Woman Found Dead After Vanishing Had Date Rape Drugs in System

A Laguna Hills woman found dead in an Orange County forest after vanishing on Valentine's Day weekend had lethal amounts of alcohol and the date rape drug GHB in her system at the time of her death, sheriff's officials said Wednesday.

Erica Alonso's blood alcohol content was .22, nearly three times the legal limit, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Department, citing toxicology reports released Tuesday.

Coroner's officials said the cause of death was an overdose, but the manner remains undetermined.

"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," said Lt. Jeff Hallock, a Sheriff's Department spokesman.

Her father, Isaac Alonso, said he's still processing the information.

"It was a big surprise for me to know she had this problem with drugs," he said.

Hallock said GHB is sometimes known as the date rape drug.

"It can occur that way, but it's also utilized, for lack of better terms, a party drug," he said. "It gives a sedative/euphoric type feeling."

Alonso vanished after going on a Valentine's Day date with her on-again-off-again boyfriend, officials said.

The night she disappeared, Alonso and her boyfriend befriended a couple at the Sutra Lounge Nightclub in Costa Mesa after going on a lunch date. The group went to Alonso's boyfriend's home in Irvine, where she and her boyfriend got into an argument outside, officials said.

The other couple left about 3:45 a.m. Alonso left the home about 15 minutes later, and there was no trace of her, Hallock said.

The last time the 27-year-old was seen alive was on Feb. 15. Her car was found about a mile from her home in late March, her purse and money inside.

On April 27, her body was found in San Juan Capistrano along Ortega Highway in the Cleveland National Forest.

An autopsy showed Alonso's cause of death as "undetermined," and her body showed "no obvious signs of trauma." As a result, toxicology tests were ordered and the investigation continues.

At the time of her disappearance, investigators said all statements by the boyfriend "checked out."

"If it was an accident, they should have called 911 and say, 'I'm having problems with somebody. Can you send an ambulance. I need help?'" her father said. "That would be the right thing."

Isaac Alonso can't accept that whoever hid his daughter's death is only facing a misdemeanor.

He wants the laws to change. Most of his questions have been answered, though they were tough answers to accept.

"We miss her so much," he said through tears. "We miss her very much."

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