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Authorities say alcohol overdose killed Gainesville teen

Three charged after weekend camping trip in White County

POSTED: October 18, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Three people face charges after a 16-year-old Gainesville girl died from alcohol use during a weekend camping trip in White County, authorities said Tuesday.

White County sheriff’s deputies and authorities with the U.S. Forest Service responded to a report Sunday of a dead person at a campsite about four miles from Unicoi Gap.

Deputies found Frances Gloria "Amy" Fortenberry dead inside a tent at about noon Sunday, about two hours after she was discovered unresponsive by friends, White County Coroner Ricky Barrett said. The cause of death appeared to be asphyxiation due to alcohol overdose, he said. There was evidence of alcohol use at the scene, and toxicology tests are pending, Barrett said.

Terry Warren, 22, was charged with three counts of furnishing alcohol to underage persons. John Bell, 19, and Elizabeth Vaughn, 17, were both charged with underage consumption of alcohol.

Additional charges may be pending autopsy results and further investigation, authorities said.

It was the second time in the past six months that a teen’s death from alcohol use in White County resulted in criminal charges.

In early May, 17-year-old John Gunter died after going into cardiac arrest five days earlier from consuming peach vodka at a Cleveland residence. Officials initially charged the resident, 22-year-old William Maxton Midget, with furnishing alcohol to a person under 21. At the time of Gunter’s death, authorities discussed bringing additional charges.

It was not known Tuesday whether Midget faces more serious charges. White County Sheriff Neal Walden and officials with the White County District Attorney’s Office were unavailable for comment.



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