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Charges filed against Kelowna reporter accused of threatening to kill hockey player

Tieja MacLaughlin, a 25-year-old freelance reporter known for covering the Kelowna Rockets, is currently being held in a Kennewick jail for allegedly threatening to kill her hockey player boyfriend.
Image Credit: Instagram
January 23, 2014 - 12:49 PM

KELOWNA - Charges of Felony Harassment and Domestic Violence have been filed against 25-year-old Tieja MacLaughlin, according to Benton County public defender Eric Hsu.

“It looks like, from the court documents, that she might be arraigned tomorrow but it was actually filed today,” he said.

Under their legal system, charges of Domestic Violence are brought whenever the parties involved have been in a personal relationship.

MacLaughlin remains in police custody and is scheduled to appear before a judge on Friday at 1:15 p.m.

The Kelowna reporter was arrested in Washington State Saturday for allegedly threatening to kill a junior hockey player with whom she had a personal relationship, according to the most recent information obtained from Kennewick Police.

It remains unclear when Tieja MacLaughlin will be released but more details are expected after she appears before a judge for arraignment. MacLaughlin is being held on $50,000 bail for felony harassment and domestic violence for allegedly threatening to kill former boyfriend, 19-year-old Jackson Playfair. Playfair is a hockey player for the Tri-City Americans of the Western Hockey League. McLaughlin is a local reporter who has worked for several different news outlets. 

Details of the case have been difficult to verify—various media reports differ in facts, as has information from police—but Kennewick police spokesman Sgt. Craig Hanson said MacLaughlin drove from Kelowna to Kennewick on Saturday to meet with Playfair. An affidavit issued by the prosecuting attorney says only that she was upset he was seeing another woman and threatened “he would be dead by the end of the night.”

Police said they interviewed her and she assured them she would return to Canada, but instead sent Playfair dozens of messages asking him to meet her at a hotel. Police arrived instead and she's been in custody since.

MacLaughlin was assigned a public defender, Eric Hsu, who confirmed MacLaughlin is still in custody.

None of the allegations have been proven in court and MacLaughlin can be held for three business days after the day she was booked (Saturday, January 18). With Monday being a holiday in the U.S., that put the deadline at the end of Thursday.

According to the Tri-City Herald, Playfair told police at 2:30 a.m. Saturday that he had been dating MacLaughlin since July, but said "it has been a rocky one."

Since the story broke Wednesday, it's made international headlines, appearing in news broadcasts and papers all over the world.

According to the Kennewick Police Request for Investigative Hold, MacLaughlin has denied she threatened to kill Playfair.

Jackson Playfair is the son of Jim Playfair, the former Calgary Flames head coach and player for the Edmonton Oilers and Chicago Blackhawks.

Playfair was traded to the Tri-City Americans two weeks ago.

Tri-City Americans right wing Jackson Playfair, 19.
Tri-City Americans right wing Jackson Playfair, 19.
Image Credit: Tri-City Americans

To contact the reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw at aproskiw@infotelnews.ca, call (250) 718-0428 or tweet @AdamProskiw.

—This story was updated Thursday, January 23 at 4:30 p.m. to include a statement from Eric Hsu.

—This story has been updated numerous times as information becomes available. Ed. note: Readers may notice wide discrepancies in facts on various news stories. Information from official sources has also varied. 

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014
InfoTel News Ltd

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