I think I should have been clearer, Ward Weaver was not Ashley's father. Please see the following article.
Originally Posted by MsPooh
On a stormy winter morning, Ashley Pond, 12, a seventh-grader at Gardiner Middle School, left her South Beavercreek Road apartment complex in Oregon City, OR about 8 a.m. on Jan. 9, 2002, for the school bus stop. Ashley did not make it to school.
It had been a rough year for Ashley and she carried around more pain in her short life than any child should.
On January 5, 2001, just over a year before Ashley disappeared, her biological father, Wesley Roettger, Jr., was indicted on 40 counts of raping and sexually abusing her for over 4 years.
The following March, Ashley told a friend that two men were molesting her. That same spring, Ashley's reading teacher, Linda Virden, at Gaffney Lane Elementary School, reported to the principal, Chris Mills, that Ward Weaver, 39, kissed Ashley on the lips when he dropped her off at school. Then in June and July Ashley joined Ward, his girlfriend, Tammy Place, her 8-year-old daughter, and Mallori, Ward's 10-year-old daughter, on a two-week vacation to California. Then Ashley began living at their home. In early August: Ashley accused Ward of molesting her and moved out.
Meanwhile, on July 12, 2001, Roettger's lawyer moved to allow allegations that other men sexually abused Ashley as evidence to aid in her father's defense. Ashley told her reading teacher that Ward threatened to testify against her in her father's rape trial.
After learning of Ashley's allegations against Ward, Clackamas County deputy district attorney Chris Owen reported the child abuse to a hotline on Aug. 31st. The hotline report was forwarded to child welfare workers on Sept. 5th. Virden also called the child welfare office to report that Ashley told her that Ward abused her, tried to rape her, and threatened to testify against her. Roettger's ex-girlfriend, Mary Campobasso, also reported similar allegations. September 6, deputy district attorney, Owen, dropped all 40 counts against Roettger, who plead “no contest” to attempted unlawful sexual penetration. He was sentenced to 120 months probation.
Things seemed to be improving for Ashley that fall. During October and November, she seemed happier and more outgoing. However, a caseworker told police that child welfare received many calls about her and her family from concerned neighbors.
That Christmas Ashley told her family she was afraid of Ward.
On January 9 2002, Ashley disappeared. Police interviewed Ward and his daughter, Mallori, the following day.
"Ward Weaver said he felt sorry for Ashley and tried to help her as much as he could, but then she accused him of touching her, and that was it," Viola Valenzuela-Garcia, Oregon City Detective reported.
Clackamas County sheriff's deputy Marty Neiman, a dog handler, searched the property around Ward's house; on Jan. 19th with a search dog, but Ward refused to allow them to search inside his home.
Two months after Ashley's disappearance, on March 8, 2002, 13-year-old Miranda Diane Gaddis, an eighth grader, another friend of Mallori's, disappeared after she left her apartment at 8 a.m. on her way to the school bus stop, sparking a nationwide FBI search. Massive searches turned up no clues.
Ashley and Miranda had attended the same school, rode the same bus, and were in the same dance class. Recently, on February 23rd, Miranda spent the night at the Weaver home for Mallori's, birthday.
Investigators were focusing on Ward, who lived in a cheap rental home by the school bus stop where both girls were last seen. He seemed to be basking in the limelight. He invited television crews into his home to declare his innocence, and giving interviews on top of a concrete slab in his back yard.
On March 15th Harry Oakes, a private citizen, and his search dog, with permission from Lori Pond, offered to search the surrounding area. He was told by Ward to “stay away from freshly laid concrete” because he doesn't “want it messed up.” The dog gave a positive “death alert” behind the house.
After a May 5, 2002, surveillance of Ward, police interviewed his relatives and requesting other reports in June and July.
Ward was arrested on Aug. 13, 2002, at 5:30 p.m. near Place's apartment in Clackamas, after a 19-year-old girlfriend of his son, Francis Weaver, ran naked from Ward's Oregon City home screaming that he tried to rape her. Francis told emergency dispatchers that his father had admitted killing Ashley and Miranda in October. While in custody, for attempted rape, a grand jury indicted
Ward of aggravated murder charges. FBI investigators secured his back yard with a chain-link fence.
Between August 24 and 25 searchers found Ashley under the concrete slab in a barrel, and Miranda in a box in Ward's tool shed.
Weaver was charged with aggravated murder in the deaths.
Corvallis lawyers, Michael Barker and Peter Fahy were Ward's court-appointed representation that asked to be removed from the case for unknown reasons, but ended up staying on.
Initially defense claimed Ward was mentally unfit to stand trial but after an evaluation at the Oregon State Hospital they informed Judge Herndon that he had regained the capacity to assist in his defense.
Defense requested a change of venue claiming the media attention in the case tainted the jury pool, and was a detriment to a fair trial. Judge Herndon agreed with prosecutions arguments that Ward intentionally sought out media attention and turned the investigation into a media circus. After Ward gave numerous interviews to the media, Judge Herndon had issued a gag order.
While in jail, Weaver wrote letters to Mallori. In September he wrote, "You and me against the world," 2002. After being denied visits with his daughter in January 2004, Ward wrote a suicide note:
"I have spent this whole week trying to figure out how to make the pain (of my heart + soul not coming to see me) stop. I can only think of one thing. Cut my heart out and cut (off) the parts that hurt. She is my whole heart.”
Jan. 11, 2004, Ward was treated for razor wounds at Willamette Falls Hospital and released back to jail.
To avoid the death penalty, and claiming he wanted to give his daughter a sense of closure, in September 2004, Ward, 41, plead guilty to 17 counts, of rape, sex abuse, abuse of a corpse and killing his daughter's friends, Ashley and Miranda. He was sentenced to two life sentences without parole.
Ward's father, Ward Francis Weaver Jr., is on death row in California for raping, murdering, and burying a woman's body below concrete in his back yard. She was found in 1982.