Dallas police: Alcohol poisoning likely cause of prom night death



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Associated Press

Posted on May 2, 2011 at 1:04 PM

Updated Monday, May 2 at 5:27 PM

DALLAS — A night at the prom turned deadly for one Dallas high school student.

Dallas police say 17-year-old Jonathan Sierra appears to have died of alcohol poisoning. His body was found at a trendy downtown Dallas hotel.

The Skyline High School student left his home Saturday night to attend his senior prom. His mother, Lupe Sierra, said she became worried when he didn't come home later that night.

“I was trying to call him by cell phone, but he wouldn't answer," Sierra said. "I knew he and his friends had rented a hotel room, but he wasn't supposed to stay the night."

His parents started calling his friends, and Sunday afternoon they reached the father of one of the other teens. He told them the boys had been taken into custody.

She said it was hours later that she learned her son had been found dead in a room at the Aloft Hotel, across from the Dallas Convention Center.

"They think he might have had too much to drink and died of alcohol poisoning or he choked to death," Sierra said.

The family said the hotel room was littered with empty alcohol bottles.

“His friends woke up to go, and that's when they realized he wasn't breathing," said Maria Fierro, Jonathan's aunt. "They woke up everyone else and they tried to give him CPR, but it was too late."

Sierra said her son wasn't a drinker and probably couldn't handle the alcohol. Now, she wants to know who sold liquor to minors.

“We want police to do something," she said. "I don't know why someone would sell them alcohol if they aren't old enough."

Jonathan was about to turn 18 this month. He was also going to graduate and was planning to get a new car.

Now police are investigating his death and waiting for toxicology reports from the medical examiner’s office to confirm alcohol poisoning as the cause.

E-mail rlopez@wfaa.com