Long Died Accidentally From Helium

, Written by Craig Smullin, Posted: Tue, February 21 2012 at 4:39 PM, Updated: Tue, February 21 2012 at 5:45 PM

Autopsy results just in say Ashley Long died accidentally from inhaling helium. Meanwhile, the woman accused of furnishing alcohol, marijuana  and helium to the 14-year old girl who died at her home is free today.
       Katherine McAloon was expected to be arraigned on charges Tuesday but instead her case has been pushed back and she's free on bail.
   14-year old Ashley Long died Saturday night almost immediately after ingesting helium from a tank at the Medford home of Katherine McAloon.
    McAloon, charged with 7 counts of furnishing alcohol to a minor and two counts of delivering marijuana to a minor... is now free after posting bail.
    "It's still under investigation."
    Jackson County Deputy District Attorney Beth Heckert is leading the investigation... and while Ashley Long's family says they want McAloon held responsible...
    "She needs to be put away for manslaughter."
    Heckert says they would have to prove McAloon knew it was potentially fatal and did nothing to prevent it.
    "It may be difficult to prove manslaughter or criminally negligent homicide with the facts that we have here."
   Heckert says the investigation is ongoing.
   "We have to show in criminal negligence that a person should have known of the risk and disregarded it."
      Now that the autopsy is in... it would be difficult to prove McAloon knew helium could or would be fatal. She is due back in court on March 20th.

About the Author

Craig Smullin

NBC5 News Director 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. He became News Director in January, 2014.

When he's not managing a busy newsroom, Craig spends time with his wife, two young sons 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 anchoring weekdays on NBC5 News at 6pm.

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