PHOENIX -- The death of a Valley teen in Mexico over the weekend is raising all kinds of questions. The family of 16-year-old Lanna Hamann said too many energy drinks killed her.
Her family was in Puerto Penasco Tuesday, working through the international red tape required for bringing her body back to the United States. Her body is set to arrive in the Valley late Tuesday night and so far this unexpected misery is looking to cost Lanna’s family around $13,000.
Also on Tuesday, Lanna’s friends at Sunrise Mountain High School in Peoria held a volleyball tournament fundraiser to help with the final expenses.
“It kills us. We love Lanna. She's the greatest girl; all-time best,” said her childhood friend Hayden Birt. He said Lanna would have liked the volleyball tournament because she was an avid sports competitor.
According to a close family friend, Lanna spent the entire day before her death on the beach consuming energy drinks and following it up with little or no water. Later in the day she didn't feel well and soon after that died of a heart attack.
The family friend tells 3TV that an autopsy south of the border confirmed that energy drinks were partially to blame for Lanna’s heart giving out.
“I'll never drink another energy drink as long as I live,” said Birt, motioning to the rest of Lanna’s friends. “I think a lot of us won’t [drink energy drinks]. It scarred us. It’s scary stuff.”
Doctors in the states have yet to examine Lanna's body but 3TV asked a Valley cardiologist to weigh in on the effects of energy drinks on teens.
“They're loaded with caffeine. They're loaded with sugar and not something I recommend as a cardiologist,” said Dr. Jack Wolfson, a natural cardiologist at Wolfson Integrative Cardiology. “In my opinion they should be illegal for people under 21 to consume.”
Wolfson added that a single energy drink can contain enough caffeine to equal four cups of coffee. At last check, Lanna’s Volleyball fundraising friends had gathered close to $1,000 for her family.
If you would like to help out you can donate to the Lanna Hamann fund at any Wells Fargo Bank or the online Go Fund Me account set up in her name.