Eyewitnesses claim teen was at underage drinking party before death

Witnesses said Navid Sepehri had been drinking with other underage students at a party just before he went missing.

BETHESDA, MD. (WUSA9) - Montgomery County police busted an underage drinking party at the home of a high ranking diplomat in Bethesda, Md.

Christian Grinschgl is the First Secretary of the Austrian Embassy, which is the number two person in charge after the Ambassador.

Mr. Grinschgl invited WUSA9’s Delia Gonçalves and photojournalist James Hash inside his home Monday evening, but his wife quickly entered the living room on her cellphone and ushered them out saying “we have no comment, thank you for your interest.”  

Someone made an anonymous call to police about the party where there was “loud…with underage drinking…a bonfire….people outside and inside the home.”

 A group of teens told WUSA9's Scott Broom that 17-year-old Navid Sepehri was at that party and in their words was “wasted.” He never made it home that night.  

The next day, a friend’s mom called police and they search all day long. After sunset on Sunday, the Walt Whitman High School Senior was found dead along a trail by the Bannockburn Swim Club on Laverock Lane. 

While we don’t know the official cause of death, we do know underage drinking is a huge problem.

The principal of Walt Whitman High, Alan Goodwin, has even tried to get on top of it by posting several warning messages to parents on the school list-serve.

One post reads in part: “There is a consumption problem in the community …. as an adult, if you knowingly host a party where there is alcohol/drugs present, you can be fined over $1,500 per student, and if a student is injured or worse during the party or after, you can lose your house and more.”  

It is unclear if the Grinshgl’s were home or even aware of the party.

Police are investigating the case as an “unattended death” and while no charges have yet been filed, it appears the Grischgl’s may have diplomatic immunity. We are still waiting for more information from the Embassy of Austria. 

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A 17-year old Walt Whitman High School senior was seen at an underaged drinking party appearing to be highly intoxicated before his mysterious death, according to at least four teens who say they were at the party.

The teens asked to remain anonymous and declined to be quoted directly.  

Seventeen-year-old Navid Sepehri was found dead in a forest near the Bannockburn Swim Club in the 6500 block of Laverock Lane in Bethesda about 5:30 p.m. on Sunday after a day-long search. 

He had not been seen since late the night before, the witnesses said.

RELATED: Body of missing Md. teen found in woods

The death appeared to be from accidental causes, according to a letter sent to the Whitman community by principal Alan Goodwin. 

Police have not determined a cause of death and are waiting for results of an autopsy from the Maryland Medical Examiner.

Montgomery County police were called to a nearby home on Elgin Drive the night before Sepehri's disappearance after a caller alleged there was a large underage drinking party occurring at the house, which included a bonfire.

According to a parent of a teen, police broke up the party.

Teen witnesses said Sepheri had been seen walking with friends in the neighborhood after the party.

Sepehri's body was discovered after teens gave police information on a possible location from friend tracking apps they shared with Sepehri on their phones, according to a parent with knowledge of the search who asked not to be quoted directly.

© 2018 WUSA-TV


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