Tapia’s Death No Longer Classified Suspicious

By on June 16, 2016

5760f2e6702e0.imageJackson Hole, Wyoming — The death of Kayden Quinn Tapia, 16, the man found dead on the Snake River dike early Tuesday morning, is no longer being investigated as suspicious.

An autopsy performed yesterday did not reveal trauma or drug abuse. An examination of the heart showed that Tapia suffered from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which causes the walls of the lower chambers of the heart to thicken.

“It is genetic in some forms,” coroner Dr. Brent Blue said in a press conference Thursday. “It is a fairly common finding in athletes who faint on the playing field that sometimes leads to sudden death. [The condition] is hallmarked by progressive weakness of breath and is very similar to congestive heart failure in an adult.”

Law enforcement officials are now focusing on a fact finding mission. “We are trying to establish the sequence of events to help family understand what was going on once he left Star Valley,” explained Lieutenant Tom Combs.

The four juveniles spotted leaving the scene of Tapia’s death said they did not see Tapia nor were they with him the morning of his death, Combs said.

According to Blue, many patients with HCM have no or only minor symptoms. When symptoms do appear, usually when someone is a pre-teen or teenager, they include breathing problems, especially during physical activity, chest pain that is often exacerbated with exercise and fainting or the sensation that one is about to faint.

Tapia would have been a senior at Jackson Hole High this fall. He was a star hockey player, one of five Jackson players on a traveling hockey team that clinched the USA National Tournament this spring.


About Robyn Vincent

Robyn is the editor of Planet Jackson Hole and Jackson Hole Snowboarder Magazine. When she's not sweating deadlines, she likes to travel the world with her notebook and camera in hand. Follow her on Twitter @TheNomadicHeart

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