By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
"Shelley"'s story has changed so many times that even if she has really changed her life, I am not sure she has told or even knows what the truth is yet. We had three different stories from her by the funeral, which was five days after his death, and none of them agree with what she told you. The detectives also verified that every time someone asked her what happened, she told a different version. Her drug use and her probation were the blame for this. The detectives were referred to her attorney within a month after Luke's death. I am not sure why her story sounded so believable to you. She and "Jason" just lied to you. When we removed things from Luke's apartment, the bongs and paraphernalia had been thrown in the closet, not removed from the apartment like she and "Jason" said. The cleaning of Luke's apartment happened that morning before the police were called, not the night before as she stated to you. We found damp cloths hanging that night. The safe was emptied after the police and medical examiner left the apartment; the first detective on the scene verified this because it was not in his notes that the safe was lying on the floor of the bedroom emptied. They also went through Luke's car after everyone else left since we found Luke's keys in a pocket of some shorts in the car rather than on the kitchen counter where the assistant apartment manager and detectives left them. I do believe we discussed this.
People did lie to you.
The tone of the story seemed to suggest that Luke had consistent drug use. Dr. Rohr told me that Luke's body did not show signs of consistent drug use. Our family physician had seen Luke as well. Our family doctor had seen Luke fairly routinely, and at no time did Luke ask him for drugs, nor did any blood work or behavior suggest to our doctor that Luke had a drug problem. This makes me believe that Luke used poor judgment in his experimentation, but it seems that this is all Luke was doing.
I certainly was not as casual about smoking pot as the article made it seem. Truth is, how much control can any parent have about the behavior of a child when he is not living at home? Luke had told me other drugs were not being used.
Luke's episode at church camp was the only time he was in trouble for using pot. The article made it seem as though there were more.
I do regret agreeing to the article in the first place. And I do understand that you write a story and turn it in to an editor and neither you nor the people you write about can always know the tone a story will take.
Sondra Stone Fishman
Editor's note: Dallas Observer staff writer Glenna Whitley wrote the story she said she would: about Luke Stone's tragic death and the abuse of prescription and non-prescription drugs among his friends at the University of Texas at Dallas, where Luke was a student. She interviewed numerous friends and acquaintances of Luke, who detailed his experimentation with and reliance on prescription drugs such as Percocet and Adderall. Virtually every account from his peers suggested that Luke was a heavy user of prescription drugs as well as marijuana. The story made a point of stating that Luke was not a heavy drinker. The Collin County Medical Examiner, Dr. William Rohr, found that Luke's death was caused by mixed-drug intoxication--the combined effects of morphine, amphetamine and at least three benzodiazepines. The combination of chemicals shut down his respiratory system. Dr. Rohr also noted the presence of an undiagnosed disorder called Hashimoto's thyroiditis, which affects hormone production. Ms. Whitley contacted Dallas County's chief medical examiner, Dr. Jeffrey J. Barnard, as well as a specialist in endocrinology at UT Southwestern Medical Center; both indicated this would have played little if any role in the death of someone Luke's age. Consequently, information about this disorder was trimmed from the print version of the story then reinstated in the Web version in response to Ms. Fishman's concerns. As for the cat--which was identified in a caption as Luke's cat--we were in error, and we apologize.