Report: Apryl Foster was drunk at time of accidental drowning death

Apryl Foster’s body was found just over a half mile away from where she lived in Brandon. 
Apryl Foster’s body was found just over a half mile away from where she lived in Brandon. 
Published April 4, 2015

BRANDON — Apryl Foster, whose disappearance in February sparked a high-profile 10-day search, was drunk when she drove down a boat ramp into a Brandon lake.

A medical examiner's report released Friday shows that Foster had a 0.18 blood-alcohol level when her body was found Feb. 22. She also had traces of marijuana in her blood. Her cause of death was listed as drowning. The manner of death — an accident.

It is unclear what effect decomposition might have had on the levels of alcohol in Foster's body. A muscle sample showed an alcohol level of 0.13. The report noted intoxication by the combined effects of the alcohol and marijuana as a contributing factor in her death.

Foster, 33, was last seen Feb. 12 in Ybor City. She had gone to meet friends at Bad Monkey Pub at 1717 E Seventh Ave. She later moved next door to Double Decker karaoke bar.

About 2:15 a.m., she walked outside with a man she had met. They chatted briefly, exchanging phone numbers, before walking in opposite directions. Hours later, Foster failed to show up for work at Ulele, a Tampa Heights restaurant. Her mother's calls to her cellphone went unanswered. She was reported missing Feb. 13.

Sheriff's deputies checked her Brandon apartment and found nothing amiss. Tampa police took the case when they learned she was last seen in Ybor City.

A widespread effort to find her began. Officers tracked down and interviewed everyone Foster had spoken to at the bar. They also spoke with her estranged husband and a boyfriend.

Police Chief Jane Castor and Deputy Chief Brian Dugan held two news conferences in the week after she vanished, pleading with the public for tips on her whereabouts. Dugan called the approach "unprecedented."

The case attracted the attention of national news outlets, including People magazine and HLN's Nancy Grace. The Gonzmart family, owners of Ulele restaurant, started a reward fund that grew close to $20,000.

It all ended Feb. 22 when boaters struck a submerged object at the bottom of Mango Lake. Hillsborough County sheriff's divers towed the car to shore. A woman's body was found inside, with clothes matching the description of what Foster was last seen wearing. Fingerprints confirmed it was her.

A surveillance video from a nearby home on Open Field Loop recorded footage of Foster's car passing through a metal gate at the entrance to a boat ramp. The video showed her car turning right, then sliding down the ramp into the water.

The car was found just over a half mile from where Foster lived on Brandon Trace Avenue. Foster's friends, Jessica and Rachel Swafford, later told reporters that they believed she might have taken a wrong turn and become lost.

A Hillsborough sheriff's investigation into Foster's death remains open.

Contact Dan Sullivan at or (813) 226-3386. Follow @Times Dan.