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2013 Ultra Music Festival Death Caused by Bath Salts Overdose, Medical Examiner Says

Bath salts containing methylone
Bath salts containing methylone
Wikimedia Commons

It is too early to tell what, exactly, killed Adonis Escoto, the 21-year-old Ultra-goer found dead inside a car parked near the music festival on Saturday night.

But the tragedy was a reminder of a similar incident from last year, when Anthony Cassano -- a boy of almost the exact same age as Escoto -- died at Ultra from a drug overdose.

In light of Escoto's death, Riptide went back and pulled Cassano's toxicology report, which has previously been unreported. According to a report from the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner's Office (included below), Cassano had marijuana in his system when he died. The cause of death, however, was "acute methylone toxicity" -- in other words, a methylone overdose.

See also: Ultra Music Festival: Police Say Anthony Cassano, 20, Likely Died of Drug Overdose

Methylone is sometimes passed off as Molly, and it's possible that Cassano thought he was taking MDMA or ecstasy when he ingested it.

Unlike pure MDMA, however, methylone has proven to be deadly. It is one of several chemical compounds commonly called "bath salts" and was among the drugs banned by Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi in January 2011.

Seizures of the drug by Miami police show that it is increasingly being mixed into or passed off as Molly. In 2011, only eight percent of "Molly" seized by Miami police contained methylone, according to the Herald. A year later, however, 82 percent did. Meanwhile, "Molly" seizures rose 63 percent.

See also: Miami's Molly Is Full of Meth, Coke, Bath Salts, and Other Terrible Stuff, Playboy Reports

Methylone has been blamed for a string of deaths at EDM concerts. The drug reportedly caused two deaths at Electric Zoo last year in New York, forcing the festival to shut down early.

On April 2, 2011, 23-year-old Jairious McGhee became the first Floridian to die from methylone. Tampa Police found "banging on cars and acting crazy," according to local TV station WTSP.

When cops approached McGhee, they found the young man was incoherent. He had bloodshot eyes, dry lips, and had urinated on himself.

Adonis Escoto died on Saturday night while attending Ultra. A toxicology report has not yet been completed
Adonis Escoto died on Saturday night while attending Ultra. A toxicology report has not yet been completed
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"Essentially your body temperature gets so high and your body can't handle that high temperature, your muscle start breaking down and when that happens, your organs start failing," said Dr. Julie Pearson, the medical examiner who diagnosed the deadly methylone overdose. "It's such a new drug, we don't know how much they need to take to produce those side effects."

Whether or not Cassano knew what he was taking, the results were the same as McGhee. On Sunday, March 17, 2013, he "started showing signs of erratic behavior" while attending Ultra.

Paramedics were called, but Cassano was pronounced dead at the hospital from "multiple organ failure," according to a police report.

Cassano's family could not be reached for comment. Ultra has never responded to our requests for more information on the death.

Miami-Dade Medical Examiner's toxicology report - Anthony Joseph Cassano

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