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US prosecutor's office levies charges against spurned Kelowna reporter

Kelowna-area reporter Tieja MacLaughlin is in jail in Washington for allegedly making death threats to a love interest, 19-year-old WHL player Jackson Playfair. - Instagram user tieja_mac
Kelowna-area reporter Tieja MacLaughlin is in jail in Washington for allegedly making death threats to a love interest, 19-year-old WHL player Jackson Playfair.
— image credit: Instagram user tieja_mac

A Kelowna reporter who was arrested for allegedly making death threats against her teenage love interest will face criminal charges.

Tieja Anne MacLaughlin was charged with with Felony Harassment Thursday afternoon, said Brendan Siefken, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for Benton County Prosecutor's Office.

She is still behind bars, and will be arraigned and given a chance to apply for bail Friday.

Meantime, newly released court documents have added detail to the circumstances that led to her entanglement in US courts.

The prosecutor's office charging documents  say that while she was in Kelowna Friday Jan. 17, MacLaughlin had a phone conversation with Jackson Playfair, who was in Kennewick Washington. In that conversation, Playfair said he had cheated on her with another girl while in Spokane.

"The defendant became upset and began to make verbal threats toward him," reads the document.

"She advised him that by (Saturday) night he would be dead. Mr. Playfair advised that she threatened to kill him several times during the phone conversation."

After the threats started, Playfair claims that he told MacLaughlin to not make a visit to the Tri Cities that was scheduled for Sunday.

"She advised that she was coming down and that when she sees him it would be the last game of hockey he plays."

MacLaughlin allegedly had made threats against the well-being of Playfair, and herself, in the past, but the distance between the two made Playfair feel safe.

Those feelings changed when he woke up the next day and text messages indicated that MacLaughlin was on her way to see him, and her mood. hadn't lightened up.

"She again advised that he had better have things figured out or things will go bad for him," reads the court document.

Playfair became concerned, and contacted the authorities who, in turn, found MacLaughlin at the Kennewick Super 8 and told her to go home.

"Officers advised her that they would not arrest her at the time, but that Mr. Playfair just wanted to be left alone," it says. "She was advised that she should get some rest and go back home. Officers reported that she appeared to ignore the warning and advised that she needed to talk to Mr. Playfair before she left."

MacLaughlin was told again that she needed to leave, and if she contacted Playfair she would be arrested.

She told police she'd abide by their conditions, but later in the day Playfair contacted law enforcement and showed that MacLaughlin had sent another 20 to 25 messages.

On her LinkedIn account, MacLaughlin has listed herself as an employee of both Castanet and Shaw TV. She's also worked for the Kelowna Daily Courier.

Playfair told police he had been seeing MacLaughlin since July.

He is the son of NHL player and coach Jim Playfair.

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