PORTER RANCH (CBSLA.com) — A Porter Ranch family is devastated after their 13-year-old daughter died from huffing—a dangerous trend that involves inhaling household cleaners to get a high.
Aria Doherty, a straight-A student who loved animals and had dreams of becoming a surgeon, was found dead inside her home Monday night.
The girl’s parents, Richard and Carolyn, said Aria went into cardiac arrest after inhaling a can of computer duster.
Richard said he had no idea something they used to clean their computer could kill their daughter.
“It’s senseless. There’s no explanation,” he said.
Carolyn said, “It’s the worst thing I’ve ever felt. I did not know anything could be this bad.”
The Doherty’s said they talked to their daughter about drug use and found no evidence Aria had used an inhalant before.
“This was not that she had done it so many times that the chemicals had finally caused her brain damage or she’d gotten too much into her system. This is about her having a heart attack from just the very moment that she did the inhaling,” said Carolyn.
Aria’s school, Alfred B. Nobel Middle School in Northridge, sent a letter home to parents to let them know a student had died, but didn’t mention Aria passed away from huffing.
The victim’s parents decided to speak out about the incident because they don’t think their daughter was the only one on campus experimenting with the deadly habit.
The family said they don’t want another parent to have to bury a child.
“(Aria) had a scream on her when she was an infant. She had a cry that would wake up an entire neighborhood. I said from the time she was born…when Aria cries, the whole world cries with her, but when she laughs, the whole world laughs with her. She was just a good kid,” said Carolyn.
Aria’s middle school has planned an assembly to warn students of the dangers of huffing. The district also brought grief counselors for the young kids.
“Some studies say as many as one in four students report they have used inhalants at least once by the time they’re in the eighth grade,” an administrator told KCAL9’s Kristine Lazar.