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Honor student, 14, dies after huffing computer duster

Posted at 2:12 PM, Mar 21, 2013
and last updated 2013-03-21 14:12:18-04

By Kellan Connor

PORTER RANCH, CA (KTLA) — A 14-year-old honor student died this week after inhaling computer keyboard cleaner, authorities say.

Aria Doherty at her home died Monday of apparent cardiac arrest. An autopsy is still pending.

Her older sister found her in bed with a can of compressed air still attached to her mouth, her nostrils taped shut.

The Dohertys say they want their daughter’s death to be a message to other parents to be aware of the threat posed by common household items.

“It’s what the students are doing. We didn’t know much about it at all,” said Aria’s father, Richard Doherty.

“Apparently it’s a quick high and it’s fatal in something like 20 percent of the times you use it,” he added.

Aria, a student at Northridge’s Nobel Charter Middle School, loved animals and was active in the school’s drama productions.

Grief counselors from the Los Angeles Unified School District were at the school Wednesday talking to students.

“I’ll miss the incredible warmth,” her mother, Carolyn Doherty, reflected. “Whenever I was with her… There’s nobody that can compare to her.”

Her death comes one week after that of a 12-year-old girl from Victorville.

Kristal Salcido died after inhaling Freon from the air conditioning units her backyard.

Kristal inhaled the chemical, later passing out in her grandma’s bathroom. She was pronounced brain-dead at a local hospital.

Her family made the difficult choice to take her off life support four days later.

According to — an anti-drug website — one in five students has inhaled a chemical to get high by the eighth grade.