Autopsy inconclusive in determining Byrne’s cause of death


By Kathryn Reed

The definitive cause and time of death for Alyssa Byrne could not be determined based on results from the Jan. 8 autopsy.

Byrne’s body was found in a snowbank Jan. 4 off Pioneer Trail in El Dorado County near South Lake Tahoe. She had not been seen since New Year’s Eve where she had been attending the SnowGlobe Music Festival about a half-mile way on the ball field adjacent to the Lake Tahoe Community College campus.

Alyssa Byrne

“The date of death is unable to be determined because the body was frozen,” El Dorado County sheriff’s Lt. Pet Van Arnum told Lake Tahoe News. For the same reason the cause cannot be determined.

Blood samples have been sent to a laboratory that should tell authorities what Byrne died from.

Speculation is the 19-year-old Petaluma resident succumbed to hypothermia. Her jacket was found away from her body and footprints near the scene show signs of someone who was disoriented. These are classic indications of someone affected by hypothermia.

Van Arnum said the blood sample and toxicology reports should be available in about a month.

“Why she ended up there we still don’t exactly know why,” Van Arnum said.

His department is working with South Lake Tahoe police and Douglas County sheriff’s officials to try to figure out the details leading up to her disappearance and subsequent death. The concert was in the city limits and her hotel at the Horizon is in Stateline, which is in Douglas County.

A friend of Byrne’s remains adamant he saw her after midnight on New Year’s at Horizon.

“Right now we have no reason to disbelieve him,” Van Arnum said. “Even if he saw her, she could have come back over here.”

Douglas officials are still reviewing video from the casino. The last time they have her on video is at 11:45am New Year’s Eve. Her room key was used shortly after that.

Deputies are following up on leads that continue to come in. Call (530). 573.5300 if you have information.

“The problem was at that time of night literally thousands of people were walking away from SnowGlobe. It’s hard to determine if anyone saw her because there were so many people that night,” Van Arnum said. “We may never find out how she got there or why she walking that way.”




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Comments (17)
  1. Concerned citizen says - Posted: January 9, 2013

    The City Manager said buses were lines up to transport people back to the Stateline area…Why were so many people walking? It was single digit temps that night.

  2. John says - Posted: January 9, 2013

    Because there was inadequate busing. Why was the event heald where they had to bus all the kids back to Stateline?

  3. superwownow! says - Posted: January 9, 2013

    Look this was her third night attending snowglobe the first night was way colder and it was snowing. She knew the cold she was in for. To say she was lost among the. ” thousands” of other people walking that same path is ridiculous. The tribune say she was 100 yards off the road . Try more like 10 feet. Are we supposed to believe a worker saw her from the road. When was the lasttime you saw a snowbank 100 yards off pioneer? Her friends are sure they saw her @ horizon. The police asked if she would run away she wasn’t a minor. We should have had that area fully searched sooner. The second she was reported missing. We have search and rescue teams on call 24/7 why did it take 3 days to find her. As easily as she could have laid herself down is as easy as she could have been put there. Not to mention that the coyotes would have gotten her in those passing days. I hope people take the time to go look at the area she was found for themselves. I did and that’s why I am having a hard time thinking ohwell it could have been worse. It is worse we spent a year dealing with the sound issue. If we don’t acknowledge health,safety,and transportation this year we will have more of the tragedies in the future. The towns economy is not worth risking the lives that will never be the same because of this. Snowglobe is backed by AEG they have enough money to see that everyone attending their event is accounted for and safe. If not they should find a new town to use as their goldmine.

  4. Buck says - Posted: January 9, 2013

    Let me see, how many buses does it take to move 10,000 amped up kids at midnight back to stateline? I’am sure there was no trafic.

  5. Steven says - Posted: January 9, 2013

    When was the last time anyone was at a concert where the promoter made sure everyone was safe and accounted for. Never!
    This was a sad ending to a good 3 days because she made some bad decisions.

  6. John says - Posted: January 9, 2013

    This was a sad ending to a good 3 days because they used the wrong venue.

  7. superwownow! says - Posted: January 9, 2013

    Sad beginning…. Alyssa Bryne Memorial Winter Clothing Drive. To be handed out In her honor to protect future concert goers from the extreme elements for many years to come. It’s not her fault she paid the ultimate price. If we don’t make adjustments. We have not learned a thing.

  8. dj short flo says - Posted: January 9, 2013

    Let people dance, this is sad we don’t need to turn Tahoe into the town from footloose as a result.

  9. 30yrlocal says - Posted: January 10, 2013

    Superwow….just a clarification of facts in this very sad and tragic situation. They found her 10 yards away from Pioneer. I was driving by before they blocked the road that morning, and that spot cannot be seen from the road. The guys that found her from their truck that sits really high up could because they could see over the berm. What the 100 yards was is that they see her footsteps following the back side of the bank for about 100 yards as she headed west from Al Tahoe. Very tragic, my prayers are with the family.

  10. dumbfounded says - Posted: January 10, 2013

    supernownow. Nonsense. How many entertainment venues include transportation of any kind, much less door-to-door nanny service? To use this tragic event for some political agenda is really the tragedy. So far, the investigation says that, indeed, it was her fault, she got disoriented. A little personal responsibility, please.

  11. Upper Truckee says - Posted: January 10, 2013

    A good source stated she was last scene at the Horizon just before midnight with a man who was shown on camera.

    Then was found in different clothing.

    Who is the man at the casino with her?

    Were there other footprints at the location where she was found?

    These are some questions left to be answered.

  12. Chief Slowroller says - Posted: January 10, 2013

    I am amazed at how many folks in our town don’t really care about this Girl

    I went to the spot where she was found
    and what I saw does not add up to what is being reported

    there is a memorial at the spot maybe you folks would like to add to it

  13. ljames says - Posted: January 10, 2013

    Likewise too, the idea that this was someone that stupidly got lost w/o any evidence really is sad.
    She does deserve the benefit of the doubt. Unless tox reports show she was under the influence of something, the idea that she would have been so quickly disoriented so close to Pioneer Trail with cars going by and most of the foot traffic and even cars leaving the concert site headed towards stateline seems unlikely. Certainly the idea that someone picked her up from somewhere, drove her around, and then dumped her (in which case it becomes much more reasonable that she was disoriented) I hope certainly led to the police examnining the area as a potential crime scene. And what about the idea that she was placed there already incapacitated and that some of the footprints are not even hers? Anyway, we just dont know, so to say she did anything stupid is in fact rather stupid!! For all we know she was kidnapped at gunpoint?

  14. Buck says - Posted: January 10, 2013

    Dumbfounded: What concert is in the middle of the forest with no parking? Who should be in charge of transportation? No one should be walking in zero degree weather no walkways ect.

  15. Aaron says - Posted: January 10, 2013

    In this town, where coverups and a lack of proper investigating seems to be historical, I believe a human being is worth keeping an open mind. I have a hard time believing she wandered there too…with so many people all over the place.

  16. John says - Posted: January 10, 2013

    Gotta agree with Buck, okay have it at the college, then make the parking available. Shuttling people to the college, then shuttling them back to the casino is better than just having the event at the casinos? That is just asinine.

    The event should be planned to include the idea that it will attract people from warmer climates and they are going to be drinking and doing drugs. I dont think we should put our head in the sand about that. When I was in college its what I would have been doing.

  17. Michael Thompson says - Posted: January 10, 2013

    What percentage of the out of towners Stayed in Stateline Hotel Casino’s?

    there are lots of Hotel Motels between the event and Stateline.

    In the back of my head I could not held but think that the event was structered (By South Lake to pull visitors more into your are and make it just a bit rough to stay in a Hotel Casino.

    Seems that way to me.