The couple was found dead side-by-side.
The couple was found dead side-by-side.

Surf couple dies side-by-side in bed

MICHELLE Avila and Christian Kent were young, in love and shared a passion for surfing.

One night they came home from a party, Michelle wished her parents good night and they went to bed.

But what happened next would leave their family and friends distraught.

When Michelle's mother went to check in on the couple she found them dead in Michelle's bed.

According to police, the couple, known for their sun-kissed blonde locks and "perfect" relationship, died from a drug overdose on October 14 - a month shy of Michelle's 24th birthday.

Their shocking deaths have highlighted the growing problem of opioid addiction in the affluent Orange County beach community in Southern California.

Michelle's father Paulo Avila searched his daughter's room for clues that she was a drug user, and found none, The Orange Country Register reported.

He said, through tears, the only reason he could find strength to talk about their drug overdose was to let other parents know "their kids are not safe."

 

Michelle Avila, 23, and Christian Kent, 20, died of a drug overdose. Picture: Facebook
Michelle Avila, 23, and Christian Kent, 20, died of a drug overdose. Picture: Facebook

Michelle and Christian had both been sick with a cold and were taking antibiotics. Michelle wasn't drinking because she was unwell.

According to Michelle's parents, she wasn't much of a party person, choosing instead to spend her time with Christian and their close group of friends in their Newport Beach area.

After they came home about 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.

Michelle had also neatly-written notes as reminders: "Study for geo. Work on your speech. Love Christian."

To their family and friends, the two together looked like they just stepped out of the pages of a magazine.

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

"Two beautiful kids," Mr Avila 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 Mr Avila is now certain they died from a drug overdose after talking to police and experts.

However, he told The Orange County Register that he has more questions than answers.

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

 

Michelle Avila, 23, and Christian Kent, 20. Picture: Facebook
Michelle Avila, 23, and Christian Kent, 20. Picture: Facebook

 

 

Michelle's parents had moved their daughters to Newport Beach when they were young, thinking it would be a safer place for their girls than Los Angeles, The Daily Mail reported.

Michelle, 23, and Christian, 20, fell in love immediately, dating for a about a year.

"It's crazy how two souls can connect so deeply & quickly … can't wait for some more amazing memories to be made," Michelle wrote on social media in August, when Christian went away to college.

"Today I had to say goodbye for now, to my best friend and partner in crime," she wrote.

"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, and life 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 was a star student, and once received a letter from President George W Bush to honour her achievements, The Orange Country Register reported.

She loved to travel, having spent the last few years in Bali, Indonesia, Costa Rica, Japan and Brazil before she began modelling and studying communications.

Michelle's father said she dreamt of being a journalist.

"She was going to follow her sister," he said. "She loved writing, she loved to write, she loved speech."

Christian, who also grew up in Newport, was tanned from days spent outdoors catching waves, his blond hair worn long, touching his broad shoulders, the local publication reported.

In a local, online publication, What Youth, a tribute read:

"Christian and his beautiful girlfriend, Michelle Avila, were found unresponsive last weekend at her home in Huntington Beach.

"We last saw them at our last skate jam a month or so ago. In love, happy and at home. His death has hit us hard."

His close friend Andeaux Borunda described him as a "genuine" soul who was always there to lend a helping hand "in times of worry".

"In the moments when you felt the world was spinning backwards, he would help you move forward," Brounda wrote on What Youth.

 

Friends thought they were the perfect couple. Picture: Facebook
Friends thought they were the perfect couple. Picture: Facebook

 

"He roamed the coast in a '72 baby blue Volkswagen Squareback. Girls would whistle, and he would howl back. So, the thing actually solved more problems than it had. He was "The Boy."'

"At his house he sat down and played a vintage, blonde Stratocaster whose fingers who could tell a million stories. He was the guitar man."

Their loved ones are now left to write tributes to the couple.

"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.

Mr Avila can't help but blame himself for his daughter's death.

"You're supposed to care for what God gave you, and she was God's gift," he told The Orange Country Register. "That's what's eating me, from inside out. How come I failed? It just destroys me."

A study released last year by The Orange County Health Agency found that drug overdose deaths have increased by 88 per cent between 2000 and 2015, and nearly half of all deaths were due to accidental prescription drug overdoses.

There were 1,711,809 prescriptions for opioids in 2015, according to the Alcohol Drug Advisory Board.

A GoFundMe page has been set up for Michelle, which has so far raised more than $7000, which her father hopes to use for a program educating young people about drug use.

"My mission is to send a message," Mr Avila said. "To show how beautiful people can go through something like that. You're protected by nothing."