Helium Claims Girl's Life

, Written by Craig Smullin, Posted: Mon, February 20 2012 at 3:04 PM, Updated: Mon, February 20 2012 at 3:15 PM

Ashley Long's family mourning the loss of the 8th grader today... but the fallout of this tragic loss is only just beginning.
    Long, an 8th grader at Eagle Point Middle School was partying with a group of friends at a home on Alameda Street in Medford Saturday night.
    The group drinking alcohol, smoking marijuana and ingesting helium from a tank... but then long collapsed.
   "We believe she ingested this helium from a tank and then seconds later collapsed and she never regained consciousness after that."
   An autopsy is scheduled but hasn't been performed yet, but investigators are leaning toward helium as the cause in Long's death.
    "We're certainly leaning toward the helium caused her death, maybe the alcohol and marijuana were contributing factors."
    The teens were partying at 27-year-old Katherine McAloon's home... she was promptly charged with 7 counts of furnishing alcohol to a minor and two counts of delivering marijuana to a minor... she was lodged in the Jackson County Jail on $38,000 bail.                While police say McAloon supplied the alcohol, they don't appear to be holding her responsible for Long's death... at this point.
    "You know alcohol and marijuana we believe were involved, but involved in her death? That's a long shot."
   McAloon isn't a parent of one of the teens, so M-P-D is looking into just how the kids ended up at her residence.
    "Yeah, we do have some ideas on how she knows them but that's not confirmed."
    The helium tank in question was a McAloon's residence, but since helium isn't in any way illegal, M-P-D declined to specify if any additional charges were forthcoming.

About the Author

Craig Smullin

Craig Smullin co-anchors NBC5 News at 6 and hosts the 5 on 5 Feature Interview on NBC5 News at 5. A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Craig graduated from Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, California with a degree in Recreation Administration and Sports Management.

Since joining NBC5 News in 2005, Craig has performed virtually every job in the newsroom: News and Sports Reporter, Sports Anchor, Producer, series and segment Host and Anchor of NBC5 News at Sunrise and NBC5 News at 5. When he's not reporting news, Craig spends time with his wife, young son and two dogs. He is a dedicated fan of the San Francisco 49ers and Portland Trailblazers and loves snow boarding the slopes of Mt. Ashland.

Catch Craig co-anchoring with Natalie Hurd weekdays on NBC 5 News at 6pm.

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