June 5, 2009

Are Orinda kids (or their parents) circling the wagons in teen’s drinking death?

The mother of Joseph Loudon, the 16-year-old Miramonte sophomore who died, reportedly after drinking too much at a May 23 teen party, is asking for people to come forward and tell what they know.

In a letter to the “Orinda community,” Marianne Payne is asking other kids who were at the party to tell the police what they know or saw. Also, she’s asking for help in locating her son’s I-phone.

Loudon, a popular student and athlete, collapsed at a party given at the home of a neighbor and fellow rugby teammate. Orinda police say that some 50 to 60 young people—including high school students—were at the party where there was reportedly a keg of beer and bottles of hard liquor available. Loudon was taken to Kaiser hospital in Walnut Creek where he was pronounced dead at about midnight.

The parents of Loudon’s 18-year-old neighbor, who hosted the party, were out of town, police say. That 18-year-old, Patrick Gabrielli, also known as P.J., was arrested on charges of contributing to the delinquency of someone under 18 and furnishing an alcoholic beverage to a person under the age of 21 years.

Loudon's mother writes:

“To date, only a handful of these people have been willing to come forward and of this handful of people, most are unwilling to share what they know.

If you were at the party and know what happened please do not be silent. If you are a parent or friend of someone at the party and have information about what happened, please come forward. …

If you have any information at all — please contact the Orinda Police.

We need answers. Answers that I am certain are out there.

The truth about what happened must be known. I have to know — we all need to know so that we can learn from this tragedy so that it will never happen again. Joe had more integrity than anyone I know. He was honest and forthright — and always believed in doing the right thing. Joe deserves this justice.”

Payne’s letter raises questions about whether students at the party have been told by their hyper-protective parents—and possibly their parents’ attorneys—to keep quiet.

Parents in high-achieving communities, like Orinda, take pride in their kids’ stellar grades and SAT scores and ability to gain admission to top colleges.

But more important, these parents should take pride in, and emphasize, that their kids show character, step up, take responsibility, and, as Payne says, help police uncover the truth of what happened.


Jules said...

I feel for this mother, she deserves answers and shame on anyone, youth and adults who withhold information out of fear. This is such a trajedy and everyone in the Orinda community should have compassion and integrity and work together to make sure this does not happen to another young human being. All communities should work together to prevent any tragic death by alcohol.

My heart and prayers are with the family of this young man who died so very young. I have a 16 year old and can not imagine the pain and sorrow this mother, father and their families must be feeling.

Anonymous said...

what happened is this--kids had a drinking party, and the boy drank WAY too much, and tragically died as a result. It is tragic, pure and simple, and nothing more. The boy died because of his own mistake, nobody poured alcohol down his throat but he. Sad. Maybe some of the other kids in the community will wake up, but alas, some will not, and in the future there will be more events like this, in some other town.

Anonymous said...

keeping it real:

maybe the kids were too drunk themselves to really know what happened -

my now 20 years+ recollection of Lamorinda parties is that they are dark environments, because the houses are in the hills and are not well lit, and so kids just kind of swirl around the properties in drunken dazes...

if that ever happened at a party I attended, could I have told you what happened inside the house? not if I had located my little group out by the pool or in the driveway...

so there's a good chance that a lot of the kids saw nothing, unless they just walked by after he was out - and then, to be honest, people sometimes when they are woosy just take a stretch on the carpet, so it could have been some time before he was noticed....

now, this is all total guessing, and no one should be off the hook, but it is possible to have been something like I've just described.

how many times did I see a young guy just take a carpet stretch - probably 3-5 times - though god knows why as that would have made me dizzy

Anonymous said...

Knowledge of what happened will not bring this child back. He drank too much on his own even if it was peer pressure.
More laws need to be enacted of parents who throw such parties because too many cannot say "No." My boyfriend's parents used to buy kegs for the high school crowd. They were the "pillars" of society.
My parents, who were both alchoholics said "No way" to even champagne at my grad party and were very strict. I didn't like it at the time, but am very grateful now. Oh, and that high school boyfriend..he is now a Christian with teenagers of his own. And does not drink.

Anonymous said...

Hey lorrielovesparties, I am truly glad that neither you nor your ex-boyfiend are not alcoholic. But I don't understand your argument. I certainly do not suport breaking the law and it is clear that under age drinking in this country is illegal. But there are entire continents where teenagers are allowed to drink at least at age 16 and it is clear that they don't all turn into alcoholics, so your point makes absolutly no sense.

Furthermore I don't understand the following statement: "Oh, and that high school boyfriend..he is now a Christian with teenagers of his own. And does not drink." Why is it of any importance that he is a Christian now? You didn't tell us his shoe size or that he prefers the Tonight Show over Late Night, because it is irrelevant. You seem to somehow insinuate that him being Christian makes him a better person?

I certainly do know many good Christians but I also know many good Jews, Muslims, Buddhists or Atheists and I also know some real horrible Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Atheists .... you name it.

So particularly after yesterday's speech of our president in Cairo I think it is about time that we all stop using religious affiliations as a proxy for character of a person, either good or bad.

Anonymous said...

To lorrielovesparties, I know plenty of Christians who are drunks.

Masterlock said...

Soccer mom is right, these kids probably aren't coming forward because they are scared to death that if they do they may be held responsible. There's not a whole lot to gain from there perspective, and if that party was like the parties I went to - every one there probably brought something and is terrified they might be held accountable.

My best friend was one of the first responders and was amazed by the kids peeling out and taking off. But he did say a handful stayed with him and were trying to save him by giving CPR.

Anonymous said...

"and, as Payne says, help police uncover the truth of what happened."

Or support a plaintiff in a wrongful death case and help them to turn a tragedy into lots of money????

Anonymous said...

And, if someone sues a negligent party, so what? If there is nothing to hide, why don't all of the kids involved give a statement? These parents are teaching their kids CYA rather than integrity and honesty.

If my kid was involved, I'd be devastated, but I'd want my child to take whatever responsibility he had in the matter.