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Police investigating Minnesota girl’s post-prom death

ST. PAUL -- The death of a North St. Paul High School student hours after she attended her senior prom last weekend remains under investigation. Police believe Anna Jaskulka, 18, had been drinking before she was found unresponsive in her Maplewoo...

Anna Jaskulka
Anna Jaskulka

ST. PAUL -- The death of a North St. Paul High School student hours after she attended her senior prom last weekend remains under investigation.

Police believe Anna Jaskulka, 18, had been drinking before she was found unresponsive in her Maplewood home. But they do not know if she ingested other substances, said Maplewood Police Chief Paul Schnell on Monday.

“We are hopeful that (through) our investigation we will be able to ascertain if there were other substances in her system and (if so), what those were and where she got them,” Schnell said. “We have been able to confirm that she had been drinking.”

Jaskulka’s cause of death may prove unrelated to chemicals potentially ingested Saturday evening, he added. Her autopsy and toxicology reports are pending.

Jaskulka’s parents reportedly drove the teen from North High’s prom to their Maplewood home Saturday night. When they checked on her later, she was unresponsive, and they called 911.

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When police arrived at 11:08 p.m., only a few minutes after the 911 call, Jaskulka was in full cardiac arrest, police reported.

Schnell advised caution for area high school students as the school year comes to an end.

“We always talk about these potential tragedies, and this was certainly one of the tragedies we would hope any community and certainly any parent would avoid,” Schnell said. “Our heart goes out to them, and we only hope that (Anna’s) death serves as a reminder, as we exit prom season and enter graduation season, of the importance of making really good decisions.”

Schnell said he was in touch with Jaskulka’s parents on Sunday. He said they are “devastated.”

Jaskulka’s family could not be reached for comment Monday.

North St. Paul/Maplewood/Oakdale school district officials emailed high school families Sunday about Jaskulka’s passing.

Extra staff was available Monday to help students’ process their emotions, said North High Principal Greg Nelson.

“Obviously, there are students who are really, really hurting,” he said. “I would say there has been a modest, steady flow who are expressing themselves and talking things through.”

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Jaskulka was a “vibrant student” who left an impression on those who knew her, Nelson added.

“She wasn’t a real high-profile athlete or a lead actor. … I just remember a happy-go-lucky, really neat kid,” Nelson said. “That is the overriding image for her. …She was a high school kid who had friends and was celebrating her senior year.”

Jaskulka was slated to graduate alongside classmates June 8.

A family friend described the teen as “the biggest sweetheart.”

“This was a tragedy,” said Daryn Lovdokken, whose daughter was close to Jaskulka. “Anna was the biggest sweetheart, and our family, along with many other people, cared very deeply about her. None of what has happened really seems real, and it’s going to take a long time to accept it. Anna’s smile and laugh brightened our home, and I’m sure others, many times over the years.”

After school on Monday, senior Dakota Caron, 17, said many of her classmates spent the day remembering Jaskulka as a kind-hearted person.

“She had a good spirit,” Caron said.

Caron last saw Jaskulka at prom Saturday night, although she didn’t talk with her.

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“She seemed OK,” Caron said. “It seemed like she was having fun.”

Junior Molly Erickson, 17, described the atmosphere at school Monday as depressing. Nevertheless, she remembers Jaskulka’s humor.

“She could always make you laugh,” she said. “She just always had a good attitude.”

Freshman Anthony Peabody, 15, said he first got to know Jaskulka when he literally bumped into her in the school hallway. They started talking and soon became close friends. He said she loved her cat and her older brother. He said he felt like a little brother.

“She was like a sister,” he said. “I could tell her stuff and she’d keep it a secret.”

Junior Gabby Boyles 17, said she heard school officials were going to put a rose on Jaskulka’s chair at graduation.

“I think that’s nice,” Boyles said. “I think she would like that, too.”

Related Topics: CRIME
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