LEWISTON – It could be the end of the year before the cause of 18-year-old Adam Beggs’ death is known for certain, the Maine Medical Examiner’s Office said Monday.

Police said the Auburn teen died early Saturday after drinking a substantial amount of vodka with friends at 22 Granite St.

Friends of Beggs said the teen drank heavily while visiting people there because he was depressed about a card game and money issues.

Whether the rapid intake of liquor directly caused his death is pending further testing and could take five weeks or more, according to a spokesperson at the M.E.’s Office.

Another man, 23-year-old Larando Sweeting, of 317 Main St., was charged with furnishing the alcohol to Beggs. Police said Sweeting was also drinking at the Granite Street home, which is in violation of conditions of his release from jail last month.

In October, Sweeting was indicted on charges of gross sexual assault and sexual abuse of a minor for allegedly having sex with a girl under the age of 14 between March 1, 2006, and February this year.

Sweeting remained at the Androscoggin County Jail on Monday night on $75,000 bail, hours after his initial court appearance.

Police are interviewing other teens who were at the home when Beggs fell unconscious and could not be revived. Few details about the investigation were revealed Monday, but Auburn police said they intend to speak with more people in coming days.

Michael Flynn, a 19-year-old friend of Beggs, wrote on a Sun Journal message board that it was his home where Beggs had been drinking. Flynn wrote that Sweeting bought the liquor and later challenged Beggs to a drinking contest.

Flynn said he went to sleep early Saturday night and was not in the presence of Beggs when he began drinking heavily and quickly.

“All I wish to say is that he was the best friend I’ve ever had,” Flynn said on Monday.

Others who knew Beggs said he was often a hard drinker who frequently drank to the point of intoxication. On Beggs’ Facebook page, he was listed by friends as one of the top people they knew who could drink the most.

Flynn and other friends, meanwhile, were finding ways to mourn and memorialize Beggs. A group of them set up a tribute page on the Web in which those who knew Beggs were invited to leave comments and upload photographs.

Since Sunday, dozens of people had left messages at www.adambeggsrip.com, most reflecting on their personal memories of Beggs, others offering condolences to his family.

Police said it was 6:45 a.m. when they were called to Granite Street after Beggs fell unconscious. The first officers to arrive attempted to revive him without success. He was taken to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston where he was pronounced dead.

The charge of furnishing alcohol to a minor for which Sweeting was arrested is considered a felony because an underage person died.

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