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Autopsy report: 2 concert-goers died of heart failure, brain injury

Five concert-goers died at the Close-up Forever Summer party held at the SM Mall of Asia concert grounds in Pasay City. Philstar.com/File photo

MANILA, Philippines – Autopsies conducted on the bodies of the two victims who died following the ten-hour concert-party at the grounds of a Pasay City mall over the weekend showed heart failure and brain swelling.

This was revealed to reporters Friday by Superintendent Bonnie Chua, head of the Crime Laboratory of the Southern Police District (SPD) which conducted the autopsies on the bodies of Ken Migawa, 18, and Eric Anthony Miller, 33, an American.

“Dito sa akin, walang ruptured organs. Sa mga organs, I can only say that there was edema sa mga brains. Medyo swollen siya,” Chua told reporters shortly after the end of a case conference by the SPD’s Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) at the SPD headquarters in Taguig City.

The SITG which was tasked to probe the deaths of the five concert-goers was formed on Wednesday and is being headed by SPD district director Eusebio Mejos.

Aside from Miller and Migawa, three others were reported dead after attending the Close-up Forever Summer party at the SM Mall of Asia concert grounds. They are Bianca Fontejon, 18, Lance Garcia, 36 and Ariel Leal, 22.

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) also conducted autopsies on the bodies of Fontejon and Garcia and found that both also suffered from “massive heart attacks.”

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“Sa sudden cardiac death, it is the same din sa sinabi ng NBI na massive heart attack. Sa sudden cardiac death, it could be heart failure,” Chua told reporters.

Chua however said that additional tests were done on the bodies of Miller and Migawa to determine what triggered the sudden cardiac death or heart failure.

"So dito sa kaso ng heart failure, kailangan pa ng isa pang examination like a histopathologic examination and toxicology examination to prove talaga kung ano ang nag cause ng heart failure whether toxic substance ba. So we need further investigation,” he said.

Chua explained that while a toxic substance could trigger sudden cardiac death, the triggering substance need not to be illegal drugs.

"That is why I need to inform you that we need to have the histopathologic examination. Meaning, kumuha ka ng tissues for further examination. And the toxicologic examination, body fluids naman ang kinuha natin dun," he said.

"’Di natin masasabi sa anatomic findings what substance could cause this heart failure," Chua added.

Chua also said that the autopsies done on Miller and Migawa also showed that they were dehydrated as there was absence of urine in their bodies.

"In both of my cases, wala din akong nakuhang urine. It is possible na na-dehydrate sila," he said.

Chua said that although Miller and Migawa died of multi-organ failure, their hearts were the first to fail.

"Multi-organ failure ito. But the most vital organ na nag-fail agad was the heart," he said.

It was earlier reported that some of the attendees at the ten-hour concert in Pasay reportedly sold party drugs such as Ecstasy and “green amore” during the event.

Meanwhile, the chief of the Pasay City police said they have not received any information on any sale of illegal drugs during the concert.

Pasay City Police chief, Superintendent Joel Doria said undercover policemen deployed inside the concert venue did not report any crime happening.

"Meron tayong intelligence personnel fielded sa loob. Meron silang mga wristbands. Nakakalat sila sa loob ng event venue," he said.

"Walang na i-report sa atin na illegal na transaction. Wala tayong na-receive na report from them. Wala silang makitang any illegal activities sa loob," Doria added.

Doria furthered that the Pasay police would continue with its probe of the incident as part of the SITG.

"Tinutuloy-tuloy pa din natin ang investigation. We will be submitting the third progress report na on this case. So far, we have received some reports na which are vital to our conduct of this investigation," he said.

SITG spokesperson, Superintendent Jenny Tecson meanwhile said that the action of the Pasay City police will be evaluated even as she stressed that it was only tasked to secure the areas outside of the concert venue. She said at least 12,000 people were packed inside the concert venue.

"Kung sakaling may ma-pinpoint na pagkukulang, ay most probably po na maya gagawin na internal investigation. That will be conducted by another unit.  Sa ngayon, ang focus ay on what transpired, bakit ganun ang nangyari," she said.

"Lahat po ay kinoconsider. Kung meron o wala. Ang naging papel lang naman ng Pasay police ay sa area security. We are not in control dun sa loob ng concert venue. Although we have embedded intelligence officers dun sa loob, pero pinakamarami nating nakalatag na tao ay doon sa labas," Tecson added.

He explained that while undercover Pasay City policemen were monitoring activities inside the concert venue, there were no reports of illegal drugs being sold.

She added that the possibility of drugs being sold at the concert venue was also not factored-in during scenario-building planning.

"Mayroon tayong mga nilagay na intel officers dun sa loob pero we did not receive any report na mayroong nangyayaring transaksyon doon. With that number na masyadong maluwag, hindi naman po naman natin mababantayan yung buong 12,000 na katao," she said.

"As far as the intel report is concerned, wala rin, kahit dun sa mga previous activities na naglatag tayo ng security plan natin ay walang narerecive na ganyan," Tecson added. 

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