Theatre arts sophomore Brett Olson (above) was found dead on Sept. 9 following a Labor Day trip to the Sacramento River. –Courtesy Photo
Theatre arts sophomore Brett Olson (above) was found dead on Sept. 9 following a Labor Day trip to the Sacramento River. –Courtesy Photo

The toxicology report of Cal Poly theatre arts sophomore Brett Olson — who was reported missing and later found dead in early September — revealed alcohol and cocaine in Olson’s system at the time of his of death.

The report, issued by Glen County Sheriff Larry Jones, lists Olson’s cause of death as asphyxiation due to drowning.

“As all findings are indicative of an accidental death and which this death will be classified as; the investigation into this extremely unfortunate case is closed,” the report states.

Olson first made headlines when word of him going missing following a Labor Day trip to the Sacramento river created a state-wide stir, prompting thousands to join in on the nearly week-long search. Olson’s friends and family soon took to Twitter, asking for people to post missing posters of him in their cities and towns. He was found dead on Sept. 9 at approximately 10:20 a.m.

Following his death, a candlelight vigil was held at Cal Poly on Sept. 17 to honor Olson’s memory. Vigils were also held in Olson’s hometown of Lafayette, Calif.

According to the report, Olson’s parents were notified yesterday of the findings. They could not be reached as of press time.

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  1. Doesn’t surprise me..drug of choice these days is ran rampant at Poly when I was there too. Kid from a upper middle class town like Lafayette, CA likely used cocaine from an early age. Blame the parents for not teaching him better judgement.

    1. You’re an idiot. His parents were amazing. A lot of kids in college experience with coke and that doesn’t reflect on his parents. Keep your 2 cents to yourself please.

  2. It’s not his parent’s fault, and honestly, I don’t think publishing tox screen results after a death like this is helpful at all.
    It just causes finger pointing, like the above, and seems disrespectful to his family.
    Frankly it should be none of the publics business if he had anything in his system. That’s for the family to know alone.

  3. Who paid for PUBLIC RESOURCES used in this search/autopsy/toxicology? Not just Brett’s friends I assure you. As a tax payer in California and in Butte County, I guarantee my tax dollars contributed to the public costs. Don’t get me wrong, I felt deeply for the Olson Family and continue to, I prayed for Brett’s safe return. However, the message that it is ok to party like a rock star (because that’s what frat boys do), be yet another drunk, drug-induced casualty, whose actions burdened society should not be pardoned no matter how popular the kid was. We all make the bed we lie in. The same media that is reporting the results of the autopsy/toxicology report (paid for by public funds) is the same media that helped spread the news of his disappearance. Just because you don’t like the factual results does not equate to sensationalist journalism.

  4. Well this information is public record, just because you all thought he was a “hero” or whatever doesn’t mean they don’t release the information. You guys make me sick. There was ZERO chance that he wasn’t up to something. Now that it’s been revealed that not only was he drunk, but coked up too then you all want to sweep this under the rug, wash your “#OMGFINDBRETTOLSONRIP” painted cars, and go all “oh they shouldn’t have released the information” now that the “awful” truth is out there. Why don’t you all face the fact that he’s just another dumb college kid who died from alcohol, cocaine, and a copious amount of water in his lungs, and you cared so much, but now you just want to leave it the hell alone now that you know the truth.

    1. I am so unbelievably blown away at your lack of decency here. You have made such irrelevant and irrational generalizations of Brett and the people involved with his search that I struggle to even know where to begin. Your “hero” comment was entirely unfounded and disgusting — people were worried about a lost friend. A family was worried about their loved one. I am actually completed baffled by how you managed to twist the reality of a group of concerned people into some idolization that he was some sort of “hero.” Would you not just as fervently look for someone you cared about? You are perverting what has happened here through some bizarre subjective lens — and as a result you come on here and spew this grotesque statement about someone who has passed away.

      I recognize and respect your right to a different opinion about how cause-of-death reports are distributed, but the way you justify your frustration is so unwarranted and unrelated that I suspect you are expressing some other frustration about people entirely. First of all, to say there was “ZERO chance” of him being “up to something” is ridiculous, impossible, and childish. Zero chance? Really? What do know about people’s behavior that grants you this statistical omnipotence? Enlighten us.

      And where do you get the notion that anyone is trying to “sweep this under the rug”? A family is grieving right now, and people have come on here to express their frustration that this has been made public. Whether or not it is right or wrong to distribute this information, it is clear that people are empathizing with the pain that this has caused the family.

      A more appropriate response on your part would have been to come on here and explain calmly and assertively that you think the right to publicly release this information should be upheld. But instead, you came on here and created this hyperbolic depiction of those that cared about Brett as only caring about Brett being seen as a pristine “hero”.

      As though everything you already said wasn’t indecent, incentive, and trashy enough you end everything with “Why don’t you all face the fact that he’s just another dumb college kid.” Holy shit.

      No, really. Holy shit. Someone died. How dare you display your prejudices and deeply held stereotypes of people who have used substances in a place where people are grieving. I hope you think about how childish you were in those remarks.

      And to everyone else, I didn’t know Brett, but I am truly sorry for your loss. And although this information may be hard to learn, it doesn’t make Brett any less of a friend, any less of a human, and certainly doesn’t make his death any less important.

  5. I was on the bus with everyone else…until the reports of cocaine being detected. Not feeling this anymore. Sad story but I’m jumping off the bus and leaving all the hype behind. All the outcry involving drugs, I’m out.

    He made it tragic for his family ad friends. The news reporters didn’t.

  6. While I fully support a team of journalists reporting their full findings on a tragic, all-too-sudden death of a young life, I disagree with the way the journalist team is behaving in response to their findings. It may not be inappropriate for a newspaper to do their job and explain the details of the death, but it is extremely insensitive to post and brag around campus that the news was “DISCOVERED FIRST” via twitter, facebook, etc. To me, it is an embarrassing reflection on Cal Poly, and it seems like some sensitivity chips may be missing on the Mustang Daily team. I am glad that I know the full details of what happened to this student, but disappointed that “finding the story” was such a thrill and excitement for the reporters and Mustang Daily representatives. No matter how tragic he made it for his family and friends, it is still a time of mourning and should be treated as such. A college newspaper should be mourning with the University and the rest of the student body.

  7. I completely agree with Melissa and Lauren. I think the way Mustang Daily went about reporting this news was all wrong. Yes, I suppose the facts should be published, but I think Mustang Daily should show some remorse, sensitivity, and compassion. He was a Cal Poly student, rather than bragging about how Mustang Daily was the first to report this, we should be mourning the loss of our friend, classmate, and member of our student body. It both appalls and saddens me that people can actually be excited to find out how he died and brag about it. A death, no matter if you knew the person or not, is a tragedy and for the sake of those who knew and loved him should be treated with respect.

  8. well, sucks. but i guess that’s what happens when you mix uppers and downers, you’re going to have a bad time. stupid pike

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