MAYFIELD - People who know Brent and Kathryn Alling are painting a sad picture of a couple whose life was stressed by financial trouble and drugs known as "bath salts" - until one of them ended up dead and the other in jail.
Kathryn Alling, 54, was found dead Monday, her naked body lying in plain sight along a dead-end road. Her husband, Brent, 42, was declared a "person of interest" in her death and was jailed the next day, when state police arrested him on a charge of driving while intoxicated.
As the investigation unfolded this week, officials said the couple's likely use of "bath salts" may have played a role in her death, public-health officials issued warnings about the dangers of the hallucinogenic stimulants, and one local mayor called for his city to outlaw their use.
Kathryn Alling, the woman found dead in Mayfield this week, once lived in this house at 23 Oakland Ave. in Gloversville and had hoped to buy it.
The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan
The couple lived on the second floor of a house on Oakland Avenue in Gloversville until this spring, when they were evicted and moved into a camper behind Brent Alling's mother's house at 127 Delaney Road in the town of Mayfield, about a mile from Tyrrell Road, where Kathryn Alling's body was found by town Highway Department workers collecting trash.
Their former landlord, Joseph Adamkoski, said he knew Brent Alling - whom everyone calls Scott, he said - for three or four years and knew of his use of "bath salts," as well as Alling's pledge to not use them.
"Scott was a decent guy, but not while on this drug," Adamkoski said.
Adamkoski said he had a "verbal agreement" with Kathryn Alling, who had planned to buy the 23 Oakland Ave. home. He said the couple may have had marital discord, but he "never saw them argue or fight."
"I honestly believe they loved each other," Adamkoski said.
The couple was paying $450 a month to live on the second floor, but the agreement fell apart when they stopped making payments.
"They didn't hold up their end of the bargain," said Adamkoski, who ultimately decided the couple needed to leave.
Adamkoski won a $1,095 judgment - plus $45 in legal expenses - against the Allings, which was entered in Gloversville City Court on April 13 for their failure to pay for the home, according to court documents. Public records also indicate state tax warrants have been issued against Brent Alling for the last four years, each listing the Mayfield address associated with the camper.
Adamkoski said Kathryn's mother, Marjorie Jackson, and Kathryn's son, Mario Javarone, lived at the Oakland Avenue home for a period. He said Javarone was evicted and Jackson eventually went to the live at the Wells Nursing Home in Johnstown.
An employee at the nursing home this week said Kathryn Alling's mother would not take calls for comment about her daughter.
Javarone could not be reached for comment. The A.G. Cole Funeral Home is handling arrangements for Alling's funeral.
St. Mary's Addiction Services Clinic staffer William Doran said Friday "bath salts" are the "primary drug of choice" for some people. He said a young person in the area recently committed suicide after getting high on bath salts.
"It is frightening," Doran said. "It is a very powerful stimulant drug."
Adamkoski said he saw many periods of sobriety for Brent Alling, but when he was "back on bath salts," he began acting strangely and exhibiting paranoia.
He said one of Alling's relatives once took him to St. Mary's Hospital in Amsterdam so he could get help.
Fulton County District Attorney Louise Sira and Sheriff Thomas Lorey confirmed the Allings' alleged "bath-salt" use is part of the investigation, which includes state police and the county coroner's office. They are awaiting the results of toxicology tests, which will not be available for weeks, and the final autopsy report.
Brent Alling is a "person of interest" in Kathryn Allings' death, but he has not been charged in connection with it. His attorney, Robert Abdella of Gloversville, denied a request for Alling to be interviewed and declined to comment on the case. Late Friday, Alling remained in the Fulton County Jail on $2,500 bail or $5,000 bond after being charged by state police with DWI and four vehicle and traffic law infractions on Tuesday, shortly after state police attempted to take him into custody at his home. He will answer that charge Tuesday in Mayfield Town Court.
'Too much going on'
Robert Jackson, one of Kathryn Alling's four brothers, said, "She was a very good person. All the time, she seemed real good."
"I know she had a lot of bruises," he added. "She had too much going on ... I don't know what was going on with her broken arm and bruises. She said she didn't know what was going on."
Lorey said this week that Alling's body showed signs of bruising, though the cause of death was not apparent.
Jackson said he worried about their mother when she lived with the couple in Gloversville.
"I used to talk to her a lot," Jackson said. "She wouldn't tell us kids how things were going."
The Allings' Mayfield neighbors said they knew little about the couple, but Toni Johnson, who owns the Sawdust Cafe in Bleecker and hired Brent for "odd jobs" and Kathryn to help with parties, said Brent "seemed like a nice guy. They seemed to get along really well."
Local ban proposed
Gloversville Mayor Dayton King said Friday he will ask the Common Council on Tuesday to pass legislation prohibiting the sale or use of "bath salts" in the city. The state Heath Department already bans the drug's sale, although local drug-education officials say it's available in some local shops.
King said he hopes other municipalities and the state also take strong action.
"I have reached out to our state legislators and hope they will get on board fast," he said.
The Drug Enforcement Agency issued a nationwide temporary ban of some ingredients found in "bath salts," and the House and Senate recently passed separate bills - including one sponsored by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. - that would make their sale, along with the sale of synthetic marijuana, a federal crime.
John Borgolini contributed to this story. Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at email@example.com.