July 23, 2014

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Autopsy finds Keystone senior died from caffeine overdose

Logan Stiner

Logan Stiner

LAGRANGE — Logan Stiner, a popular student and wrestler, was in his final week at Keystone High School when he suddenly collapsed in his home May 27.

A month after his death, an autopsy answered the pressing question of what killed him.

It was pure caffeine.

The 18-year-old Stiner was found about 11 a.m. May 27 on the floor of his home in the 400 block of Hendrix Boulevard. The same day his mother, Katie Stiner, said she found bags of caffeine powder in the house.

The case initially perplexed Logan’s friends and family, who remember Stiner as a healthy student who didn’t do drugs and only occasionally drank a cup of coffee.

The autopsy this week revealed a lethal amount of caffeine in Stiner’s system, said Lorain County Coroner Dr. Stephen Evans.

“It’s a complete shock to the entire family,” said Logan’s aunt, Kelly Stiner.

Evans said he has heard of only 18 other deaths from caffeine overdoses in the United States.

Stiner was found with more than 70 micrograms of caffeine per milliliter of blood in his system, Evans said, adding that the normal amount of caffeine in an energy drink is three to 15 micrograms.

Fifty micrograms is considered a lethal dose, Evans said.

“He was a young, healthy guy. People don’t realize (caffeine) could potentially kill you,” Evans said.

Logan Stiner — who didn’t have any heart conditions — had taken pure caffeine powder the day of his death, Evans said. The powder caused Stiner to have a cardiac arrhythmia and a seizure, which together, killed him.

“Since it’s a powder, he probably doesn’t know how much he was taking,” Evans said.

While it’s unclear to Evans how much caffeine powder or what brand of powder Logan Stiner took, a popular brand of concentrated powdered caffeine which can be purchased online recommends only 1/16th of a teaspoon per day.

Katie Stiner said she didn’t know that her son took caffeine powder, but that he once mentioned taking some kind of substance as a “pre-workout.”

“He had no clue what he was doing,” Katie Stiner said. “We talked about everything.”

Dr. Sahil Parikh, a cardiologist with University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, believes Logan Stiner’s case is unusual. Parikh said that up to four or five cups of coffee often have little effect on the heart. While caffeine and caffeine-like drugs have been known to cause cardiac arrhythmias, they are often easily curable, he said.

“It sounds like the amount that (Logan Stiner) ingested is beyond the normal amount in eating or drinking,” Parikh said.

Though pure caffeine powder is rarely found in stores, it can be bought in bulk online, something that Evans said teenagers like Logan Stiner can do easily.

“I think it’s dangerous. I didn’t realize it was sold in bulk over the Internet,” Evans said.

Logan Stiner’s family members, who said they’ve researched caffeine overdoses extensively since the teenager’s death, also were unaware that caffeine powder is easily accessible.

“We had no idea this stuff existed,” Kelly Stiner said.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration was unfamiliar with caffeine powder, but did say the FDA recently started looking at the harmful effects of caffeine in general.

They are studying what caffeine can do to the human body following what they called an “influx of caffeinated energy drinks and a wide range of foods with added caffeine,” according to a news release.

For Logan Stiner’s family, the details of the 18-year-old’s death were difficult to take. Katie Stiner said her son was usually very careful about what he ate and rarely was stressed.

“Logan was at the height of his game in life,” Katie Stiner said.

Nevertheless, she said she knew her son didn’t just die of natural causes.

“I wasn’t going to let it go because I just didn’t understand,” Katie Stiner said.

Now, Katie Stiner and her family are working to recover from their devastating loss. “It’s been a month today and I don’t even know where the time went,” she said.

She hopes other teenagers will be wary of the negative effects of caffeine and caffeine powder, which she believes may be more prevalent than most people know.

“I don’t know if it’s as unusual as it seems.”

Contact Anna Merriman at 329-7245 or amerriman@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter at @AnnaLMerriman.

  • WTFnext

    I guess my question is that if he mentioned taking a substance as a pre workout before, why didn’t the mother question that then? I certainly would have. R.I.P. Logan.

    • Publius

      Captain Hindsight

    • chels722

      Because he was a grown man and never gave anyone he knew any reason to think he was abusing anything, which he wasn’t. He was a smart kid an everyone knew that and would think he knew what he was doing. Unfortunately this powdered caffeine was stronger than he thought. His family was great to him and its no ones fault. Keystone and your community will always remember and miss you, rip Logan.

      • SpaceTech

        Really? It was no one’s fault? Not abusing anything? Smart kid?
        I am sorry that a young man lost his life much too soon, but it is completely his own fault for ingesting an unknown quantity/unnatural substance into his body and he paid the ultimate price.

        • shadow

          wooow. that’s mean.

          • Summer Smart

            sad, but true. there is a fault everywhere with everything that goes awry. As parents, we can have smart kids and things like this happen to the best of them. This isn’t a reflection on Logan or his parents. If someone makes it to be, they are trying to cast a shadow because of their own inadequacies. It is the way society is today: it is easier to shine the light on someone else’s faults just to make themselves feel better. Unfortunately, in situations like this, it just makes them a troll.

        • chels722

          I’m sorry are you trying to evaluate someone you don’t even know? When I said it was nobodies fault I meant his family because you mentioned his mother. But now in your second comment its his fault. I went to school with him so try to tell me you know him better lol. Its not the hard truth. This isn’t the first time kids have gotten these thing through the internet and harm them because THEY DIDMT KNOW how powerful the substance they were using. He wasn’t abusing it, how can you say he was when you never exchanged one word with the kid. People are so quilt to judge someone of their own opinions about people, when they have NO IDEA how these people lives their lives. He used of for its intended purpose just ACCIDENTLY took to much. So no he didn’t abuse. Its was a tragic accident and he never deserved to loose his life. He was an all around great kid and him and his family didn’t have much to bring their great spirits down and turn to bad things. And unnatural? It was caffeine. You talk as if he was abusing drugs or something. People need to stop making up their own stories because they THINK they understand but you don’t. You didn’t know him or his fa,oily, the only info you have is this article and nothing more. Can’t base a concept off one article. Try basing it off the wonderful life he was living and would never purposely do that to himself let alone leave his family behind.

          • SpaceTech

            Sorry, you have bad reading comprehension I never said anything about his mother.
            Sorry again, Caffeine absolutely IS a drug and any time a substance is used over and above its intended use, it is abuse.
            I am truly sorry that this young man lost his life far too early and I feel sympathy for the family and friends.
            My message is, bad decisions have their consequences and I hope they find out where the idea of buying/using caffeine in this fashion came from so maybe the next kid/family can be spared this tragic outcome.

  • Phil Blank

    Wonder how many will spike the free work coffee now?

  • Guest

    Hindsight is always 20/20. Sure must seem easy to say what you would have done. There are great parents. That is all.

  • Becky

    Hindsight is always 20/20. Sure must seem easy to say what you would have done. These are great parents. That is all.

  • oldruss

    This is a tragedy, no matter how one looks at it.
    What may be some good to come out of this, and it is of little consolation to this family, is that now maybe we can become more aware of the dangers in caffeine, and especially with this powdered caffeine, which was something I’d never before heard about. Do a Google search for “powdered caffeine”. It was an eye opener.

  • SpaceTech

    Parents and school officials need to question the wrestling team members and coaches. It is a probable likelihood as to where the idea of using caffeine came from since many wrestlers are always trying to find a new way of maintaining or cutting weight just like working out in 90 degree weather with a vinyl top on has led to several deaths among young athletes.

    • Bill Campbell

      Bodybuilders often use caffeine so they can lift more weight temporarily, combined with creatine.

  • Michelle Bogle

    Thank you for sharing this information. I had no idea that this existed either, but will talk to my children today about the dangers. I am so sorry for your devastating loss, and pray that other children will be saved by hearing your story.

  • TheRustyScupper

    “Ya do da drugs, ya pay da price.” Very little pity for abusers of legal, or illegal, drugs or substances.

    • chels722

      Again. He wasn’t abusing anything. It was an accident. Get you facts straight people

  • IAM Truth

    You people that offer hindsight and criticism are bottom feeding, mom’s basement dwelling virgins including you Chronicle Telegram. Get a life and let these people move on. This caffeine powder and monster energy stuff is awful, but it’s legal. As far as you go rusty scupper. I’d love to meet you in person so I could shut that smart mouth of yours. It would never happen though huh? You’re an internet tough guy, but probably not so tough in person.

    • SpaceTech

      Hindsight and criticism just might save the next kid from doing something like this.
      The parents need to find out just where this kid got the idea to ingest caffeine. I have been an athlete my whole life and I have never heard of anyone doing this beyond people taking a couple No-doze.

      Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant–nothing more nothing less and no amount of it increases strength or performance.

      • IAM Truth

        Where did he get the idea? Go to CircleK, 711 or any other store. What do you see? redbull, Monster energy etc. Mountain Dew and no doz are old school. These things are way stronger than any of the stuff you used or anyone else of your generation or mine including coffee

    • been there too

      Actually, it sounds like Rusty is in recovery!

  • Guest

    So sad, I guess nothing is safe anymore.

  • http://marklamprecht.com/ Mark Lamprecht

    Seems his caffeine level would be equivalent to someone drinking 46 – 58 6 oz. cups of coffee.

  • Sis Delish

    Products like No-Doze, when used improperly, become No-Wake.

  • Stacey Parcher Karey

    It never ceases to amaze me, the numbers of self righteous, pompous, high horse riders, who post on these types of truly tragic posts. All that perfection and need to feel self-important has seemingly edged out any room for common decency, kindness, empathy and basic humanity. Absolutely shameful. My deepest condolences to the family and friends of this beautiful young man.

    • Kerry

      Well said Stacey :)