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Investigation continues in ‘alcohol-related’ death of teen girl

Updated January 13, 2021 - 4:52 pm

New details have emerged surrounding the alcohol-related death of a 13-year-old girl found unresponsive on New Year’s Day in a wealthy Summerlin neighborhood.

As authorities await an autopsy report and continue to piece together facts about how Aumnie Halper died after being found at a home in The Ridges, the Las Vegas Review-Journal has learned that the teen was at the home of Les Blake, owner of Moon Valley Nurseries, for about five hours on New Year’s Eve.

The Blake family has hired media relations expert Tom Letizia and attorneys.

“I can be very clear about this: There was no drinking that took place at the Blake home on New Year’s Eve,” Letizia told the Review-Journal.

Reached by a reporter Wednesday afternoon, the girl’s mother, Shellie Halper, said, “I’m really still mourning deeply, I’m sorry,” and declined to speak further.

Aumnie arrived at the Blake home about 6:30 p.m. Dec. 31, and she was among “several young girls” there that night, according to the spokesman.

“The girls were previously made aware that underage drinking was not tolerated at the Blake home, and while present, were under constant adult supervision,” Letizia said in a statement provided to the Review-Journal.

Aumnie left the house about 11:30 p.m. “to go to another residence,” he added.

“When she left, Aumnie did not appear to be impaired or in distress in any way whatsoever,” according to Letizia’s statement.

The girl was found inside another home at 59 Panorama Crest Ave. about 8:30 a.m. Jan. 1, according to police. She died that day at a nearby hospital.

Repeated attempts to reach the owner of that home, Eva Littman, a prominent fertility doctor, have been unsuccessful. Littman unsuccessfully ran in the Nevada Assembly District 2 Democratic primary last year.

An online fundraiser launched this week to help Shellie Halper had collected nearly $7,000 as of Wednesday afternoon.

“Aumnie was a light,” wrote organizer Tod Wever. “She volunteered weekly at her favorite pet rescue. She was inclusive, artistic, and athletic. She loved volleyball, starting her own businesses, and was a straight A student. Raised by a single mom, Aumnie was and is Shellie’s whole world.”

In a phone interview Wednesday, Wever said Shellie Halper had worked for his company, Rentmax Property Management, for about 10 years.

With a son about the same age as Aumnie Halper, he said, he watched her grow into “an amazing girl, just like her mom.”

“It really hits close to home, because that just as easily could have been my son or anybody’s 13-year-old,” he said. “And it’s just so tragic and sad.”

He said he started the online fundraiser to “show love and support to Shellie so that she feels like life still has a purpose, and to give her some hope.”

Letizia said he has spoken at length with the Blake family and those who gathered at their home on New Year’s Eve. Cameras at the home captured the activity, he said.

“The Blake Family is deeply saddened by this tragic loss and their thoughts and prayers go out to the Halper family during this difficult time,” Letizia said in a statement.

No arrests have been made in connection with the girl’s death, and police have refused to turn over reports detailing the events that could trace Aumnie Halper’s steps.

Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson has pointed to a police investigation.

“I am familiar with the matter,” he said last week. “It’s my understanding that it’s being investigated, and they’re waiting for the autopsy report to come back. But my office is not involved. It’s all in law enforcement’s hands right now.”

Police have said abuse and neglect detectives were looking into the girl’s death. Officials with the Clark County Department of Family Services also said the organization was investigating the Jan. 1 death of a 13-year-old girl.

In an email sent the day after Halper died, Roxanne Stansbury, head of the private Alexander Dawson School, told parents that the eighth grader, described as “vivacious, bright, and joyful,” had died in “a tragic alcohol-related incident.”

Contact David Ferrara at dferrara@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039. Follow @randompoker on Twitter.

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