A Kelowna, B.C., reporter arrested Saturday for allegedly threatening to kill her hockey player boyfriend has now been formally charged in Washington State Superior Court.
Tieja MacLaughlin, 25, has been in custody since Saturday when she was arrested in Kennewick, Washington. Court documents say she had a 'rocky on-again, off again' dating relationship with Tri-City Americans hockey player Jackson Playfair, 19.
Last week, the documents say, Playfair told MacLauglin over the phone he had cheated on her with another girl, while in Spokane.
McLaughlin then allegedly began to verbally threaten Playfair.
"She advised him that by tomorrow night he would be dead," the documents say and that "when she sees him it would be the last game of hockey he plays. Mr Playfair advised that the defendant had made threats in the past to hurt him and herself when they had previous arguments."
The next day Playfair contacted police after receiving a number of further messages from MacLaughlin indicating she had driven to Washington state and was now in his neighbourhood.
Police officers found her at a Super 8 motel. McLaughlin denied threatening to kill Playfair and was told to stay away from him, but the following morning the hockey player called police again, saying he'd received two dozen more messages. That's when police arrested her.
Playfair son of NHL associate coach
Playfair is originally from Fort St. James, B.C., according to biographical information on the team's website. He is the son of Phoenix Coyotes associate coach Jim Playfair, and his brother, Austyn Playfair, was signed to the Americans last year.
MacLaughlin is a freelance reporter, originally from Ontario, who has been living and working in Kelowna mostly covering sports. She has contributed to Castanet, an online news website based in Kelowna, and has also written for the Kelowna Daily Courier as well as Shaw TV, and Hockey Canada.
Two addresses are listed for her in the court documents, one in Kelowna and one in Paris, Ont.
Kennewick police spokesman Mike Blatman said MacLaughlin had travelled to Kennewick from Paris.
"She got here and apparently there was some sort of a falling out between the two of them, where she became upset that he might have been involved in some other relationship," Blatman said in an interview.
Blatman said MacLaughlin ended up staying in a hotel room for the night, but continued to contact Playfair, prompting him to call police.
He said officers contacted MacLaughlin and she agreed to leave Playfair alone.
"She agreed to do that, said she wouldn't make any contact with him or anything else," Blatman said.
"Between that time and the next morning, there were a substantial number of text messages she continued to send Playfair."
A profile for MacLaughlin on the social networking site LinkedIn says she is a reporter for Castanet and the Kelowna Daily Courier. Stories with her byline having appeared in both publications as recently as this month.
Court appearance expected today
On social media McLaughlin's twitter friends are defending her, saying the whole story hasn't been heard.
A Twitter account that appears to be maintained by MacLaughlin suggests she may have crossed the border into the United States last Friday.
If I had a dollar for every time a US customs officer chirped my truck, I'd be able to buy a new truck.— Tieja MacLaughlin (@Tieja_Mac) January 18, 2014
McLaughlin is being held in custody on $50,000 bail. The felony harassment charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in jail. She is expected to make a court appearance today.