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Ernest Azoadam's party bus death still a mystery to heartbroken family

03/05/2015 09:10 EST | Updated 05/05/2015 05:59 EDT
A B.C. family is heartbroken after a year-long coroners investigation into Ernest Azoadam's death resulted in a page and a half long report that does not explain why the 16 year old suddenly dropped dead on a party bus in Surrey in 2013.

"It has been so baffling to me to read — a one-year report, a one-and-a-half page document by the coroner is a disgrace," said Timothy Azoadam, who still does not know what killed his youngest son.

The coroners report into the death concluded he died of undetermined causes after he joined 30 friends on a party bus in Surrey on Feb. 16, 2013.

A toxicology report concludes the teen had been drinking but his blood alcohol level was .11, which is not "even close to what would suggest this was a drug-related or an alcohol-related death" said Barb McLintock, spokesperson for the B.C. Coroners Service.

Azoadam's parents say the investigation was not thorough and they are disappointed the bus company was never fined.

Having any open liquor in any vehicle is illegal in B.C. But the coroners report says the only alcohol on board was hidden in the passenger's belongings.

"A 16-year-old boy was admitted into a party bus where they had no supervision and they were drinking alcohol in the bus," said Azoadam.

Azoadam believes his son would have received medical treatment faster if he hadn't been on an unsupervised bus with underage drinking.

The coroners report also says some witnesses reported a five-minute delay between the teenager collapsing on the bus, and efforts to resuscitate him.

It notes the bus company usually provides a chaperone for groups over 20 but no chaperone was available that night.

'Your son is not to blame'

Azoadam says the report fails to explain what really happened to his son in the moments before he collapsed, but his eldest son and friends who were there shared what they saw.

"Everybody said he was dancing on the bus with friends and…was taking drinks from his friends and drinking and he suddenly just collapsed." 

"No proper investigation was done to determine the cause of his death," said Rebecca Azoadam, who says her son's friends visited after his death and told the family there was underage drinking on the bus.

But the coroners report clearly concludes the teen's death was not related to drinking or the fact that he was on a party bus.

"We found no evidence in any of our investigation to suggest that there is anyone to blame for this" said McLintock, who expressed condolences to the family.

"Your son is not to blame, the other people on the bus aren't to blame, and it could have happened, I suspect, it probably could have happened anywhere."

The coroner urged Azoadam's family to undergo medical testing to see if there is a genetic history of cardiac arythmia, which is often the cause of an unexplained death.

Azoadam says his wife and five other children all underwent extensive cardiac medical tests.

"I took my whole family, we had a whole week of testing and the result were negative there was nothing found," said Azoadam.

'Did you really investigate?'

"This is a bare bones report," said Dr. Robert Crossland, a physician and former B.C. coroner, who reviewed Azoadam's autopsy report, toxicology report and coroners report.

"If I had a 16-year-old son and this is what I received, I would say, 'Did you really investigate?'"

Crossland says the report is confusing and is short on explanation of what happened that night.

"They should have given more details to assure to the family the investigation was thorough, especially on what happened on the bus."

But the B.C. Coroners Service says they did everything they could to give the family answers.

"We all feel terribly badly. Not only for what happened to them but that we couldn't provide them with any answers. But that's just the way the science goes or doesn't go," says McLintock.

Meanwhile Ernest's grieving mother still worries about her five other grown children.

"I believe that if proper investigation is done, we may have peace in our family, having to know what killed our son rather than stay heartbroken and in suspense."

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