Cal Poly student found deceased in car

March 17, 2012

A freshman at Cal Poly is suspected of ending his life through the use of chemical gas on Friday, the last day winter quarter finals.

At about 3 p.m., a construction worker discovered 19-year-old Osvaldo Julian Ponce, a physics major, unresponsive in a black Lexus. Signs had been posted on the windows warning of the poisonous gas inside.

Streets were shut down and  a hazardous materials safety team was called to the scene to remove the poisonous gas, identified as hydrogen sulfide, from the vehicle. Police are continuing to investigate the suspected suicide.

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This is so sad. And I was feeling sorry for myself this morning . . .

First I will offer my condolences to this young mans family, friends and all who loved him. I think there is far greater pressure on young people today than there was even twenty years ago. With great leaps in technology comes greater competition and I don’t have to mention that we are now competing with 7 continents for the opportunity to secure a means to a comfortable future.

Several months ago, Japanese friends were telling me about this type of suicide that had gone viral in Japan as their culture had always embraced the importance of honor which encompasses academic performance beyond average achievements. Consequently my friends were telling me that they were happy that they were raising their children here in the US as they had relatives on both sides who’s children had ended their lives using the new “detergent suicide” by simply combining 2 household products in a confined space.

Upon hearing this, I immediately recalled the day I was trying to clean a blue copper ring out of my toilet. I used toilet bowl cleaner but the ring didn’t come out so I added some bleach and began to scrub.

I became nauseous within seconds and opened the window. Fortunately, the water diluted the solution and I recalled the cautions of mixing bleach with other products as I realized it isn’t only the combination with ammonia that can cause a poison off gassing. I used to also add a little bleach to my sink with dish detergent and have since learned that this too, is a dangerous combination.

Either way, the new deadly “detergent suicide formula” is absolutely lethal, One breath is all it takes. Never mix toilet bowl cleaner with garden pesticides or fungicides although I’m certain we all know not to dump pesticides down our toilet bowls.

There is a lot of pressure on college students today but I do remember when I was in college and for males when you let your grades slip you were drafted and off to the war in Vietnam, that was pressure.

Conscientious to the very end. The warning signs to protect bystanders show great compassion. RIP.

Another sad and tragic story of a Cal Poly student. Condolences to this young man’s family and friends. A prayer and caring thought sent your way…