|18 year-olds Ashley Doolittle and Tanner Flores before their senior prom in 2016.|
Just a month after the above photograph was taken, Tanner Flores brutally murdered Ashley Doolittle inside his pickup truck near the Lon Hagler Reservoir in Loveland, Colorado.
Ashley and Tanner met in Berthoud, Colorado and had been a couple for about a year. A few days prior to her murder, Ashley decided to end her relationship with Tanner. Mutual friends of the two said that Ashley and Tanner had been fighting a lot in the days prior to Ashley’s death, and that Tanner had been unable to accept their breakup.
On June 9th, 2016, Ashley agreed to meet up with Tanner at the Lon Hagler Reservoir to discuss their relationship. Ashley’s mother expected her to be home by 7:30pm that evening, but she never returned home. Her mother eventually decided to go to the reservoir to look for her. She found Ashley’s car parked there, but Ashley herself was nowhere to be found. Ashley’s mother immediately grew concerned, especially since she knew that her daughter had planned to meet up with Tanner. She immediately called the police to report Ashley missing.
Shortly thereafter, it was revealed that Tanner’s family members hadn’t seen him since 3:30pm that afternoon. They were unable to locate or contact him. Tanner’s father also revealed that his .22-caliber revolver was missing as well. The revolver was kept in a locked safe, and Tanner was the only other person who knew the location of the safe key.
Over the next 24 hours, police followed tips that led them over 300 miles away to a home in Western Slope that was previously owned by Tanner’s deceased grandfather. There, police found Tanner’s blood-stained truck. Inside the truck’s bed, police found Ashley’s body wrapped up in blankets. She had been shot three times in the head. Tanner was located nearby shortly thereafter and was taken into police custody.
Tanner eventually confessed to killing Ashley, but pleaded not guilty to first degree murder charges; as he maintained that the shooting was not premeditated. At his trial, prosecutors stated that Tanner was a controlling and jealous boyfriend. When Ashley decided to distance herself from that, Tanner could not accept the possibility that Ashley could eventually start to date someone else. A video tape of Tanner confessing to authorities was played at the trial as well. Tanner is seen describing how the conversation they were having did not go as he planned. He stated, “she just kind of glared at me and turned away, so I grabbed the gun and shot her. She started twitching and freaking out, so I shot her again. I thought it would be an instant thing.” Tanner’s defensive attorneys argued that the killing was a heat-of-the-moment decision, while prosecutors believed that Tanner had been planning it in the days prior.
The prosecutors also stated that Ashley could’ve possibly survived the first shot if Tanner had sought help. Instead, he shot her two more times and drove over 300 miles away to hide her body. The jury ultimately ruled in favor of the prosecution, and Tanner was found guilty of first degree murder and second degree kidnapping. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.