While trace amounts of alcohol were found in Albany High School student Cathy Qiu, decomposition of her body and the natural rise of postmortem alcohol levels made it impossible to determine whether Qiu was under the influence at the time of her death, San Mateo County Coroner Robert Foucrault said Monday.
Qiu was found dead, washed onto a remote beach in unincorporated San Mateo County on Oct. 21. Qiu’s family, who lived in Richmond, reported the 16-year-old missing nearly a month prior.
Richmond police were handling the missing person investigation – treating it as a probable runaway juvenile case – until Qiu was found dead in San Mateo, when the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office began Qiu’s death investigation.
The cause of Qiu’s death is still unknown and pending a final report by the coroner’s office, Foucrault said. Early on in the investigation, authorities did not suspect any foul play.
Qiu was an exemplary student and avid tennis player.
Correction: When first published, this article said Qiu was found in unincorporated Contra Costa County.