Janesville29.7°

Family holding on; awaiting surgery on 2-year-old boy

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Kayla Bunge
May 15, 2008
— The Mattingly-Ashmore family is holding together as best they can while 2-year-old Joey Ashmore awaits surgery at a Milwaukee hospital, the children’s grandmother said.

“We’re trying. We have our moments,” Denell Taylor (Ashmore) said.


Doctors at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, are trying to stabilize Joey so they can perform surgery Friday, she said. He remains in a comatose state.


His lungs are the biggest concern because they still are filled with smoke and soot. His face, which has swelled about five times normal size, also is badly burned, and he is highly susceptible to infection, she said.


Skin grafts will come later, Taylor said.


Joey’s 7-year-old brother, Derek R.J. Mattingly, died in the Saturday morning fire at 327 N. Palm St. Investigators say it was accidentally set by 4-year-old Owen A.P. Ashmore. Owen, his father and two people in an upstairs apartment—including Derek’s grandmother, Laurie R. Ginter—escaped without injury.


Joey and Derek were in the same bedroom.


The family is temporarily living at the Ronald McDonald House across the street from the hospital, and a family member has a home to rent to the family when they return to Janesville, she said.


The funeral for Derek is Friday.


Taylor said the family needs:


-- Gas money for trips between Milwaukee and Janesville.


-- Size 5 diapers.


-- Size 4/5 socks, 2T pants, 4T shirts and size 7 shoes for 2-year-old Joey.


-- Size 4/5 socks, 4T pants, 5T shirts and size 10 shoes for 4-year-old Owen.


-- Size 17 or 18 pants and extra-large shirts for mother Kristarra Mattingly.


-- Size 30/30 pants and large shirts for father Scott Ashmore.


-- Size 9 or 10 pants and large shirts for grandmother Laurie Ginter.


-- Household items, including beds and bedding, small appliances and dishes.


-- Personal care items.


Items can be dropped off at the home of Chad Catlett, Scott’s uncle, at 1311 Camden Square, just off of Mt. Zion Avenue in Janesville. People also can call Tirzah Mattingly, a family friend, at (262) 812-3510 to make arrangements for pick-up or drop-off of items.


“I want them to be able to leave Milwaukee … come home and not have any worries when they get here so they can heal together as a family … and not worry about having to find a home and create a home,” Tirzah said.


An account has been set up at Anchor Bank, with Janesville branches at 100 W. Racine St. and 2215 Holiday Drive, to receive donations for the family. Donors may drop off cash at either location or mail checks, payable to the Mattingly-Ashmore Family Benefit Fund, to P.O. Box 8070, Janesville, WI 53547.


Gazette reporter Gina Duwe contributed to this report.

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