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Florida music festival faces backlash amid investigation into Baton Rouge man's drowning

11 months 2 weeks 1 day ago Thursday, March 09 2023 Mar 9, 2023 March 09, 2023 2:00 PM March 09, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

OKEECHOBEE, Fla. - Florida law enforcement shared new details Thursday amid an investigation into the death of a Baton Rouge man who was attending a high-profile music festival this past weekend, triggering scrutiny over how event organizers handled the situation.

The Okeechobee County Sheriff's Office released the statement nearly a week after 26-year-old Steven Nguyen's death at the Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival. The department first shared information about Nguyen's death with WBRZ on Tuesday, adding that it was being investigated as an accidental drowning.

The sheriff's office said Nguyen was last seen by a friend at the festival around 11 p.m. on March 3, at a stage adjacent to the beach where Nguyen's body was later discovered. Another attendee reportedly found Nguyen dead in the water around noon the following day.

Investigators do not suspect any foul play in Nguyen's death, according to the sheriff's office. Further details in the case are pending an autopsy.

The festival went on the rest of the weekend with no public acknowledgement from organizers about what happened.

A photo advertising the event's "Aquachobee" beach party was posted on the festival's social media Saturday, roughly eight hours after Nguyen's body was found in the water. That post was later swarmed with commenters criticizing the festival for its handling of the situation.

The controversial tweet was deleted sometime after this story was posted Thursday. A screengrab can be found below.

The festival publicly addressed Nguyen's death for the first time on Wednesday.

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