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Possible vaping death under investigation in Klamath Falls

Authorities are awaiting autopsy results for a Seattle man who died on his honeymoon last week.

Posted: Nov 5, 2019 3:00 PM
Updated: Nov 5, 2019 3:09 PM

Authorities in Klamath Falls and Washington State are awaiting autopsy results from the Oregon Medical Examiner to determine if Hadynn Outcalt-Arends, 23, died from vaping last week

Outcalt-Arends and his wife were celebrating their honeymoon at the Running Y Ranch Resort, where first responders arrived on Tuesday evening, October 29, and found him in distress. He was taken by ambulance to Sky Lakes Medical Center, where he died several hours later, early Wednesday morning.

“Staff performed pretty heroic efforts to keep him on life support. At some point, they (family members) agreed to take him off life support,” according to Thomas Hottman, press contact for Sky Lakes Medical Center.

Klamath County Sheriff Chris Kaber said his deputies were given a vape pen and container of vape juice when they arrived at the resort.

“We’ve secured the device and product. If there is no criminal case, they (the family) will tell us where they would like it sent,” Kaber said.

Kaber has been in contact with Klamath County District Attorney, and the Oregon Health Authority is interested as well, he said.

“We’re waiting to hear from the Medical Examiner,” Kaber said, noting that the autopsy report is necessary to determine if there is a need to investigate further.

“It’s my understanding the vape juice was purchased locally and consumed here,” Kaber said, though he would not identify where the device and liquid were purchased, pending results of the autopsy and investigation.

The autopsy was conducted by the Oregon Medical Examiner at their office in Jackson County, which is standard procedure for deaths in Klamath County that require an autopsy, according to Kaber.

The couple, married on October 11, lived in the Seattle area, according to his obituary.

Because he was a resident of Washington, the Washington State Department of Health is considered the lead agency in the investigation. They issued the following statement: “The Washington State Department of Health is working closely with Public Health—Seattle & King County to investigate a possible case of vaping associated lung injury in a Washington resident who has died. We are not able to provide additional detail at this time.”

As a resident of Washington, Outcalt-Arends' death—should it be determined to be related to vaping—would be considered a vaping-related death in Washington, not Oregon, according to Kristen Maki, Public Information Officer with the Washington State Department of Health.

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