NewsCovering Kern County


Families of the two victims from the deadly crash on Panama speak out after arraignment

Posted at 5:07 PM, Dec 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-11 02:46:04-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — It was just days ago when a neighbor broke the news to Brown. His sister, nine-year-old Caylee Brown hadn’t come home from school yet. and she and her other older brother, 19-year-old Jeffrey James (JJ) Malone wouldn’t be coming back.

“I was just at home. I was just in shock, [and] disbelief,” JJ’s father, Jeff Malone said. “Somebody called me, and they told me the situation. And I said instantly, ‘no. That's not true. That’s not happening.’ Then as time went on and it sunk in, that yes, this did just happen. And the emotions just came over me.”

The devastating news reached Brown and JJ’s father Malone. A car had hit JJ and Caylee at a bus stop on the corner of panama lane and springbrook drive.

The Bakersfield police department identified the driver as Lisa Core hours after taking her into custody on scene.BPD also said that the 46-year-old was under the influence of a controlled substance.The DA’s office confirmed Friday that Core had been convicted of two other DUI’s previously.

Core made her first court appearance in connection to the crime with the victims’ loved ones present.

It was an emotional afternoon outside the Kern County Superior Courthouse Friday following Core's arraignment. Family and friends reflected on who JJ and Caylee were.

“She was so smart in school. She would come home from school a lot, with her awards from spelling bees and her report cards,” Brown said. “One time she got disappointed because she got one C. She was honestly the smartest, most nicest person I've ever known.”

Brown described Caylee as passionate , especially about animals. Malone said JJ was a loving brother and a protector of his two siblings on his father’s side and four on his mother’s side.

“He was just a good kid. Every time he would come to my house, my kids would just light up when they saw their older brother, and every time, even at a young age I would drop him off at his mom’s house. His siblings over there, same thing,” Malone said. “While it was a split home, he was loved by a lot of siblings and parents and grandparents.”

Loved ones awaited the fate of the woman who allegedly took their children away. Core faced charges including two counts of second degree murder, two counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated,driving with a suspended license/revoked for dui, and failure to provide insurance at the scene of the accident.

Core’s lawyer entered core’s ‘not guilty’ plea Friday, the judge set no bail due to the nature of the charges. A preliminary hearing was set for January 4th, as family members are forced to deal with the aftermath of the tragedies. 

“I’m trying to make sure my son’s death does not go in vain,” Malone said. “I’m going to be working with Mothers Against Drunk Driving and a few other organizations and I'm going to try to get some stuff taken care of that need to get addressed. Again, 100 percent preventable that took two young lives.”

Malone adds that he did go by the memorial at the scene of the crash, which was hard but helped with providing closure. He told us he really appreciates the outpouring of support from the community.