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Relatives of dead mother of 2 decry dangers of heroin

February 27, 2004|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

FAYETTEVILLE, Pa. - A 20-year-old Fayetteville woman released from Franklin County Prison Saturday was found dead in her home Wednesday morning, according to Pennsylvania State Police.

Franklin County Coroner Jeffrey R. Conner said he pronounced Ashlee Renee Carbaugh, of 116 W. Main St., dead at 9:45 a.m. Results of an autopsy performed Thursday at Lehigh Valley Medical Center were inconclusive and a cause of death will not be released until results of toxicological tests are completed in six to eight weeks, he said.

"I picked her up on Saturday," Wanda Reichard said of her daughter-in-law. Reichard said her son, Dustin Ray Carbaugh, 19, of the same address, is still in the county prison.

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"She was very happy and energetic until she got into heroin," Reichard said. "Then they started doing the drugs and I could tell the difference," she said of her son and daughter-in-law.

Heroin "is a killer. It might as well be a gun," Ashlee's mother, Nicki Reasner, said.

While neither Reichard or Reasner could say whether Ashlee overdosed on drugs, both said they believe her abuse of heroin played a role in her death.

"This is an insane problem and I hope soon these kids will figure this out," Reasner said.

"Our schools are full of it," she said.

According to Franklin County Court records, Dustin and Ashlee Carbaugh pleaded guilty on Oct. 1, 2003, to criminal attempt to purchase cocaine. Both were sentenced Nov. 12 to a year of intermediate punishment, including two months of intense supervision, one of which was to be served on an electronic monitor, according to court documents.

The affidavit of probable cause stated the couple was arrested on March 23, 2003, after several calls were made to a pager by someone looking for a suspected drug dealer with the street names "Chaos."

The dealer, however, had been arrested three days earlier and the pager was turned over to a member of the Franklin County Drug Task Force.

A member of the task force arranged to meet the caller to sell her cocaine and the couple was arrested when they drove to a meeting place outside a Chambersburg area business.

After they were sentenced to probation, both Dustin and Ashlee Carbaugh tested positive for heroin in urine tests administered Nov. 21 by the Franklin County Probation Department.

"I used one line of cocaine and 1/2 a vile (sic) of heroin," she wrote on a Probation Department admission form. "I am not lying about it. I used cocaine and heroin," she wrote.

On Dec. 23, Ashlee was sentenced to 90 days to a year in jail and given 32 days credit for time served, according to court documents.

"We talked at them, we yelled at them, but they wouldn't listen," Reichard said of her son and daughter-in-law. "We warned both of them it was going to take one of their lives."

"We didn't want to see them go to jail, but we knew they were safe there," she said.

"She called here very often. She mailed us cards all the time" while she was in jail, Reasner said. The calls and cards gave Reasner hope her daughter was putting her life in order.

"It was like Ashlee was coming back to us," Reasner said.

Reasner said she last saw her daughter Monday. They were making plans to buy new clothes and the mother of two small children was anxious to look for a job, Reasner said.

Reichard said Ashlee was a loving mother to her two children, 22-month-old Kaylee Renee and 7-month-old Kasey Douglas. Ashlee and Dustin Carbaugh enjoyed fishing and singing together, she said.

"They were soul mates," Reichard said.

"I just feel numb," said Reasner. "I feel like she's going to walk in the house."

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