriented after leaving the New Year's Eve event. Her white ski jacket was found a short distance away, he said.
Van Arnum also confirmed that investigators were told that Byrne had been drinking while she was in town, but couldn't say whether the apparent disorientation was caused by alcohol consumption or hypothermia brought on by sub-zero temperatures that night.
"I don't want to speculate," he told the newspaper.Byrne, who was from Petaluma, went missing after leaving the Snow Globe Music Festival in South Lake Tahoe the night of Dec. 31. Her body was found three days later, about half a mile from Lake Tahoe Community College, where the festival was held.
Investigators have said there were no signs of traumatic injury or foul play, but were still waiting for an autopsy to determine how and when Byrne died.
— Kate Mather