Four days after 19-year-old Argyle native Andrew Graf died after attending Electric Daisy Festival at Fair Park, another family is stepping forward to share the story of 22-year-old Jesse Morales, who they say died due to similar circumstances in the wake of 2010's inaugural event.
Family members say Morales, a native of Garden City, Kansas, and a student at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, was taken to Baylor University Medical Center after he was found unconscious and separated from his friends at last year's Electric Daisy Carnival in Dallas.
According to his family, Morales left his friends, overheated and in search of water. When his friends finally found him at the end of the night, he was unconscious. He was rushed to the hospital, initially checking in with a body temperature of 107 degrees. He never regained consciousness.
After three full days in emergency care, Morales was finally pronounced dead at 12:30 a.m. on Wednesday, June 23, 2010. Doctors said his death was the result of a drug overdose.
"We don't know what time he was passed out [at the festival]," says Yvonne Morales, Jesse's younger sister by 11 months. "We don't know how long he was laying there. My understanding from his friends, though, is that that's just how it is at these things--people get high and they just lay down and people just push them to the side. I don't know how you don't react to seeing someone on the floor like that, but I guess it happens. As if it's normal."
According to both Morales' cousin and sister, the 2010 Electric Daisy Carnival in Dallas was the first time Jesse had ever attended such an event. Just a few months prior, after earning his Associate's degree from Garden City Community College, where he also played football, Morales had moved to Wichita Falls to pursue his Bachelor's degree. While there, his family noticed slight changes in his personality.
"We'd noticed a little bit of a change with him about three or four months before [the festival]," Hector says. "Just with some of the stuff that he was posting on Facebook. He was a straight-laced kid. He'd never been in trouble in his whole life, and I think that's important to make clear. He was a good kid."
His sister agrees.
"He was never into house music or raving," she says. "No drugs or anything. He would drink once in a while, of course, but he was in college. I still am to this day surprised and I ask myself why he would do something like that. The ecstasy he took, I guess it was lined with more than what should've been on the pill. That's why he passed away. It was an overdose."
Family members reached out to police and paramedics to see what, if anything, could be done about Morales' death. They say police told the family there was nothing they could do. The family never contacted Electric Daisy Carnival promoters Insomniac Events.
"To the best of my own knowledge, Insomniac was never informed about this incident by the family of Jesse Morales or any authority in Dallas," confirms Erika Raney, spokesperson for Insomniac Events. "As such, we have no idea what is alleged to have occurred over a year ago. Until we know the facts, we have no reason to believe that it is related to the event."
The Morales family, however, is quite certain that Jesse's death and his attendance at the festival are indeed related -- even as they remain split on where to place the blame.
"I don't blame the festival itself," says Hector Morales. "He was 22 years old. He was able to make up his own mind as far as what he wanted to do. The thing that is disturbing is that there's all these young kids that are going to these raves and getting into situations that they're not prepared for with all this stuff around them. My feeling is that they're promoting a music festival, where, in fact, the underlying thing that's going on is that all these kids know that it's a place where they can get drugs and everything else."
Morales' sister is less sympathetic.
"You would think such a big event would be able to handle it better," she says. "Why would you just leave someone laying there? If it's so overcrowded, why have so many people? I mean, I know they want to make their money. I wish they would cancel it -- but how could they have known? They never knew about Jesse's story. And now that there's that 19-year-old and his family going through what we went through. I understand what they're going through. They have to live with it. And the dealers that sold them the drugs are scot-free. A year later, it still hurts. A year later, it's still unbearable. I just makes me really angry that everyone's having a good time at the festival and we have to deal with this. It's just hard."
"I just want the information out there," adds Hector. "If there's knowledge out there about what's going on at these 'festivals,' maybe a parent or somebody can step up and say, 'Hey, this isn't an appropriate place for you to be.' These things are happening."
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