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Solving Rothbury Deaths Could Take A Month

Of the Oakland Press

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Authorities expect to take up to four weeks to determine the causes of death of two fans during last weekend's Rothbury Festival in western Michigan.

A 33-year-old woman and a 28-year-old man died in separate incidents on Sunday (July 6), the four-day festival's final day. Michigan State Police Lt. David Roesler said that both were taken from the festival camp site by ambulance. Initial autopsies showed no signs of foul play, and Roesler said the Oceana County medical examiner has ordered a battery of tests, including toxicology screens to determine the causes of death. Reports indicated the woman had a pre-existing medical condition and was accompanied to the festival by a service animal.

Roesler said next-of-kin for both people have been notified, but their identities have not been revealed.

"It puts a damper on (the festival)," Roesler said, adding that "you have to keep it in perspective. In any group of 40,000 people over four days, you're going to have medical emergencies."

Roesler said that authorities were "very pleased" with the way the initial Rothbury Festival went over its four-day run, with only 18 reported arrests. He said a final medical report from the festival is expected within the next month.

During the weekend Rothbury organizers said that they plan to stage a second festival on the same site in 2009. They have not yet commented on the deaths.

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