An investigation into the deaths of two Myrtle Beach teens, killed in a 19-story fall from an Ocean Boulevard, high-rise hotel back in April, recently drew to a close as authorities ruled the tragedy accidental.
Robert Edge, Horry County Coroner, explained his office’s ruling to The Sun News on the girls’ manner of death and how it came to be classified after Amber Franco, 17, and Daniela “Dani” Flores, 16, were discovered around 3:45 p.m. on Wednesday, April 5 after falling from a balcony at Camelot By the Sea at 2000 N. Ocean Blvd. in Myrtle Beach.
He said that police interviews were conducted, some surveillance video footage was reviewed and nothing under the microscope led authorities to believe there was anything intentional about what happened the spring day the girls tragically died.
“There were some videos and one was a video when they were walking into the garage of the Camelot. They appeared in that video to be happy and just, you know, jolly and I guess out to have a good time is what was relayed to me,” Edge said.
He said after a thorough investigation, nothing pointed to signs reading that their loss of life stemmed from anything planned or on purpose, but rather it appears to be an “unfortunate accident.”
“I can imagine maybe they went up to the top floor just for a thrill and look at the people walking down below,” Edge said. “…There was nothing to point that they did anything intentionally. Nothing at all.”
Lt. Joey Crosby, spokesman with the Myrtle Beach Police Department, said detectives made a ruling of accidental after reviewing video footage from the hotel, conducting numerous interviews and exploring the rumors that swirled around the incident.
“We try to determine what the facts of the case are that led to the events that day,” he said, adding that officers work hard to bring closure to the families left grieving.
Family members have been unable to comment on this story.
Rumors abounded following the girls’ deaths and Crosby said in any case speculation and gossip can slow an investigation at times.
“An unfortunate part of social media and policing today is that with the rumors that occur and the speculation – people go off the speculation and rumors,” Crosby said. But officers have to go by the facts and researching rumors only to find them unfounded, can leave the wheels of a case spinning.
“It does complicate our jobs at times because we go off facts and factual-based information from evidence, from statements and videos,” Crosby said.
But all signs pointed to two teens who looked happy that day, whose lives ended in a tragic accident, officials say.
The mood at Myrtle Beach High School was somber and sad after the girls’ sudden deaths.
Daniela Alejandra Arriaza Flores was born Feb. 22, 2001, according to her obituary. She was a sophomore at Myrtle Beach High School. She was active in the school’s theater program and took a leading role in a project-based learning class.
Amber Nicole Franco was born Nov. 6, 1999 in Jersey City, New Jersey, the oldest daughter of Elvis Franco and Melissa Chavez Franco, according to her obituary. “Amber loved the arts; especially music and Asian influenced culture. She also had a great passion for animals and prided herself on loving others,” her obituary stated.
Franco was a junior and had just moved to the district from another state in November. Flores and Franco became fast friends.
Both girls were honor students on pace to graduate and attend college. Prom was coming up on the Friday before the accident and spring break was just a few days away when police were called to the Camelot By the Sea Hotel.
Emily Weaver contributed to this story.