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Prosecutions unlikely in water drinking contest death

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Sacramento County sheriffs said Tuesday it was unlikely that the death of a participant in a radio station stunt would lead to a criminal investigation.

Jennifer Strange, 28, died after drinking more than six and a half litres of bottled water at KDND 107.9 last Friday in a bid to win a Nintendo Wii for her three children.

Sheriff John McGinness said: "It's not as if she was somehow in their custody and they had a role to care for her. Rather, it was an invitation to a contest that was clearly ill-advised. She was exercising her free will."

The District Attorney's office said they had not received the case for review. Spokeswoman Lana Wyant said: "There are times we initiate investigations on our own. I'm not sure this would be one of them." On Tuesday, Radio station bosses in Sacramento fired the 10-strong team responsible for the competition, The Sacramento Bee reports.

The local newspaper has obtained a recording of the now defunct "Morning Rave" show. Excerpts are available here.

Before the contest starts, one of the co-hosts can be heard saying "maybe we should have researched this". Discussing the dangers of water intoxication, another said: "Can't you get water poisoning and, like, die?"

Another staff member responded: "Your body is 98 per cent water. Why can't you take in as much water as you want?"

Later, after dropping out as runner-up with headaches, in a confused conversation with an intern, Strange said: "They keep telling me though that it's the water, that it will tell my head to hurt and then it will make me puke."

She seemed keen to continue, telling staff: "I could probably drink more if you guys could pick me up. Do you want me to? What can I get?"

During the contest a concerned listener rang in to alert the team to the danger of water intoxication. The host replied: "We're aware of that." Another joked that the contestants had signed releases "so we're not responsible". ®

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