Woman Dies After Holding Wee for Wii Radio Contest

A California died over the weekend after participating in a “Hold Your Wee for a Wii” radio promotion.

The Sacramento news stations report water intoxication.

The results of a preliminary investigation released Saturday showed evidence “consistent with a water intoxication death” in the death of 28-year-old Jennifer Strange, Sacramento County assistant coroner Ed Smith said. Smith said the autopsy found no traces of “life threatening medical conditions” that would have otherwise explained Strange’s sudden death.

Strange, 28, was found dead inside her Astral Drive home in Rancho Cordova Friday afternoon. Her death came just hours after Strange participated in a radio station KDND 107.9 The End contest, testing contestants to drank as much water as they could without going to the bathroom. The winner of the “Hold Your Wee for a Wii” contest would take home a new Nintendo Wii video game system.

Strange’s co-worker at Radiological Associates of Sacramento Laura Rios said Strange participated in the contest Friday morning, then was heading home when she reportedly called her supervisor in terrible pain. “She said to one of our supervisors that she was on her way home and her head was hurting her real bad,” Rios said. “She was crying and that was the last that anyone had heard from her.”


According to contest participants, 17 to 20 contestants took part in the competition in a room at KDND’s Madison Avenue studios. The contest broadcast during The End’s Morning Rave program began around 6:15 a.m. as contestants were each handed eight-ounce bottles of water to drink every 15 minutes.

Fellow contestant James Ybarra of Woodland said he met Strange at the event and had no idea of the potential danger of water poisoning. “They were small little half-pint bottle so we thought it was going to be easy,” Ybarra said. “They told us if you don’t feel like you can do this, don’t put your health in risk.” But after 90 minutes of drinking, Ybarra decided he had had enough. “I tapped (out) after five (bottles),” Ybarra said. “My bladder couldn’t handle it anymore.”

Ybarra said after he quit, the remaining contestents were given even larger bottles to drink to stay in the competition. Strange was still in the contest when he opted out. “I was talking to her and she was a nice lady,” Ybarra said. “She was telling me about her family and her three kids and how she was doing it for kids.”


In a brief written statement issued Saturday, Entercom Sacramento VP and market manager John Geary expressed sympathy for Strange’s family. “We were stunned when we heard the news,” Geary said. “We are awaiting information that will help explain how this tragic event occurred.”

“They should have had a physician there, some type of statement or as to this can kill you. You can die from this,” Strange’s friend and co-worker Tracy Beam said. “People have died from this before and here we are. We don’t have our Jennifer.” “I believe everyone should just be fired and let go from that radio station,” Beam said. “It should be the end of The End.”

Here’s a video report from a local television station:

It was a stupid stunt and you’d think the station would have had someone available with an above-room-temperature IQ on staff to have advised them of this. Then again, you’d think a 28-year-old mother of three would have enough sense to know this is a bad idea, too. Still, a tragic outcome.

Gone Hollywood

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. anon says:

    Tragic, but I think the average person on the street thinks of water as being harmless, or even good for you. Remember that doctors are telling us that Americans are dehydrated and that we should all be drinking more water. Then there are all sorts of eating contests, some featured on this blog, that consists of eating mass quantities of hot dogs or whatever.

    That being said this was a pretty stupid stunt.

  2. Anderson says:

    Loathsome, and I’m more inclined to blame the station — the average person not only won’t know how dangerous this can be, but would tend to assume that the very fact of the contest suggested it wouldn’t be dangerous.

    Not everyone is going to recall that Tycho Brahe died from “holding his water” rather than leave the table at a feast given by an influential noble whom Tycho didn’t care to offend …

  3. Steven Plunk says:

    I agree with Anderson on this. The station enticed these people with a hard to get gaming system probably meant to go to their kids. Now these kids have no mother.

    We are becoming a “jackass” world where stunts, pranks, and practical jokes are broadcast as normal behavior. What they don’t show are the things that go wrong and believe me they go wrong a lot. Unfortunately there are some kids in Sacramento who now know how wrong they can go.

  4. Anderson says:

    Thankfully, all I had to do was show up at Wal-Mart at 5:30 a.m. Which put me 3d in line for what turned out to be 4 Wiis.

    Though if I’d had to get up to pee during that time, things could have taken an ugly turn.

  5. Casey says:

    I guess personal responsibilty doesn’t come into play. The fact that a grown woman voluntarily participated in a rediculous contest of her own free wiill apparently doesn’t mean a thing. Seems people want to put the radio station to blame, when ultimately this woman caused her own death. She signed a waiver for petes sakes…does no one understand that?! No one forced her to participate!!! It’s a damn game system – not having one isn’t the end of the world. It makes me sick to think that people don’t seem to think she holds any responsibility!

  6. Danielle K.M. says:

    No – thats bull.

    Waiver OR NOT…that was the stations fault.

    OBVIOUSLY NO ONE would have entered the station to do the stupid contest if they knew the repercautions! It is assumed that the Station Employees knew “a lil something” about their own contest.

    NOT ONLY THAT but a nurse called in WARNING the station. The contestants could not hear her speak, but the DJ’s could….what happened?? Did they call the winner?? No! They egged them on to drink more.

    THAT – is the STATIONS duty to see the harmful effects. STATIONS DUTY. Don’t make light of a mother dieing! She is dead over a stupid contest and her kids are left alone.

    No ONE should be put to shame, because no one meant to kill anyone…but at the same time. There should be some sort of guidlines when preparing contest- This isn’t Fear Factor.

  7. Briana says:

    OK….Whenever someone dies, it is human nature to try and find blame even when there is none! Responsibility falls on both parties, this happened for a reason…Never mind with the “what if’s” ……all that can be done now, is to learn from this!

  8. Jones says:

    Shes was a hoe anyways!

  9. Heather says:

    Why was the contest not stopped once a medical professional called and told the DJ’s what could possibly happen? Would the contestants quit the contest if they had heard what the nurse called in and said? I’m not laying blame here, but I agree that it was the responsibility of the radio station and the contestants to know what they were getting in to. I can’t imagine what life must be like now for the family, especially the children, of this young woman. Honestly, how many of you, before this happened, would have known that drinking a lot of water could have this outcome? I didn’t know that you could drink too much water. I’m just an average woman, and this lady probably was too. I would also think it’s safe to say that the former radio station employees feel like crap right now because of what happened to this lady. They did not intend for a tragic outcome. Anyway, just my thoughts and opinion. Thanks for reading.

  10. david says:

    I like to think I am not on the bottom half of the bell curve, but I have never heard of this. I would of had no clue you could of died from drinking water. The Radio stations liability should come in from them not consulting a physician, other then that I don’t see them as done anything wrong. You take a chance in anything you do.. people got shot at walmart camping for a ps3.. people die in car wrecks all the time.. everything you do there is a chance of death.. we just have trivialized those chances to a point we don’t think about them anymore.

  11. Ryan says:

    thats freakin stuiped hold you wee for a wii, its obvious that someone will die. and it happend.