Report: Alcohol related to teen’s death

Asphyxia due to drowning ruled as cause in Nault's death

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Reggie Nault

COEUR d'ALENE — Alcohol intoxication was a condition related to the death of 16-year-old Reggie Nault on Lake Coeur d'Alene in July, according to a Kootenai County coroner's report released on Friday.

"The fact that Reggie died from drowning with alcohol in his system raises as many questions as it answers," Nault's mother Brandi Jones said in a written statement issued by her attorney, Lee James. "Doesn’t this emphasize why a full and complete investigation is necessary, particularly in light of the history of this case? We must learn before we can heal."

Nault attended Coeur d'Alene High and played baseball at the school and for the Spokane Dodgers 18U summer club team. He would have been a junior this fall.

Jones said she supports the ongoing investigation by the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office and looks forward to knowing all the facts — "wherever they lead us."

"I am the mother of an intelligent, healthy young athlete and a strong swimmer, who drowned," she said. "He is an important member of this community where he was born and raised. I and many in our community look forward to answers that will tell us what exactly happened and what can be done to avoid such tragedies in the future."

According to the coroner's report, the cause of death was asphyxia due to a fresh water drowning, ruling out the theory that he could have been injured when he fell or jumped from a moving boat as a passenger with two 16-year-old friends on July 21.

The coroner's report does not state the blood-alcohol content of Nault, whose body was found in the lake on Aug. 3.

"That's confidential information," Kootenai County Coroner Warren Keene said, adding that such information was determined from tests. "The immediate family can have that information, but nobody else."

Kootenai County contracts with the Spokane County Medical Examiner to perform autopsies. Spokane County also sends toxicology specimens to a lab for testing.

Once the coroner's offices obtains that information, along with the sheriff's office investigation, it determines cause of death and other significant conditions and classification of death.

An initial investigation by the KCSO after the incident revealed that alcohol did not appear to be a factor in the death. However, reports in the community began to swirl that alcohol was indeed involved. The coroner's findings confirms those reports.

KCSO officials who handle media inquiries couldn't be reached for comment on Friday.

Nault was not wearing a life jacket, and immediately disappeared in the water, according to the KCSO.

James, who also represents Dasha Drahos, Nault's sister, said his clients will continue to seek answers about the tragedy.

Legal action to hold others accountable is being explored, but it remains unclear if a suit will be filed. James said the family is letting the investigation by the sheriff's office proceed before making any decision about legal action.

"Whether you are an eyewitness, saw a related Snapchat video or heard someone tell you facts that may be helpful, please contact the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office," James said. "I fully support this mother and her daughter in their efforts to uncover the truth, so they can heal and deal with Reggie’s loss. We all should."

The coroner's report also states that Nault's death was an accident, rather than natural, a homicide, suicide or undetermined.

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