Police: Bethesda teen may have been under the influence before death

Police said Tuesday night that Navid Sepehri was present outside a Bethesda house party Saturday night where underage drinking took place before he was found dead Sunday. (Photo provided by Navid Sepehri's friends)

A 17-year-old Bethesda teenager who was found dead Sunday may have been under the influence prior to his death, according to police.

Montgomery County police said Tuesday night that officers’ body-worn cameras confirm Navid Sepehri was possibly inebriated outside a Bethesda house party Saturday night where underage drinking took place.

Sepehri, a senior at Walt Whitman High School, was one of six male juveniles standing in the roadway outside the house where the party happened in the 6500 block of Elgin Lane, according to police. When officers recognized that Sepehri may have been under the influence, they confirmed with the juveniles who did not flee when the officers approached that Sepehri would leave when they did.

Police determined that there was no applicable charge that could be placed against the juveniles, including Sepehri.

After speaking with the juveniles, authorities spoke with both the adult male and female residents of the home where the party took place who said the party was ended after they found alcohol was present. At that point, everyone was asked to call their parents for a ride home to leave.

The juveniles outside the home told police they were waiting for their parents to come pick them up.

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Many of the party’s guests, who were teenagers, were uninvited but came anyway after likely learning about it on social media, the adult male resident said. By the time they arrived at the home and spoke with the adult male and female residents, police said there was no evidence of an ongoing party.

Police said Monday they were looking into the connection of an underage drinking party in Sepehri’s death, which took place not far from where his body was later found in a ravine in a wooded area in the 6500 block of Laverock Lane by the Bannockburn Swim Club in Bethesda.

Police say foul play is currently not suspected in his death.

A search was conducted to find Sepehri at approximately 12:46 p.m. Sunday when police opened a missing person report. Detectives say Sepehri’s father went to the 2nd District police station in Bethesda at approximately 3:23 a.m. about his son, but a missing person report was not taken at that time.

Sepehri was found at approximately 4:58 p.m. Sunday.

Police say Sepehri is undergoing an autopsy that will determine the cause and manner of his death.

Sepehri’s death investigation remains ongoing. Police say there are still details they have not yet confirmed.

Walt Whitman principal Alan Goodwin said in an email to parents and students that Sepehri’s death may have been "accidental."

Anyone with information who has not spoken with detectives is urged to call the Major Crimes Division at 240-773-5070.

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