Friends and family still left with more questions than answers in the accidental death of Ashley Long. While they won't see Katherine McAloon in court until March 20th and and toxicology reports are still weeks out, Tuesday night those who knew Ashley chose to focus on the way the 14 year-old lived, not how she died. NBC5's Laura Cavanaugh reports.
An outpouring of support in Eagle Point as students celebrated their friend and classmate, Ashley Long, who died on Saturday at this East Medford home almost immediately after ingesting helium from a tank at the home of Katherine Mcaloon.
At Eagle Point Middle School Tuesday, students wore purple, Ashley's favorite color. They also wrote notes to the 8th grader's family that are being placed on a bulletin board in the school cafeteria, which will ultimately be presented to her family.
During halftime at Tuesday night's Eagle Point High School basketball game, community members, some perfect strangers touched by the tragedy, took time to honor Ashley's memory.
Junior Ali Nesberg felt compelled to help. She warned the crowd of Eagle fans how fragile and precious life can be.
"Ashley has always been the girl who says no," Nesberg said. "But due to peer pressure and the want to be accepted, she attended this party. This was Ashley's first party. It only takes making the wrong decision one time to end your life."
She asked the community to band together and donate what they could to help the local family in need.
While Ashley's parents are devastated by their daughter's death, they are hoping the tragedy can lead to increased awareness about the dangers of underage experimentation and peer pressure.
"Talk to your kids about alcohol and drugs," says Loriann Earp, Ashley Long's mother. "I didn't know she was even thinking about it or I would of. It was too early. I didn't know we were at that point yet in our life. She was a baby."
If you would like to help the family with funeral expenses, they have established a bank account at the Rogue Federal Credit Union under "Ashley Long."