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Ecstasy, Alcohol Blamed in Deaths of Two Electric Daisy Carnival Attendees

Electric Daisy Carnival
Erik Kabik/Retna Digital

22-year-old pre-med student Emily McCaughin leaped to her death from her hotel room after taking the drug and telling friends that a man was stalking her at the dance music festival.

Two partygoers have died following their pilgrimage to the Electric Daisy Carnival, a three-day festival in Las Vegas attended by hundreds of thousands of dance music fans.

Emily McCaughan, a 22-year-old pre-med student attending the University of Arizona, died after falling 27 stories from the window of her Circus Circus hotel room, apparently in the midst of paranoid hallucinations brought on by the drug ecstasy.

A second festivalgoer, a 31-year-old man from Florida, died in a Las Vegas hospital after being hit by a truck while leaving the rave. The man had been drinking, police say. Both incidents occurred in the early-morning hours of Monday, June 11, as the party still raged on.

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McCaughan had been attending the festival with a group of friends when she began to panic over what she believed was a man stalking her at the festival. McCaughan had taken ecstasy earlier in the night.

"Her girlfriends from the group tried to console her and calm her down and reassure her that no one is here looking at us," Mignonne Walstad, a family friend, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal at a memorial held for McCaughan in Scottsdale, Ariz., on Friday, June 15.

But McCaughan only grew more fearful, and her friends brought her to security guards, asking that they call her a cab to bring her back to the hotel. They left McCaughan there, and the delusions only grew more severe once she got back to her room. McCaughan began typing messages on her friends' Facebook walls, pleading for help and writing that  "they haven't come for me yet."

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According to Walstad, McCaughan had also tried to barricade the door and had removed the SIM card from her cellphone so she couldn't be tracked. 

Her friends received the frantic messages and gathered to return to the hotel, which took close to an hour. When they arrived, McCaughan wasn't there. A search by hotel security discovered her body on the roof of a third-floor structure. McCaughan would have had to squeeze through security bars over the hotel windows to make the fatal leap.

"We are deeply saddened by the two tragedies that occurred last week in Las Vegas outside Electric Daisy Carnival," Erika Raney, spokeswoman for EDC producer Insomniac, told The Associated Press in a statement. "The two tragedies occurred beyond the festival's walls as well as beyond Insomniac's control and these incidents will not threaten the future of EDC in Las Vegas." Raney also pointed out that the male victim was in the care of on-site trauma doctors provided by EDC organizers.

The deaths are just the latest in a long string of fatalities tied to EDC. At the 2010 festival, held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, a 15-year-old girl fatally overdosed on ecstasy. And a 19-year-old boy who attended last year's festival in Dallas, Texas, died after taking multiple ecstasy pills earlier that night.