Alcohol use suspected in death of 18-year-old left overnight in car

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 17, 2012 - 7:48 PM

Underage drinking is suspected in the death of an 18-year-old father-to-be who was left sleeping in a cold car overnight in Rochester, police said Tuesday.

Minorum Hong of Rochester was found dead about 8 a.m. Sunday in the vehicle on the west side of town, said police Capt. Brian Winters.

Hong was asleep in the car when friends parked it outside a home in the 1700 block of West Center Street, so he was left there alone and with the engine turned off, Winters said. The temperature hovered just below 20 degrees throughout the early morning hours before sunrise Sunday.

Based on what the friends are telling police, "the investigation is focusing on how much alcohol he consumed and if he consumed anything else," Winters said, "as well as where this alcohol came from, particularly given that the person was 18 years old."

Hong was left in the car "not wearing a winter jacket [and] not properly dressed for the conditions," the captain said. Police were still trying to determine how long Hong had been in the vehicle.

Winters said the cause of death is pending the results of toxicology tests, which are expected to take weeks. There were no signs of trauma on Hong's body, Winters said.

Longtime friend Sao Yim told KAAL-TV in Rochester that he found Hong dead in the back of the car. "He was just drinking too much" at a party, Yim told the television station.

Hong was a student at Golden Hill Alternative Day School and was "looking forward to becoming a first-time father," read his death notice on a funeral home website.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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