Guitarist Sargent Found Dead

Another promising Seattle rock figure has died of an apparent drug overdose.

Stefanie Ann Sargent, 24, guitarist for the all-girl punk-rock band Seven Year Bitch, was found dead in her Capitol Hill apartment Sunday night. According to a police report, a syringe was found near the body. The report said the death was an apparent heroin overdose. The King County Medical Examiner's office said an autopsy was performed yesterday but the results were not yet known.

Seven Year Bitch had just returned from New York, where the band performed at the prestigious New Music Festival. The performance was reportedly well received, and several national rock publications and major labels expressed interest in the band, according to Barbara Dollarhide of C/Z Records, the group's Seattle label. C/Z was to have released Seven Year Bitch's debut album next month, but now says it will be delayed.

"This doesn't make sense," said her mother, Paula Sargent. "Her life was to be a musician and to create things. . . . She seemed so happy coming back from the tour."

More than 100 people earlier this month had attended her 24th birthday party, which her mother hosted at her home.

Stefanie Sargent was born June 1, 1968, in Seattle.

She grew up in Seattle and briefly attended Roosevelt High, then transferred to the Summit K-12 Alternative School. She graduated from high school two years early, at age 16, said her mother.

She then worked various jobs - making pizza in particular - traveled up and down the West Coast and played music. She had worked in several bands, but none as successful as Seven Year Bitch.

Sargent was a familiar figure in the local rock scene. In addition to being a member of Seven Year Bitch since its formation about a year ago, she frequented performances by other local bands.

"She was the most exuberant, energized woman I've known," said Dollarhide . "She was probably one of the best-known figures within the Seattle underground community. Everybody knows who Stef is. She was extremely loved. A lot of people are going to miss her."

She said Sargent's friends and bandmates were unaware of any hard-drug use.

"Nobody in the band knew that she was doing anything like that," she said. "The band is actually extremely opposed to that. Everybody was completely bewildered when it happened."

Earlier this year, in an article on the Seattle rock scene, Rolling Stone magazine said heroin was a hidden but serious problem among Seattle rock groups. In March 1990, Andrew Wood, lead singer for the band Mother Love Bone, was found dead of a heroin overdose just before the release of its debut album.

According to the medical examiner's report, Sargent's roommate came home at 8:30 p.m. Sunday and found her unresponsive. When medical personnel arrived, they pronounced her dead at the scene.

Dollarhide said the band will hold a wake for Sargent within the next few days.

Sargent's survivors include her mother and father, Kenneth Sargent. Her mother suggested memorials to the Northwest AIDS Foundation. The family has not yet scheduled a memorial service.

(Times staff reporter Joe Haberstroh contributed to this report.)