The Bethesda teenager found dead in a frigid stream last weekend died of acute alcohol intoxication, complicated by hypothermia and drowning, an official at Maryland’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said Friday.
The death was ruled accidental, said Bruce Goldfarb, a spokesman for the office.
The findings are consistent with what police and family members have said about what was known of the final hours of Navid Nicholas Sepehri, 17, who went to a party Saturday night, drank vodka, set off walking and never came home.
Navid’s father, Frank Sepehri, found his son’s body in a patch of water the next day. Police officials have been looking at their officers’ interactions with the teen and his father, who each crossed paths with police during a five-hour window Saturday night and into Sunday morning.
“We want to determine exactly what the actions of our officers were,” Montgomery County Police Chief J. Thomas Manger said this week.
He said his heart went out to the family of the senior at Walt Whitman High School. “I just can’t imagine the pain they’re going through,” the chief said.
Around 7 p.m. Saturday, Navid Sepehri left his home in Bethesda — the last time his family saw him alive. He apparently met up with friends and at some point headed to a teenage party at a house on Elgin Lane in Bethesda.
Police said the homeowners grew concerned that uninvited teenagers had shown up with alcohol. The homeowners asked a group of teens to call their parents for rides home.
Around the same time, police received a call about noise from the party. Officers arrived to find youths scurrying off into yards, police said. Officers spoke with a small group of teens who stayed outside the home on the street, including Navid Sepehri. The teens told the officers they were waiting for rides, according to a police statement, and officers had found no evidence the homeowners had provided alcohol.
Later, after Sepehri didn’t return home, his father began driving to search for him as the night grew colder.
In the first hour of Sunday, temperatures in the region were around 31 degrees with a wind chill of 25 degrees.
At about 3:23 a.m. Sunday, Frank Sepehri drove into the parking lot of a county police station in Bethesda and spoke with an officer, according to his account and a police account.
For reasons that are still not clear, the officer did not take a missing-person report, and Frank Sepehri returned to his search.
The information released Friday by the Medical Examiner’s Office did not address at what time the 17-year-old died.
Police received a missing-person report about Navid Sepehri at 12:46 p.m. Sunday, and searched for the teenager. His father also kept searching, and found his son just before 5 p.m. Sunday in the stream in a wooded ravine behind some homes.