Fall victim had been at frat party, police say

By Tim Weideman

Manhattan High graduate Naomi McClendon was drinking at a banned fraternity’s party last weekend before she was given a ride to a Tempe apartment complex where she died in a fall, police said Friday.

McClendon, 18, fell from a 10th-floor balcony of a privately owned student housing complex near the campus of Arizona State University around 2 a.m. on March 30.

She was treated at the scene and later died at a hospital.

Tempe police spokesperson Sgt. Michael Pooley said that prior to the accident, McClendon was at a party hosted by Alpha Epsilon Pi, a fraternity no longer recognized by the university.

Those responsible for throwing the party could face charges. Pooley said the Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control board is helping with the investigation to determine what charges could be applicable.

“They’re the experts on all the liquor (laws),” he said. “When you’re charging at a private establishment, if it’s not a licensed establishment, that’s illegal here. Also, serving underage people is illegal. So, we’ll be looking into that right now.”

After leaving the party, McClendon and two friends may have received a ride to the apartment complex, where one of the friends lived, Pooley said.

“They went to take her in there because of her condition,” he said. “She was intoxicated and they took her in there so she could lay down.”

How much alcohol McClendon may have consumed is still unknown. Pooley said it could be nine to 10 months before toxicology reports are returned.

McClendon’s friends left her alone in the apartment. At some point, she then went onto the balcony.

Police said they obtained video footage of McClendon’s entire time at the apartment complex, including when she straddled the balcony railing and fell.

Naomi was the daughter of Nate McClendon, director of orchestras at MHS, and Judy McClendon, a teacher in the school’s language arts department. Last year, she served as student body president.

Funeral services for McClendon have been scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday at Westview Community Church.

A candlelight vigil organized by MHS students will start at 5 p.m. Sunday at City Park.

McClendon’s friends also are raising money on, a crowd-funding website, to help with burial and services costs.

The page can be found on the website by searching for Naomi McClendon’s name. As of Friday morning, $5,372 had been raised.

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