‘Why wasn’t he taken to a hospital?’ Family of man who died at Electric Daisy Carnival demands answers

Fans dance at the Electric Daisy Carnival at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday.
Fans dance at the Electric Daisy Carnival at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday.
(Steven Lawton / Getty Images)

A 34-year-old Ventura County man died while attending the Electric Daisy Carnival music festival at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway over the weekend.

The Clark County coroner has yet to determine a cause of death for Michael Morse, an insurance broker from Moorpark and native of the Conejo Valley. When authorities found Morse, his body temperature had reached 109 degrees, said his mother-in-law, Linda Marshall.

Morse’s wife, Jennifer Marshall, is raising questions about the medical treatment her husband received after he began having seizures on Saturday at about 3:25 a.m. as he and two friends started to leave the festival to return to their hotel.

‘Why wasn’t he taken to a hospital?’

“They were waiting in an Uber line when he began convulsing and having seizures. At that point, he was taken into the medical tent. He remained in that tent for a little over four hours,” Jennifer Marshall said. A coroner’s official said Morse was declared dead at the speedway at 7:41 a.m. Saturday.

Marshall wants to know why her husband was not rushed to a hospital. She said no one from event promoter Insomniac, a division of the concert giant Live Nation Entertainment, has reached out to her to answer her questions.

“Why did he sit in a tent for four hours? Why wasn’t he taken to the hospital where doctors could have possibly done more?” Marshall said late Wednesday. “From my understanding, they did take other people to the hospital. But I don’t know why they didn’t take Mike.”

“This is such a senseless death,” she said.

They did take other people to the hospital. But I don't understand why they didn't take Mike.

— Jennifer Marshall, whose husband Mike Morse died at the Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas last weekend

Michael Morse
Michael Morse (Family photo)

A spokeswoman for Insomniac was unable to be reached for comment late Wednesday. Earlier, a representative, Jaclyn Dadas, provided a statement on behalf of Insomniac that said:

“The unexpected passing of a loved one is tragic, and while the exact cause of this tragedy is still unknown, we do know that family and friends are grieving. It is with great sadness that we send our thoughts and condolences to the loved ones of the man who passed away after the festival had ended,” the statement said.

“Our health and safety plan is created over several months with local agencies. Our roaming medical personnel are available twenty-four hours a day, free of charge, with the best emergency room doctors, nurses, EMTs and paramedics in the country. A full staff of security and police are also available to all attendees. We encourage everyone to approach our caring staff and ask for help if needed.”

An Electric Daisy veteran

It was Morse’s third time attending the Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas. He had also attended the event when it was held in Los Angeles, his wife said. She said her husband thought it would be his last time going to the event.

“He said he was ready to move on and try some new things in life,” Jennifer Marshall. said. “He just wasn’t into it as much as he had been in the past.”

Morse told her he was planning on taking it easy and “wasn’t intending or planning when I talked to him to be taking any drugs,” she said. No drugs were found on his body nor in his hotel room, she added.

“The last time I spoke to him that evening, he was complaining how hot it was.”

Above-normal temperatures

According to the National Weather Service, the temperature Friday in Las Vegas as the first musical sets began at 7 p.m. Friday was 105 degrees, which is above normal for this time of year but not record-breaking. Around 3 a.m., just before Morse started his seizure, the air temperature in Las Vegas was 79 degrees. Musical sets were scheduled to end at 5:30 a.m.

Electric Daisy was held over three nights, from June 16 through Sunday.

Fatal overdoses at raves

There have been a number of deaths among people who have attended Electric Daisy Carnivals and other raves sponsored by Insomniac in the past. Since 2006, there have been at least 29 confirmed drug-related deaths nationwide among people who attended raves organized by Los Angeles-area companies. Of those, 21 attended events promoted by Insomniac, which became a subsidiary of Live Nation in 2013.

On Tuesday, the parents of Nicholas Austin Tom, a 24-year-old San Francisco man who died from an Ecstasy overdose at the Electric Daisy Carnival in 2015, filed a lawsuit against the rave’s promoters, claiming the slow response to their son’s medical emergency contributed to his death.

Ecstasy, a drugs commonly taken at raves, can cause the body’s internal temperature to rise dramatically, up to 108 degrees. At that temperature, organs can begin to fail and trigger seizures that lead to death.

Separately, there have been six deaths among people who attended raves held by Hard Summer in Southern California since 2014, a concert brand that is also run by Live Nation. Three of them went to the Hard Summer music festival last summer at the Auto Club Speedway in an unincorporated part of San Bernardino County near Fontana. All three died of Ecstasy overdoses.

The event is scheduled to return to the venue for a two-day run beginning Aug. 5.

‘He embraced life’

Jennifer Marshall said her husband was a native Ventura County man — born in Westlake Village, raised in Thousand Oaks. He went to college at Cal State Northridge.

“He really embraced life. He was always up for a challenge to try something new. He was always there for his friends, for his family,” she said. “He absolutely adored animals. And he was the nicest person you could have met.”

The couple first met when they were 18, working at the same Best Buy store, and began dating when they were 21, she said. He later owned his own insurance firm, Morse & Morse Insurance Brokers.

His mother-in-law, Linda Marshall, said he was “far too young to die.” “He loved his family, his nieces, his nephews,” she said. She knew that he was fond of music at electronic music festivals.

Morse was an organ donor, Linda Marshall said, and his organs were taken for patients in need of transplants.

Besides his wife, Morse is survived by his parents and a brother.

Insomniac’s move to Las Vegas

Insomniac moved the Electric Daisy Carnival from the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to Las Vegas in 2011 following a Los Angeles Times investigation that found that Insomniac paid a government manager working for the taxpayer-owned stadium.

The investigation was published following the fatal overdose of a 15-year-old girl who attended Electric Daisy Carnival at the Coliseum in 2010.

Insomniac’s chief executive, Pasquale Rotella, was indicted in 2012 on six felony counts in an alleged bribery-and-embezzlement scheme. Last year, Rotella pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor conflict-of-interest charge, and agreed to pay $150,000 to Los Angeles County and serve three years of probation.

Support our journalism

Please consider subscribing today to support stories like this one. Already a subscriber? Your support makes our work possible. Thank you. Get full access to our signature journalism for just 99 cents for the first four weeks.