The following statement was released Friday by the family of Karen Kappelman:
We want to publicly thank the Boone County Sheriff's Department, Boone County and Kenton County attorneys for their handling of this case. We also want to thank the community for their support and both the community and media for honoring our request for privacy as we continue to recover from the death of our 15 year old daughter Karen Kappelman 2/28/2010.
On 9/16/2010, in Kenton County, Jordan Hart entered a plea of guilty to a 3rd degree misdemeanor charge involving serving alcohol to minors on 2/28/10. Karen never met Jordan prior to 2/28/10. 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. No one intentionally did harm or thought a death would occur. This was an accident that could have been avoided as most accidents can. The Kenton and Boone County attorneys are the law professionals know their jobs. They cannot make the laws but work with the laws we currently have. They can only review the evidence and decide who can be charged and with what charges.
We want the public to know there is more to the story then Jordan serving alcohol to the 15 year old girls. We don't know the whole story of that early morning or all of the events leading to Karen's death and we might not ever know. This was not a planned party but arranged just that night. Jordan was 20 years old at the time of the incident, he was an adult but not of legal age for alcohol, knew the girls were15 years old. Karen and her friend should not have left the house without permission that night. They had no transportation and so someone picked them up and dropped them off. Jordan was the only one charged due to the current laws and evidence, BUT he is not the only person involved. 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. 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.
Teens that have been drinking often also have drugs in their system and/or have been sexually assaulted, thankfully Karen's autopsy revealed no drugs and no sexual assault.
- Any individual coming in contact with Jordan: support and encourage him as he continues to grow from this situation. We believe this is changing his life and want him to grow. He too needs to heal and people to mentor and help him. Do not judge him, leave that to God. "Let he without sin cast the first stone".
- Young people: Understand the dangers of underage drinking. Drinking is not a game or a party. Drinking doesn't make you cool. Too many lives are lost due to drinking. We know you are taught the dangers of this in school. If you are in a situation and don't know what to do, contact a responsible adult, your parent or call 911. Don't believe it won't ever happen to you or your friend, EVER. Don't be afraid to stand up for what you know is right and believe in.
- Parents: Know where your teenagers are and know who their friends are, where they are going and when they are coming home. Don't be afraid to call and confirm with the other parent about their plans. Lock up the alcohol, prescription medicine and guns are in your house, this is not just for toddlers but for your teenager and/or their visiting friends. Tell your teenagers to call you anytime if they ever are in over their heads and you will pick them up. Don't punish them for asking for help. NEVER underestimate the need to fit in and peer pressure.
- Schools: Continue to educate students on alcohol, drugs, sex, bullying, cyber bullying and peer pressure.
- Parents that have had a child die regardless of their age: There are support groups in Cincinnati to help with your grief. We know of The Compassionate Friends (they can be found on the internet) there might be others. The Compassionate Friends support groups are throughout the country and they are on Facebook with daily postings.
Nothing will bring Karen back to us so let the healing begin. We as a community need to make positive changes, move forward and learn from her mistake and those of others. There is a great movie called "To Save a Life", everyone can learn to be a better friend and reach out to others. Even the small things we do for others can make a ripple changing effect in their lives.