The woman accused of furnishing alcohol, marijuana and helium to minors at an East Medford party where a 14 year-old girl died was back in jail this weekend. Now in an exclusive interview, the grieving family of that teenager speaks to NBC5’s Laura Cavanaugh about Katherine McAloon’s third run-in with the law this year.
It’s been one month since the death of Loriann and Justin Earp’s daughter, Ashley. But the wounds are still fresh.
“She’ll never take another family picture,” says Ashley’s mother, “that lady took my child, she took my baby.”
That lady, Katherine McAloon was arrested again this past Saturday
by Medford Police for drunk driving. After failing a sobriety test, she refused to submit to a breath test. The officer then arrested her and she was held at the Jackson County Jail.
“She’s at it again, drinking and driving, putting people at risk,” says Justin Earp, Ashley’s stepfather.
“This is now her third brush with the law and she’s certainly making some poor choices,” says Lt. Mike Budreau of the Medford Police.
It’s a choice that’s garnered national attention. On February 18th, police say Katherine McAloon transported a group of seven middle schoolers from Eagle Point to her East Medford townhouse. And she hosted a party that night where she’s charged with giving teenagers alcohol and marijuana. Fourteen year old Ashley Long died after inhaling helium out of a pressurized tank.
“No one has been charged in Ashley’s death yet,” says Justin Earp. “Katherine McAloon is responsible. She hosted the party that set the stage for Ashley’s death. She didn’t steal a candy bar. A 14 year-old girl died in her care at a party she hosted.”
It has been a bad year for Katherine McAloon. In January, she was charged with identity theft, arrested for furnishing alcohol to minors and delivering marijuana in February, and now driving under the influence this St. Patrick’s Day weekend.
“On a legal basis, we cannot present this weekend’s case and relate it to the Ashley Long case. She hasn’t been convicted of anything so she is innocent until proven guilty,” says Budreau.
Since Ashley’s death, her family has committed themselves to creating awareness about the dangers of helium. They appeared on the “Today Show” in late February. And just last week, they were in Washington D.C. lobbying for new laws for helium and warning others about the dangers of inhalants.
And while this family can’t bring Ashley back, they don’t want her death to be in vain, which is why they are praying for justice.
“I hope Katherine McAloon goes away for long time.”
“Instead of an 8th grade diploma, we got a death certificate. We want justice for Ashley.”
Katherine McAloon has once again bailed out. Her arraignment for those February charges has now been pushed back. Chief Deputy District Attorney, Beth Heckert, says they are awaiting toxicology reports. Ashley’s family has created a website educating kids about peer pressure and the dangers of inhalants. That website is ashleyshope.org
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