Apr 9, 2015

My thoughts on the Ashley Summers cold case -- Is she alive and living a life of crime?

Summer before her disappearance (left) Mystery woman shown on recent security footage (right)
Ashley Nicole Summers disappeared from Cleveland, Ohio on July 9, 2007. She was only 14-years-old at the time of her disappearance, from a neighborhood that had been in national media headlines for close to four years regarding the disappearances of Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight. Of course, back then nobody could be prepared to know that their neighbor Ariel Castro had been keeping 'The Cleveland Three' captive in his own house of horrors.

When Amanda, Gina and Michelle were rescued from Ariel Castro's basement, Ashley's case gained revived attention. That's because it was rumored that Castro may have kidnapped her as well. In fact, when the Cleveland Three were rescued, the words R.I.P. Ashley were allegedly found on the basement wall. This inspired at least one renewed search for Summers, but nothing panned out as you probably suspect by now. Here it is now in 2015, and Ashley still hasn't been found, but hope has been renewed once more.


Is Ashley Summers alive?

Recent developments in Ashley's case indicate the possibility that she went missing voluntarily. Surveillance footage has surfaced that shows a woman that looks strikingly similar to the missing teen, who would be in her 20s now. The footage, which was taken by an ATM machine in Rhode Island -- approximately 700 miles east of Cleveland where Summer was last seen over seven years ago. Now the FBI is seeking this mystery woman for more than one reason. Not only is she being sought on charges of identity theft, but now authorities believe that she may be the missing teen.

So has Ashley Summers lived under the radar over the past seven+ years? She'd be around 22-years-old right now, far beyond the age of legal adulthood. If she was a willing/voluntary runaway, there'd be no reason for her to not get in touch with her loved ones around the time of her 18th birthday. If this is a case of a voluntary disappearance, why not call her mother and say "I'm okay, mom. Stop looking for me?"

What if she's alive but not necessarily missing under voluntary circumstances? Other security footage stills show her with a man, but the duo appear to be a romantic couple. Is there a possibility that the man shown in the footage is holding her against her will somehow? Could a theorized life of crime be blamed on an abduction? I'm not entirely certain of this, to be honest. In fact, I don't think this theory is correct at all.

Is everybody wrong?

What if the woman shown in security footage isn't Ashley Summers at all? I'm no facial recognition expert and I don't want to negate any of the work of facial recog experts that believe the woman is indeed Ashley -- but I'm not 100% convinced. In the enlarged photo above, you can see the mystery woman holding hands with the man in the car, after she is recorded using an ATM machine under a stolen identity. In my honest opinion, the woman appears to have a longer nose than Ashley Summers, but I could be totally wrong. I think this may just be a case of wishful thinking.

Nonetheless, I really hope the FBI can track down this couple, to at least eliminate the possibility that this is Ashley. Or, if this woman does end up being Ashley, it's about time that she is reunited with her family so that closure can be had.

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