After a young man drank himself to death at a New Year's Eve party, messages that sprang up on his MySpace.com page led to the discovery of a video of his final hours — and the filing of charges against his fiancee.
Police said that while they believe 21-year-old Daniel Gjertsen's death was accidental, the fiancee and a teenage friend tried to deny the existence of the video. The two eventually owned up and were charged this week with obstructing justice, police said.
Memorial messages for Gjertsen began appearing on his MySpace.com page on the same day he died, hours after the house party broke up in South Brunswick Township.
Police said the road worker was the only person of legal drinking age at the party and was responsible for bringing the alcohol.
The video shows him alert early in the evening, heavily inebriated a half-hour before midnight, and asleep an hour later, South Brunswick Police Detective James Ryan said.
Someone called from the party at 5:42 a.m. on Jan. 1 to report that Gjertsen had stopped breathing. A medical examiner determined that he had died an hour or two earlier. His blood alcohol level was 0.44 percent, or more than five times the limit for driving.
After the death, Gjertsen's family started following the comments posted on his page and those of his friends. One friend wrote that he was sorry there was so much liquor at the party; another note claimed Gjertsen hadn't drunk more than he usually did. And there were references to a video shot by his fiancee and a teenager, with images of Gjertsen passed out.
When police asked the two about it, they at first denied that it existed, Ryan said. But detective eventually obtained a copy.
Gjertsen's fiancee, Yajaira Flores, 20, was released on $500 bail. In an e-mail message Friday, she declined to comment except to say "just that I love him."
The teenager — a 17-year-old girl whose name was not released because of her age — was charged as a juvenile.
MySpace has also yielded clues in other cases in past months. A Virginia man was arrested on drug charges after his brother's MySpace posting referred to marijuana they had grown. Threats against schools have also been discovered.