In a parent's worst-nightmare scenario, a girl on the cusp of high school slipped a bottle of vodka from a kitchen cupboard into her bedroom to share with three friends sleeping over at her hillside home north of Santa Rosa.
By morning, she was dead in her own vomit.
Investigators believe Takeimi Rao, 14, a popular A student headed for Mario Carrillo High School next month, may have died in her sleep Sunday morning after drinking soda mixed with vodka.
News of her death spread quickly through Facebook and cellphone messages as friends offered condolences and sought information.
Sonoma County sheriff's officials said Monday it remained unclear if Rao died of alcohol poisoning or from choking on her vomit.
"She was one of those girls who was just the most respectful kid; you want your kids to hang out with her because she was that good of a girl," said Angie Phillips, 36, of Santa Rosa, whose daughter was Rao's close friend. "That's why it's so troubling."
The teenager, daughter of Aleae Pennette and stepdaughter of Scott Moyer, had recently graduated from Rincon Valley Middle School.
She was an "outstanding student" who excelled in the arts, said Matt Marshall, the principal.
The results of an autopsy conducted Monday were inconclusive, said Assistant Sonoma County Sheriff Lorenzo Due?s. A final cause of death will await results of toxicology tests, which could take several weeks.
Investigators would not release the names of the three teenage girls who spent the night at their friend's home in the exclusive Foothills development off Mark West Springs Road, an enclave of large homes mostly hidden behind gates on sprawling wooded lots.