ROSLYN, Wash. – Neighbors are describing the chaos after a college party in central Washington.
They say it looked like a war zone, with paramedics carrying a dozen young people out on gurneys. There were so many victims that ambulances had to be called in from all over Kittitas County.
This was after an ordinary college party in small-town Roslyn, Wash., Friday night took a sudden turn.
When officers arrived later that night they found students unconscious or semi-conscious. Investigators believe they overdosed on a powerful drug that apparently was mixed into their drinks without their knowledge.
Investigators also believe someone targeted young women at the party: 11 of the 12 victims were women. One man also became violently ill.
All 12 were hospitalized, and as of Monday all have been treated and released. Law enforcement says none of those who overdosed meant to get high or unconscious, and none had more than one or two drinks.
"It was really scary," said Katelynn Allen, a Central Washington University freshman who was at the party but did not drink. "Everything was going fine, the music was playing, people were having fun – and then all of a sudden all the girls were puking everywhere. Girls were outside on their backs."
Those at the party – many of whom are students at Central Washington University – say they believe a bottle of vodka was spiked with the date-rape drug Rohypnol, commonly known as a roofie. Investigators believe mixed drinks also were spiked with the drug, which they described as either Ecstasy or Rohypnol.
"People were saying, 'Don't drink out of the red cups, out of the red cups," CWU freshman Chris Unger told "Good Morning America." Unger is a male.
People at the party say they noticed people who drank from those red cups immediately became extremely ill.
University officials said they are working to identify the students involved. They also said the school could suspend or expel any drug-lacing students for violating the school's code of conduct.
At a minimum, each student will face a conduct hearing. They also may be required to take an intensive drug and alcohol education course, be referred to certified alcohol and drug counselor or suspended from school, the administration said in a statement.
Searching for answers
But as administrators search for answers, a local advocate for victims explains why it's not just women who should be alarmed.
"You set a drink down or come into a party and someone says, 'You wanna drink?," said Jessica Mindlin with the Victim Rights Law Center in Portland. "Most of us don't respond by "Have you spiked my drink, or have you put something in it [or] are you drugging me so you can rape me?'"
This local leader for victims rights emphasizes that sexual predators look for vulnerable victims, and spiking a drink makes a victim vulnerable – unable to fight back or to remember.
"And for victims that is what can be exceptionally terrifying," Mindlin told KATU. "You may wake up and you know you were sexually assaulted but can't remember all of what happened."
The nightmare party may have parents talking with their daughters, but Mindlin hopes men also are listening.
After all, she said, there were "other men and bystanders there; this was a party. [There were] many people there and, in an ideal world, they would take responsibility. They would interrupt behavior and they'd get help when they saw it going on."
Police have searched the party house. Their search did not reveal any drugs. However, they think blood tests will give them the answers they need.
On Monday investigators are trying to interview all 50 people who were in this Roslyn house party. Most of the victims were young women who attend Central Washington University.
Detectives are now investigating whether they were given spiked drinks to render them defenseless against a sexual assault – but were saved by the timely arrival of police at the scene.
– The Associated Press and KATU Reporter Susan Harding contributed to this report.