Arcadia Firefighter Who Went Missing Had Ecstasy, Alcohol in System: Toxicology Report

A family photo shows Mike Herdman with his dog, who ran off before Herdman went missing.

A family photo shows Mike Herdman with his dog, who ran off before Herdman went missing.

A firefighter whose body was found in a remote wilderness area after disappearing during a backpacking trip in the Los Padres National Forest had alcohol and ecstasy in his system at the time of his death, officials said Friday.

The body of Mike Herdman, a 36-year-old Dana Point man who worked for the Arcadia Fire Department, was discovered June 27 after an extensive backcountry search that lasted nearly two weeks and involved dozens of personnel.

He had been camping in the rugged Sespe Wilderness with a friend when the two men chased after Herdman’s runaway dog. The friends were separated, and Herdman never returned to camp.

Two weeks later, after a major search-and-rescue operation, his body was found less than a mile from their campsite in a “rugged cliff area,” authorities said at the time.

His accidental death was caused by blunt-force injuries, a Ventura County coroner official had said.

On Friday, Capt. Don Aguilar of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office cited a coroner’s report, saying Herdman had ecstasy and alcohol in his system when he died.

No drug paraphernalia was found on Herdman, and there was no indication of when or where he took the ecstasy, Aguilar said.

The coroner’s seven-page toxicology report for Herdman showed the presence of MDMA, MDA, amphetamine, caffeine and ethanol.

MDMA has stimulant, pyschotropic and hallucinogenic effects, while MDA has stimulant and hallucinogenic properties, according to the report.

No criminal investigation was taking place related to Herdman’s death, Aguilar said.

Herdman was survived by a wife and young daughter.


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