Robert Ethan Saylor (Photo from Stauffer Funeral Home)
WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- On a day when the family of Robert "Ethan" Saylor took a step closer to justice, we are getting an exclusive sneak peek into what may have happened the night Ethan died in police custody back in January.
It happened after three deputies removed him from a Frederick movie theater for not having a $12 ticket. Ethan's aide who was with him that night shared her story only with WUSA9's, Debra Alfarone.
She says when she heard that Ethan had died, "I just started crying."
She says she's done so many more times since that fateful January night. She asked that we not identify her, nor show her face on camera. She is 18, and was Ethan Saylor's aide for the last 3 months of his life. Now, hers will never be the same.
Today, she joined the Saylor family as they delivered 340,000 signatures to Governor Martin O'Malley, asking for an independent investigation into his death, "I guess what I want to see is the rights for all special needs kids, because I love them, they're great people. I just don't want this to ever happen again."
The night Ethan died, she says this of the three off-duty Frederick County Sheriff deputies, "I kept telling them why don't you just let me go in there and give him a few minutes with him, I'd just give him a big hug and he'd be right out, but they wouldn't listen to me."
She says Ethan became angry after they both went to see the film Zero Dark Thirty. She says he liked it so much, he wanted to see it again. She says Ethan went right back into the theater to see the movie for the 2nd time, even though he didn't have ticket. Then she says this of the deputies, working as security, "They said he had to leave right now."
She says security would not let her in, made her wait in the lobby, "All of a sudden, I hear kicking and screaming, and 'ouch, Mary, Mom, that hurts, don't touch me, get off' and so I run in and I'm crying hysterically. I didn't really know what to do. I see him jumping up in the air, and screaming, so I turn around because I was scared, and I turned back around, and all of a sudden they're on the floor, and after all the noise, it was just completely silent. They have three handcuffs on him."
She says the ambulances came, and she followed to the hospital, "About an hour, an hour and a half later, his mom comes out and tells me that he passed away."
She says Ethan was a delight to work with, and this is what she'll miss the most, "His caring-ness and just the chance to be loved by someone so unconditionally."
We have called Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins several times for comment but haven't received a return call.
After today's meeting with the Saylors, the Governor's office issued a statement saying the Governor is "considering" an investigation but is more focused on training.