TAMPA — Apryl Foster, the Ulele restaurant employee whose body was found in a lake 10 days after she was last seen leaving an Ybor City bar, died of accidental drowning, according to an autopsy report released Friday.
The report listed alcohol and marijuana as contributing factors in her death.
Foster’s body had a blood-alcohol level of 0.18. In Florida, a level of 0.08 is the level at which a person is considered too drunk to drive.
That result may be misleading, said Julia Pearson, chief forensic toxicologist with the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner’s Office, which conducted the autopsy, because some of the alcohol traces could be a result of decomposition. She had been dead in the water for 10 days.
The autopsy showed Foster had a .098 milligrams-per-liter level of THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the intoxicating ingredient of marijuana. Pearson said that is a significant level.
“That indicates very recent use,” she said. “I would say she used marijuana within a half-hour or an hour before she died.”
The 33-year-old Ulele server was last seen Feb. 12 in Ybor City, where she visited two bars and sang karaoke after work. She didn’t show up for work the next day, raising concerns among her family and employers.
Authorities launched a massive search for her that included a media and billboard campaign and a review of surveillance videos from at least 50 cameras around Ybor City and Tampa.
Foster’s parents, Craig and Peggy Beman, drove from their home in Texas to participate in the search, which dragged on for nearly a week until a boater spotted a car submerged near the boat ramp on Open Field Loop. Foster’s body was inside the 2009 Chevrolet Aveo deputies pulled from Mango Lake.
Authorities do not suspect foul play, saying it appeared Foster became disoriented driving home from Ybor City and drove down the boat ramp into the water.
A surveillance camera at the community boat ramp showed her car being driven through the parking lot moments before it went into the water.
Foster, a server and trainer at Ulele in Tampa Heights, moved to the Tampa area two years ago from Fort Myers. She worked until 11 p.m. on Feb. 11, then went to a club, the Bad Monkey in Ybor City. She then went next door to the Double Decker around 11:30 p.m., where she sang karaoke. Police said she left the Double Decker at about 2:20 a.m.