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Girl dies; deputies look into mystery pills

Friends of the 13-year-old Hernando girl say they swallowed pills that made them sick. When they woke, she did not.

A Hill 'n Dale teenager was found dead Sunday, and sheriff's deputies are investigating the content and supplier of two pills friends said she took.

Shauna Louise Ulman, 13, of 27052 Wakefield Drive, a Parrott Middle School student, was found unresponsive in a bed at a friend's house about 9 p.m. Sunday. Efforts by emergency crews and hospital workers to revive her were unsuccessful.

Ulman was in the home of a friend, Rufus W. Simpson III, on Old Ayers Road southeast of Brooksville. Reached by phone Monday afternoon, Simpson, 17, said he had invited several friends to his home on Sunday while his father slept in another room.

Simpson said earlier in the day, someone named "Rooster" brought over some pills _ Simpson thought they were codeine or morphine _ and passed some around to those who were there. He said Ulman asked to have some, too.

"It made us all sick, and we puked and stuff," Simpson said.

Simpson said he was pretty ill, so he went to bed, as did Ulman.

"I woke up and she didn't wake up," Simpson said.

Sheriff's deputies arrived at the home just after 9 p.m. and were unable to find Ulman's pulse.

Emergency workers who arrived shortly afterward tried CPR and took her to Brooksville Regional Hospital. Hospital personnel there continued to try to revive her, but they were unsuccessful. She was pronounced dead by the emergency room doctor just before 10 p.m.

Upon arriving at Simpson's house, Deputy David Lewis said Shauna Ulman's sister, Summer Ulman, 14, and Rufus Simpson III told him Shauna Ulman had taken at least two unknown pills earlier in the day. They said Shauna Ulman was last seen awake at 5 p.m., when she went to the bedroom to go to sleep.

Sheriff's spokeswoman Deanna Dammer said it was unclear who first noticed Ulman lying unconscious.

"We got conflicting information," Dammer said.

Deputies noted the residence was "extremely dirty." The floor was littered with clothing and cigarette butts, a sheriff's report said.

Deputies noted there was a BB gun and numerous videotapes lying on a dresser in the room. Also on the dresser was an empty prescription bottle, the report noted.

Dammer said the bottle was labeled as containing a generic form of Soma, a prescription drug used for the relief of muscle strains and spasms. Part of the label was missing, Dammer said, making it impossible to tell whom the prescription was for or what doctor prescribed it.

Besides, she said, "that may not have anything to do with anything."

Dammer said an autopsy was performed Monday, though preliminary findings were not available. Dammer said toxicology tests also will be performed, though results are not expected for several weeks.

"What we're trying to find out is what those two pills were," Dammer said, "and where she got them."

"This is an open, active investigation," Dammer said.

Ulman was an eighth-grader at Parrott Middle School. Principal Marvin Gordon went from room to room among the eighth-grade classes Monday morning to deliver the news and let students know counselors were available.

"Honestly, in each class, you could hear a pin drop," he said.

Later, he sent a letter home to parents of eighth-graders, asking them to encourage their children to talk about any grief they might feel.

One of Ulman's teachers, Marguerite Nutt, said students were upset to learn of the loss of a friend who honestly seemed to care about what was going on the lives of each of her classmates.

"She was a beautiful girl with a beautiful personality," said Nutt, a fourth-year teacher, who had never experienced the loss of a student. "I don't have any children, so the kids I have at school are the closest I have to children."

Gordon said some students at the school had sought counseling. Extra counselors from the district office were on hand.

Simpson's father declined to comment Monday. Shauna Ulman's father, Michael Ulman, could not be reached for comment.