Teen’s death ‘highlights alcohol danger, easy access’

The family of a Timaru teen who died at a party is struggling with the fact their daughter is never coming home.

Bayli Elliot, 18, died in the early hours of Monday morning at a Timaru address after drinking with friends.

“The sudden loss of a friend or loved one is never easy, but to know that your daughter is never coming home is really, really hard to comprehend,” members of her family said in a statement released via the police.

“On behalf of our family, we would like to thank those close to us, Victim Support and the police for their help and support.”

The family has asked for privacy.

Timaru police are awaiting the results of an autopsy and have not commented on the cause of her death, which will be referred to the coroner.

» Teen’s death sparks drinking warning

Friends who were with her in her final hours gathered on Tuesday night to try to make sense of her sudden death.

With members of the community reeling, Youth Alley youth worker Kirsty Henderson said it was still too early for people to comprehend everything that had happened.

It was a sad situation but highlighted how dangerous alcohol was, she said.

“Alcohol is a really dangerous drug and the fact it’s so accessible is a concern.”

Bayli, 18, died after drinking alcohol with about eight friends.

It is understood she was comatose, but it is not known for how long before an ambulance was called.

The situation was a reflection of the drinking culture in New Zealand, Henderson said.

Leaving the legal drinking age at 18 and ensuring accessibility to a drug that is abused by Kiwis every weekend was a failure of the Government, she said.

“The Government missed an opportunity to make a difference with the Alcohol Reform Bill last year.”

» Teen drinking law ‘poorly implemented’

Bayli was like many her age – active on social media, engaged in her high school and extracurricular activities, and had a wide group of friends and family.

Her principal, Mark Jones, said she was excited to be planning her future as she neared the end of year 13.

He described her as “one of the students that pulled groups together”.

Henderson noted that what happened to Bayli could happen to anyone. Alcohol was not a discerning drug, she said.

– The Timaru Herald