KENNEWICK, Wash. - Ellen's close friends knew her as "Lori". They say she loved her friends and was a good mother. But much has been said about Ellen Schalchlin and the way she lived her life. Those who knew her well spoke out mostly due to frustration and hurt.
"It's very difficult to not say something, because these people don't know, all they can do is fill in the blanks," said Lauri Strong, one of Ellen's close friends.
They say Ellen was a cashier at this West Richland Mini-Mart. Where she had been working for almost two years. Even though she earned a modest income, they say Ellen would often go without in order to help others.
Such was the case with Joshua Tucker. A friend of her son, Donald, who had nowhere to go.
"The reason that boy was even in her home is that she takes care of living things that don't have a place to go, that nobody else wants, that's what made her a good person," Lauri said.
As a single mother Ellen had her hands full. Her 15-year-old son, Donald, had previous run-ins with the law and as a result was scheduled for a mental evaluation with Benton County Court officials. Donald was supposed to go to Seattle for six months for treatment, but instead they let him go.
"She was worried about him coming home, she didn't understand why they didn't send him where he needed to go to get the help he needed for the mental problems that he had," said Dena Reynolds, another close friend of Ellen.
Dena also says Ellen suspected her son was Bipolar and Schizophrenic. A diagnosis Dena feels probably could have prevented this tragedy.
"I feel that, that's their fault, that this happened, they should have kept him," Dena said.