Carla Kolbe - Brent and Kathryn Alling had been living in this camper, parked on the Delaney Road property of Brent’s mother.
By Jaime Studd
For the Express
MAYFIELD — A relatively new and particularly dangerous drug that has made headlines nationwide is making its presence known locally.
Last week, authorities announced the possibility that the increasingly popular drug “bath salts” may somehow play a role in the ongoing investigation into the death of a 54-year-old Mayfield woman, whose naked body was found by sanitation workers on Tyrrell Road June 4.
Fulton County District Attorney Louise Sira said the drug has come up a number of times in interviews police are conducting with various witnesses.
“The idea of bath salts, and possible use of bath salts has come up, but what role and whether it plays a direct role in this particular case is unknown at this particular time,” Sira said.
Sira declined to elaborate on what role authorities believe bath salts played in the case, saying she would never accuse anybody of drug use without substantial evidence of that being the case.
“The investigation is still ongoing and the sheriff’s office and the state police, with the oversight of the district attorney’s office, will continue the investigation,” Sira said.
The victim, Kathryn Jackson Alling of 127 Delaney Road, was identified by Fulton County Sheriff Thomas Lorey June 5, the result, he said, of tips provided to authorities by family and friends. Her identity was confirmed by fingerprints taken during an autopsy.
The victim’s husband, Brent Scott Alling, 42, who shared a small camper with his wife on the Delaney Road property, was arrested by state police June 5 on an unrelated charge.
The use of bath salts has received national attention in recent weeks, following a high-profile case in Miami in which a naked man, allegedly high on the drug, reportedly chewed off the face of another man.
Sira said Fulton County is not immune to the bath salt epidemic, noting that Gloversville police are dealing with a number of crimes they believe to be related to bath salts.
Sira said the Allings actually moved from Gloversville to Mayfield as recently as the end of April.
Detective Lt. Kurt Conroy, a spokesman for the Amsterdam Police Department, said the drug is known to authorities in that city as well, but he doesn’t believe its use to be as prevalent as it is in other communities across the country.
“In other parts of the country, I wouldn’t call it an epidemic, but they’re definitely getting a lot more reports of it,” Conroy said.
In the past year, Conroy estimated that Amsterdam police have made a handful of arrests related to the drug.
“It’s dangerous stuff. That’s the problem,” said Conroy. “I don’t want to pretend that it’s not a problem, because if somebody gets hold of it, it is a problem.”
Though he wouldn’t describe the problem as “prevalent” in Amsterdam, Conroy did acknowledge its availability in the region.
“They’re finding it,” he said. “I don’t know if you can get it here in the city, but they’re finding it.”
According to a message written by Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Use and published online last year, bath salts are a synthetic powder legally sold online and in drug paraphernalia stores.
“We know, for example, that these products often contain various amphetamine-like chemicals, such as methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MPDV,) mephedrone and pyrovalerone,” Volkow wrote. “These drugs are typically administered orally, by inhalation, or by injection, with the worst outcomes apparently associated with snorting or intravenous administration.”
According to Volkow, Mephedrone poses a particular concern because it presents the highest risk for overdose.
Bath salts are often labeled as a substitute for cocaine because their chemical composition acts as a stimulant on the brain.
However, it has also been known to cause hallucinations, psychotic breaks, and particularly violent episodes.
Though the three main ingredients in the substance have been banned in the state of New York, producers of the drug continuously alter its chemical makeup in an effort to circumvent the law.
Nationally, members of the House and Senate have yet to reconcile their respective bills outlawing the substance.
An autopsy conducted last week on the body of Kathryn Alling revealed no definitive cause of death, Lorey said. Authorities are awaiting the results of toxicology tests to determine how the victim died, but those may take several weeks before they are completed.
Though the victim’s body had sustained some bruising, preliminary autopsy results preclude that trauma from being the actual cause of death.
Brent Alling, according to Lorey, has a particularly violent past, which includes a 1995 conviction for assault on a previous spouse, for which he spent nearly three years in prison.
Lorey said his agency has never received any reports of domestic violence between Brent Alling and his wife of approximately 10 years, but he is asking the public to come forward with any information they may have pertaining to the couple.
Though he faces no charges in his wife’s death, Alling is still be considered a “person of interest” by authorities. According to Lorey, Alling is not cooperating in the investigation.
On June 5, Alling was stopped for driving erratically, within a mile of the couple’s home, as authorities were attempting to execute a search warrant on the property. He has been charged with DWI, as well as several other traffic violations, and is being held at the Fulton County Correctional Facility on $2,500 bail or $5,000 bond.