NBI: Blackened hearts of 2 Closeup concert casualties 'highly unusual'
MANILA, Philippines – The state of the internal organs of two of the 5 fatalities during a concert in Pasay City over the weekend shocked a longtime medical practitioner from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
NBI medico legal officer Dr Wilfredo Tierra said on Thursday, May 26, there was bleeding in the internal organs of victims Bianca Fontejon, 18, and Lance Garcia, 36.
Tierra said the initial findings of the autopsy of the two victims showed they suffered from heart attack.
Their other vital organs were swollen, congested, and edematous, which means there was an accumulation of an excessive amount of watery fluid.
"The gross description of a heart attack, or myocardial infarction in medical parlance, is there are very deep, red, brown hemorrhages, very congested, very edematous. But this particular thing, especially on this one person (Fontejon), they are dark, they are very black, and they have areas of rupture, areas of bleeding resulting to congestion," said Tierra.
"This is highly unusual. This is the first time I have seen this kind of case in my 20 years here," he added.
Fontejon died along with 4 others after attending the "Closeup Forever Summer" outdoor concert held at the Mall of Asia (MOA) concert grounds on Saturday evening, May 21.
The other victims include American Eric Anthony Miller, 33; Ariel Leal, 22; and Ken Migawa, 18. They were found unconscious in different parts of the concert venue and later died at the hospitals where they were rushed to.
Garcia, Leal, and Migawa were taken to the San Juan de Dios Hospital early Sunday, May 22, while Fontejon and Miller were brought to the Manila Doctors Hospital.
A separate autopsy done on Migawa and Miller by the Southern Police District's (SPD) Crime Laboratory showed they died of heart failure and brain injury as well.
Authorities are currently verifying reports that the victims allegedly ingested the designer drug "green amore", a mixture of ecstacy and methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu.
They are also investigating if the victims died due to intense heat at the venue or from alleged poisoning.
The NBI and SPD are conducting parallel investigations on the deaths during the concert, which organizers Closeup, Activations Advertising, and Eventscape dubbed the "summer's biggest rave party."
The Closeup Forever Summer concert was attended by around 14,000 people.
No conclusive cause yet
According to Tierra, Fontejon and Garcia did not suffer from previous heart attacks.
"So meron ba silang nainom, nakain? (Was there something they drank or ate?) That remains to be resolved upon the issuance of the laboratory examination results," he said.
Tierra clarified that investigators could not yet speculate on what caused the victims' internal organ failure until they complete the laboratory examinations on their tissue samples.
"We have taken representative tissue samples from the internal organs for general toxicological examination, that is to determine the presence of any poisonous or toxic materials ingested, also to determine the presence of any dangerous drugs, and, lastly, the determination of blood control level," said Tierra.
Forensic Investigation Service Deputy Director Roland Agrabioso said they will likely finish the toxicological test by Friday.
Tierra will then have to correlate the results with his autopsy findings before revealing the cause of death of the victims. – Rappler.com