Saturday, July 4, 2020

The Disappearance of Ashley Summers

Ashley Summers was only 14 years-old when she went missing on July 6th, 2007. She was last seen at a pool party at her great uncle Keith’s residence on the west side of Cleveland, Ohio.

Before her disappearance, Ashley was very close with her family. Her grandparents and numerous aunts and uncles were living nearby, and it was common for her to bounce around from relative to relative for overnight stays. For this reason, it was two days before anyone realized that Ashley was missing–her mother thought that she was at her great uncle’s house, her great uncle thought she was at her aunt’s house, etc. During the summer of 2007, Ashley was staying with relatives more frequently because she was often at odds with her mother. Ashley apparently had a 16 year-old boyfriend who her mother did not approve of. To the same effect, Ashley was not fond of her mother’s live-in boyfriend either. One day, Ashley came home with a tattoo of her boyfriend’s name on her arm. When her mother found out, an intense argument ensued and she ultimately decided to move in with her great uncle Kevin.

However, shortly before her disappearance, Ashley and her great uncle Kevin were apparently not getting along either. The day before the pool party, Kevin found Ashley gossiping about her family members on her phone. Out of anger, he snatched the phone from Ashley and broke it. The following day, Ashley walked two miles from Kevin’s house to Keith’s house for the pool party. According to relatives who saw her there, Ashley stayed at the party for about 3 or 4 hours before she left to walk to her aunt Christina’s house, who lived just a few blocks away. She never arrived and has not been seen since leaving that party.

Due to the clashes that Ashley had with her mother and great uncle, police initially thought she was a runaway.  About a month after her disappearance, Ashley’s mother got a very quick call saying “it’s me mom, I’m okay.” That call was never traced, and Ashley’s mother is not 100% sure that it came from Ashley.

After years went by without any trace of Ashley, she was eventually reclassified as an endangered missing child. Around this time, police were beginning to question if there was a serial offender in the area. Ashley disappeared very close to West Lorain Avenue–the same street from where Amanda Berry disappeared in 2003, and Gina DeJesus in 2004. When those two girls, along with Michelle Knight, were eventually rescued from Ariel Castro’s home on Seymour Avenue in 2013, there was speculation that Castro may have been involved in Ashley’s disappearance as well. However, while investigating Castro’s case, investigators were ultimately unable to find evidence of any other victims.

Ashley remains missing today. The FBI is investigating her case. If you have any information about Ashley’s disappearance/whereabouts, please click here to submit a tip.

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