Miami Music Week

Autopsy Reveals Ultra Cofounder Alex Omes Died With Drugs in His Veins

Alex Omes was found dead in his bed January 12, 2015, the day before his lawsuit against Ultra Music Festival, which he cofounded, was set for trial. From the get-go, his death was shrouded in mystery.

Police found a vial of coke in the Biscayne Boulevard apartment where he lived. At the time, Omes' brother Carlos, who could not be reached for comment on new developments in the case, said, "Foul play has not been ruled out. It seems just too much of a coincidence that he didn't even make it to the first day in court."

Now an autopsy report by the Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner — while drawing no conclusions — reveals a possible cause for Omes' death. The autopsy did not officially determine a cause of death, but a toxicology report found amphetamines, ketamine, cocaine, and traces of the date-rape drug GHB. This makes the theory that he was killed less likely.

The autopsy also found that Omes had an enlarged heart and liver, swelling around the brain due to excess fluids, and fluids in his lungs.

A City of Miami Police report that showed homicide detectives had shown up at Omes' apartment after his body was found, but no charges were ever filed. Said Miami Police spokeswoman Frederica Burden: "It's not a homicide; it's considered an unclassified death. No homicide investigation was performed."

While Omes' death was unfortunate and ill-timed, the battle for Ultra has continued on without him. His estate, overseen by Carlos, went ahead with the lawsuit. In January, the court ruled in Ultra's favor, concluding that because there was never an employment contract between Omes and the festival, Omes' estate does not have rights to the event. Unhappy with the ruling, the estate appealed in February, and Omes' attorney, Joel S. Magolnick, says "the estate does intend to proceed with the appeal."

Next Friday, the bacchanal of dance music Omes and his former partner, Russell Faibisch, created returns to downtown Miami with a projected attendance of 165,000. Headlining this year's festival is a who's who of EDM, including Avicii, Deadmau5, Carl Cox, Tiësto, and Steve Angello. And no matter the outcome of the lawsuit, Omes' legacy in helping jump-start one of the largest dance-music events in the world is cemented.


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Jose D. Duran is the associate editor of Miami New Times. He's the strategist behind the publication's eyebrow-raising Facebook and Twitter feeds. He has also been reporting on Miami's cultural scene since 2006. He has a BS in journalism and will live in Miami as long as climate change permits.
Contact: Jose D. Duran