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New Orleans college student dropped off at hospital died from drug and alcohol intoxication, coroner's office says

The New Orleans coroner's office said Ciaya Whetstone's death was ruled an accident.

Ciaya Whetstone died from drug and alcohol intoxication, the New Orleans Coroner's Office said Thursday, months after the college student's death.

Ciaya Whetstone.
Ciaya Whetstone. Ciaya Whetstone via Facebook

Jason Melancon, a spokesman for the New Orleans Coroner's Office, said an autopsy found that Whetstone, 21, died as a result of fentanyl and ethanol intoxication and that the manner was determined to be an accident. The news was first reported by WGNo-TV.

Whetstone, a student at the University of New Orleans, died Feb. 19 shortly after she was dropped off at New Orleans East Hospital.

Whetstone's friends previously said she attended the Carnival parades in Metairie. She then went to a few bars with her friends before another friend took her back to her boyfriend's apartment, they told The Times-Picayune.

Whetstone left in an Uber vehicle because she wanted to go to her apartment to check on her dog. Her roommate told the newspaper that the Uber driver waited there because Whetstone said she wanted to go track down her car.

Police have not publicly identified who dropped her off. Uber said in a statement in February that the driver’s account had been deactivated, a standard procedure, and it said Whetstone's trip ended without incident at the requested destination. The account remains deactivated, an Uber spokesperson said Thursday.

Lawyers for Whetstone's family said they were "saddened" by the coroner's findings but believe she "may have been the victim of a spiked substance."

"This coroner's report simply confirmed what we already suspected: she died of an overdose and her Uber driver failed to take appropriate action," her attorneys said in a joint statement. "We are waiting for law enforcement and Uber to offer additional details that will provide this family with the real information they need."

Uber directed questions to the police, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.

CORRECTION (April 21, 2022, 11:40 p.m. ET): A previous version of this article misspelled the last name of the spokesman for the coroner’s office. He is Jason Melancon, not Melacon.