Orange County couple die side-by-side of drug overdoses

‘This is proof that what looks perfect, is not perfect’: Family’s shock and devastation after surf-loving Orange County couple die side-by-side of drug overdoses in girl’s childhood bedroom

  • Michelle Avila, 23, and Christian Kent, 20, both died in her room on October 14
  • Family said the couple came home from a party, wished her parents good night
  • Michelle had been on antibiotics for a cold and told them she wasn’t drinking 
  • The next morning, her mother found the young couple dead in Michelle’s bed
  • Parents said Michelle had been a star student who had traveled the world  

To their family and friends, Michelle Avila and Christian Kent seemed like a walking advertisement for the perfect Orange County couple.

They were Newport Beach natives, with the sun-kissed blonde hair and surfing skills to prove it.

But then one morning Michelle, 23, and Christian, 20, were found dead from a drug overdose in her childhood bed. 

Their shocking deaths have shattered their families and highlighted the growing problem of opioid addiction in the affluent beach community. 

Michelle Avila, 23, and Christian Kent, 20, were found dead from a drug overdose in her childhood bed in the affluent Orange County community of Newport Beach 

Michelle and Christian’s shocking deaths have shattered their families and highlighted the growing problem of opioid addiction in the affluent beach community

On the night before their death on October 14, Michelle and Christian had been at a party at a friend’s house. 

Michelle had been taking antibiotics for a cold and didn’t even drink that night, she told her parents Paulo and Adriana Avila. 

After they came back home around 12.30am, Michelle wished her mother good night and laid out her clothes for a 6am shift at a Newport Beach coffee shop where she worked.

When Adriana came home from work at 4pm that day, she found the couple dead in bed. 

‘Two beautiful kids,’ Paulo told Coast Report Online. ‘It was like Romeo and Juliet.’ 

‘They both died and they were hugging each other.’   

It will take months for Michelle and Christian’s toxicology reports to be completed, but Paulo is certain they died from a drug overdose after talking to police and experts.  

Still, he told the Orange County Register that right now he has more questions than answers.

On the night before their death, the couple (pictured here on a vacation) went to a party before wishing her parents good night. Hours later, her mother found them both dead in bed

 It will take months for Michelle and Christian’s toxicology reports to be completed, but Michelle’s family is certain they died from a drug overdose after talking to police and experts

‘What happened to those kids?’ he asked. ‘What did they do? What happened to get to that point?’ 

Paulo and Adriana moved Michelle and her sister to Newport Beach when they were young, thinking it would be a safer place for their girls then Los Angeles. 

Michelle had been a star student growing up, once even receiving a letter from President George W Bush to honor her achievements. 

She had spent the last few years traveling across Bali, Indonesia, Costa Rica, and Brazil before she began modeling and studying communications at Orange Coast College and moved back to her parents’ home to save money. 

Michelle had been a star student, once even receiving a letter from President George W Bush to honor her achievements, and traveled across the world after graduating high school 

Family said that Michelle and Christian fell in love quickly, dating for a year before he moved to San Diego for college

Family said that Michelle and Christian fell in love quickly after they first met at a coffee shop where she worked, dating for a year before he moved to San Diego for college. 

Michelle frequently posted photos of the couple on Instagram, sharing their various trips together and frequent outings to the beach.  

‘Today I had to say goodbye for now, to my best friend and partner in crime,’ Michelle wrote in a loving tribute to her boyfriend on Instagram in August. 

‘I remember the day you came into my work, smiled at me with those eyes and asked me for my number. You found me at just the right time, andlife has been one hell of a ride since!’ 

‘It’s crazy how two souls can connect so deeply and quickly. You are so special and smart and gonna kill it at university!’ 

Michelle had laid out her clothes for a 6am shift at the Newport Beach coffee shop where she worked on the night she died 

Michelle died just a month shy of her 24th birthday. She was modeling and studying communications at the time of her death 

‘Can’t wait for some more amazing memories to be made.’ 

A month before they died, Michelle posted another tribute to Christian.  

‘Waking up next to you is such a good feeling,’ she wrote. ‘Like all my worries and problems have drifted far away, and the only thing that matters is being in your arms and enjoying the moment as much as I can, because I know it won’t last.’ 

‘Something I have learned is how to enjoy the now, because nothing in life lasts.’ 

Now it is loved ones who are writing tributes to Michelle and Christian. 

‘I wish I could yell at you and tell you how hard it has been,’ Michelle’s sister Nicole wrote on what would have been her 24th birthday. 

‘You’re supposed to care for what God gave you, and she was God’s gift,’ Paulo said. ‘That’s what’s eating me, from inside out. How come I failed? It just destroys me.’  

‘You’re supposed to care for what God gave you, and she was God’s gift,’ Paulo Avila said of his daughter. ‘That’s what’s eating me, from inside out. How come I failed? It just destroys me’

The Orange County Health Agency found that there has been an 88 percent of drug overdose deaths between 2000 and 2015

The Orange County Health Agency found that there has been an 88 percent of drug overdose deaths between 2000 and 2015. 

Half of those deaths were due to accidental prescription drug overdoses. Seven out of every 10 overdose deaths between 2011 and 2015 involved opioids. 

‘Parents need to know their kids are not safe,’ Paulo said. ‘This is the proof that what looks perfect, is not perfect.’ 


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Michelle’s friends have since started a GoFundMe campaign that Paulo hopes to use to start a program to educate young people about drug use. 

‘My mission is to send a message,’ he said. ‘To show how beautiful people can go through something like that.’ 

‘You’re protected by nothing.’ 

Michelle’s friends have since started a GoFundMe campaign that Paulo hopes to use to start a program to educate young people about drug use

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