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Mother, daughter discussed alcohol dangers before teen girl’s death

Updated January 24, 2021 - 1:44 pm

Shellie Halper spoke with her daughter about the dangers of alcohol on New Year’s Eve, less than 24 hours before the 13-year-old was found unresponsive inside the home of a friend, the mother’s lawyer said Friday.

“She did not give her daughter permission to drink,” attorney Matthew Hoffmann said in an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “Quite the opposite.”

Aumnie Halper was found unresponsive on the morning of New Year’s Day in a home in The Ridges, a wealthy Summerlin neighborhood. While details remain unclear, authorities have referred to the girl’s death as “alcohol-related.”

Before Aumnie left home that Thursday evening, her mother gave her “material to read” about the effects of alcohol, Hoffmann said.

“I fear it will be suggested that somehow Shellie gave Aumnie permission to drink that night, and that is simply not true,” the attorney said, “and I can prove it.”

Aumnie initially intended to spend the night with friends at the home of Les Blake, owner of Moon Valley Nurseries, along with several other girls.

The teen spent about five hours at the Blake home before being invited, with others, to the nearby home of Eva Littman by Littman’s daughter.

Shellie Halper was aware that her daughter would spend the night at Littman’s, Hoffmann said, but had no contact with parents of either family until the morning of Jan. 1, when Littman called, “telling her to come over.”

Aumnie was found inside that house at 59 Panorama Crest Ave. at about 8:30 a.m., according to police. She was pronounced dead that day at a hospital.

Repeated attempts by Review-Journal reporters to reach Littman for comment have been unsuccessful.

Aumnie had carried a backpack and her cellphone for the sleepover, though Hoffmann said he did not know “one way or the other” whether any alcohol was inside the backpack.

Hoffmann said Shellie Halper, a single mother, still has many unanswered questions about how her daughter obtained alcohol.

None was missing from the Halper home, according to the attorney.

“What little there is,” he said, “it’s all there, with dust on the bottles.”

Hoffmann said he spoke with lawyers for the Blake family and Littman, in the hope of avoiding litigation over the girl’s death, but he has not talked directly to the parents of others with Aumnie before her death.

Earlier this month, a spokesman for the Blake family told the Review-Journal that no drinking occurred at the Blake home and that the girls were “under constant adult supervision.” Cameras at the home captured the activity. Hoffmann said he was seeking that video footage.

“It would be a little naive to think that somehow she was the only one (drinking),” the lawyer said. “I’m not casting blaming on anyone. But we have questions based upon what happened, obviously.”

No arrests have been made in connection with the girl’s death, and police have refused to turn over related reports.

“It’s my hope that the police investigation will shed light on what really happened,” Hoffmann said.

The Clark County coroner’s office also has not ruled on the cause and manner of Aumnie’s death.

A funeral for Aumnie, who was born in Woodland Hills, California, was set to take place at 4 p.m. Sunday but as of at least Sunday morning had been postponed.

Along with her mother, Aumnie is survived by her aunt, Stephanie Singer, and grandparents Gene and Faye Elman.

“Aumnie was Shellie’s entire world,” Hoffmann said. “To say Shellie’s devastated doesn’t come close to explaining what she’s going through.”

According to her obituary, Aumnie loved animals and volunteered weekly at her favorite animal shelter.

“She became a vegetarian at the young age of five when she discovered that meat came from animals and never looked back,” the obituary stated.

She also loved science, sewing, volleyball, basketball and playing her ukulele.

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

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