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Backwoods poster
The official poster for the Backwoods Camping and Music Festival. (http://backwoodsmusicfestival.com)

The state medical examiner has concluded that Patrick Murphy died of cocaine and methamphetamine toxicology after attending the Backwoods Camping and Music Festival, according to an autopsy report released Tuesday by the state medical examiner’s office.

Murphy, 34, had attended the music festival the weekend of Sept. 5 at the Tatanka Ranch outside Stroud. Witnesses claim they saw Murphy acting erratically, that he was naked and had tried to climb a fence. Security personnel at the event then took Murphy into custody and restrained him.

Sometime after being restrained, Murphy’s heart stopped. Despite resuscitation efforts, Murphy died of cardiovascular collapse at the Stroud Hospital shortly after midnight on Sept. 5, according to the report. The death is labeled an accident.

Controversy surrounding security at the event led some to claim Event Security LLC, the company hired to provide security services at Backwoods, had contributed in some way to Murphy’s death. The medical examiner’s report does mention bruises on the left wrist consistent with the use of restraints, and a zip tie was present on Murphy’s wrist during the autopsy. Still, in the report summary, the medical examiner states, “No obvious injury to cause death was identified.”

The autopsy reported found 0.12 micrograms (mcg) in Murphy’s brain and 0.05 mcg per milliliter (mcg/mL) in Murphy’s blood. For reference, an amount of 1.0 mcg/mL or greater is required to test positive for cocaine during a drug test, according to Clinical Laboratory Reference-Online.

With regard to methamphetamine and amphetamine levels, Murphy’s blood exhibited levels of 0.36 mcg/mL and 0.16 mcg/mL, respectively. In a blood test, 0.1 to 1.0 mcg/mL is considered toxic in the blood for methamphetamine, while a blood-content level of 0.5 to 1.0 mcg/mL is considered toxic for amphetamine.

Since 2008, Backwoods fest has grown to become a weekend-long multi-genre music and camping festival. This year, the event attracted little media attention until the week following news of Murphy’s death. So far, with only the Tulsa World running a follow-up story from the Associated Press about the medical examiner’s report released today, it remains to be seen which other local media outlets will ultimately follow up.