Teen's family says death was an 'accident'

WALTON, KY (FOX19) - The family of a Boone County teenager has released a statement after a man who provided alcohol to the teen on the night of her death pled guilty.

The family of Karen Kappelman says her death was an accident that could have been avoided and several wrong choices were made the night of her death.

Kappelman, 15, was found barely clothed outside her family's apartment in Walton back in February. An autopsy revealed her cause of death to be hypothermia, but alcohol was also in her system and contributed to her death.

Jordan Hart, 21, the man who provided Karen with the alcohol on the night of her death, pled guilty Thursday and was sentenced to six months probation and community service.

"He pled guilty and is facing the consequences of his actions; we are at peace with that because no amount of jail or money will bring Karen back to us," the Kappelman family said in their statement. "No one intentionally did harm or thought a death would occur. This was an accident that could have been avoided as most accidents can."

Karen and a friend had snuck out of the house and attended a party in Kenton County, where they were given the alcohol. Kappelman's family said Jordan and Karen had never met prior to that night.

"Jordan was the only one charged due to the current laws and evidence, BUT he is not the only person involved," the statement read. "Several poor choices were made that night and Karen paid with her life, Jordan now is paying some of the price too.

"There are other involved individuals who do know the events and how they could have intervened to prevent this from happening. The other young people involved may not be in the news or publicly charged but they too are responsible in the events contributing in Karen's death.  These individuals will have to live with their actions and/or lack thereof," the statement continues. "We are not looking to blame anyone for Karen's death but want the public to know her death was needless and preventable. For Karen to die of hypothermia within steps of our house is tragic."

The Kappelmans said they are thankful that Karen's autopsy revealed no drugs in her system and that she had not been sexually assaulted.

"Nothing will bring Karen back to us so let the healing begin," they said. "We as a community need to make positive changes, move forward and learn from her mistake and those of others."

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