A Laguna Hills woman whose decomposed body was found off Ortega Highway some 2 1/2 months after she disappeared had alcohol and a date-rape drug in her system, authorities announced Wednesday.
The combination and amounts of alcohol and gamma hydroxybutyrate, or GHB, in Erica Alonso’s system were lethal, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department’s Coroner Division.
The 27-year-old’s death was caused by an overdose, but the manner of her death was not determined, according to a sheriff’s news release. Alonso was not believed to have been the victim of a homicide, the release said.
Alonso was reported missing after she vanished following a Valentine’s Day outing with her boyfriend. She was last seen leaving her boyfriend’s home in Irvine after an argument, according to the Sheriff’s Department.
Her vehicle was found March 25 in a residential complex in Aliso Viejo, less than 2 miles from her home. Then, on April 28, her remains were discovered in rugged and steep terrain off Ortega Highway in the Cleveland National Forest.
She had a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.22, the release stated, an amount nearly triple the legal limit for driving in California.
For Alonso's family, the toxicology report was difficult to accept.
"It was a big surprise," said her father Isaac Alonso. "We were not expecting what they told us today."
An initial autopsy left a coroner’s pathologist unable to determine a cause of death, prompting the toxicology test and further investigation in the case.
“Based on the totality of the investigation, including interviews, evidence collection, autopsy and toxicology results, investigators do not believe Ms. Alonso was the victim of a homicide,” the sheriff’s news release stated. “Throughout the investigation, information obtained by investigators support the toxicology results and cause of death; however, the investigation is ongoing.”
Investigators were still working to determine how Alonso’s body came to be where she was found.
Alonso's father wanted the person who dumped his daughter's body in the forest to be punished.
"I think it should be treated as a crime too, as a felony," he said.