By: Elena Frie, Rebecca Baron and Jason Jin
Vancouver’s very popular Playstate struck tragedy on September 26 when the Cyclotrone roller coaster sped off its tracks, crashing into a nearby walkway. The accident occurred during a final test run, after a set of safety tests were supposedly conducted.
At the scene of the crash, officials found two staff members: Jan Schmidt and Kelly Mai. Kelly, 18, died from head trauma and severe facial swelling. In a recent report released by British Columbia’s coroner, Mary-Ann O’Donelle, Kelly’s symptoms were found to have been caused by a severe allergic reaction. Jan Schmidt, a Playstate mechanic, was also found at the sight of the crash. He sustained minor injuries.
Autopsy tests have revealed that Kelly Mai died from allergic anaphylaxis due to cashews. Furthermore, the epipen that had been used in an attempt to save her life, had surpassed the expiration date. In addition, the forensic team discovered a perfectly adequate epipen 200 meters from the crash sight. It is believed to have been in her possession prior to the murder. Some other items were also found throughout the vicinity: Nitrile gloves, Rust-Oleum spray paint and empty coffee cups. Could this evidence lead to a very disturbing new step in the investigation? Could Kelly Mai have been murdered?
In Future Science Leaders (FSL), we were tasked with this same question: how and why was Kelly Mai murdered? Uncovering her murderer proved to be a difficult task. However, our suspicions were pinned on Steve Longmire. Steve, a Playstate mechanic and the brother of Kelly’s lover, Brandon, was not fond of Kelly. Brandon Longmire and Kelly’s relationship negatively affected Steve’s relationship with his brother. Furthermore, his dream of attending medical school with his sibling had been shattered.
Fueled on anger and jealousy, Steve began to plan ways to separate Kelly and Brandon. At first, he began by forcing Kelly and Jan on dates together. As they met secretly, Brandon remained oblivious to his girlfriend’s whereabouts. Steve was upset that his plan hadn’t worked and decided to use Kelly’s only weakness – nuts.
Meanwhile, Dylan Woo, the manager of Playstate, was under a lot of stress going through the ride’s safety inspections. Earlier that year, he had been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. However, during the days leading to the crash, he had forgotten to take his Xanax pills. Due to his high anxiety levels and the park’s tight budget, Dylan decided to cover the rusted carts with Rust-Oleum instead of performing a complete safety inspection.
During the morning of the accident, Steve opened Kelly’s locker with nitrile gloves to remove her epipen. He replaces it with an expired epipen instead. A few hours later, he buys Dylan, Jan and Andrea coffee. Steve intentionally orders cashew milk for Jan knowing of his future planned whereabouts with Kelly.
Kelly and Jan offer to run the final test on the roller coaster. As they step onto the ride, Kelly takes a sip of Jan’s coffee. As the ride begins, Jan realizes that Kelly is in anaphylactic shock. He attempts to save her life with the epipen, however, it had exceeded its expiry date. Suddenly, the roller coaster skids off of the track, crashing into the walkway.
Although Steve’s intentions originally were just to get his brother back so that he could spend more time with him which he loved doing, he quickly turned from a jealous brother to a murderer. The belongings in his locker, along with his DNA found on all of the involved materials and his motive, has lead us to discover his true intentions. There were other leads to begin with including threatening letters and comments from Kelly’s friend and coworker Andrea, however, it has been concluded that these were a coincidental and harmless dispute between friends. As well, as to any case file, there are other slight holes to the accusation. For example, can we really assume that Steve is so naive and ready to go to such extreme measures only to scare Kelly? It is unlikely that Steve didn’t understand about Kelly’s anaphylaxis reaction, as he was studying medicine and carrying a book of immunology in his locker. But, he still went ahead and swapped her epipen knowing that she would likely get a fatal allergic reaction.
Nevertheless, there are many details such as the faded DNA print on the materials which are due to the hand cream found in Steven’s locker. His nitrile work gloves were also found on the scene. Details like these go hand in hand in proving him guilty.
Overall, the tragic events that occurred in Playstate bring to light their inadequate safety inspection and the social mess between co-workers. These together lead to an undeserved and incredibly disturbing death of a young and bright woman. We all send our regards out to her family and friends and hope that Playstate will learn its lesson while most of all that Steve Longmire will be served justice.