GA - Debra Ashe, 14, Bishop, 24 Aug 1970

Discussion in 'Cold Cases' started by Backwoods, Feb 15, 2013.

  1. Backwoods

    Backwoods New Member

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    I ran across this case while doing some research and I can't find any mention of it on WS -- hope I am not duplicating.

    The link below, from 2011, relates how local LE was to take another look at the case after receiving some new information. Thus far, this is pretty much the most recent report I can find of any activity.

    Debra was at home with her 7-year-old brother when she was attacked, on Aug. 24, 1970, and she died of her injuries on Aug. 26, without, apparently, being able to give any clues about who her attacker had been.

    Splinters of wood at the scene indicated she had been battered from behind with the stock of a gun.

    She was found partially clothed, but forensics did not detect a sexual assault -- it seems she may have gone swimming in a backyard pool and then come in to change from her swimsuit to clothes just before the attack. Her little brother was mentally handicapped and, sadly, though he seemed to have witnessed something, was unable to communicate anything that helped.

    read more at: http://oconee.patch.com/articles/sheriff-s-office-reopens-cold-murder-case#comments_list
     
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  3. Backwoods

    Backwoods New Member

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    read more at: http://onlineathens.com/local-news/2011-11-08/new-lead-reopens-41-year-old-bishop-murder-case


    more at: http://www.11alive.com/rss/article/...ns-40-year-old-murder-case?utm_source=dlvr.it
     
  4. Backwoods

    Backwoods New Member

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  5. bessie

    bessie <b><span style="color:#007C00;">WS Administrator</ Administrator

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    The links look fine, BW.

    Wow. Sounds like an interesting case.
     
  6. Backwoods

    Backwoods New Member

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    According to the information at the Find A Grave site, though Debra lived in Oconee Co., GA, and the attack took place there, she both came into the world and departed from it in Clarke Co. -- I guess both events probably took place at an Athens, GA hospital.

    http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=84408505


    Her full name was Debra Anne Ashe.
     
  7. Backwoods

    Backwoods New Member

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    It looks like Debra's dad died in 2000.

    Is it OK to link to his obituary? http://onlineathens.com/stories/022700/obi_03.shtml
    I found it interesting that his obit states that he was well known as a water dowser! You don't see that too often in obituaries.

    Seems the then 7-year-old brother who was in the house with her on the day she was attacked is also deceased. Some of the other links state that she had another brother, too, 5 years old at the time of her death, who was with their father that day. The father's obituary lists a son (I'm assuming that one) and the mother as survivors.
     
  8. K.jill

    K.jill New Member

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    This is an interesting case. Wish we knew what the new info that came in in 2011 was.
    I really feel for her brother. He must have witnessed his sister being killed and maybe tried to help her. The killer evidently slapped him.

    The fact that the killer must have known that her brother could not communicate what had happened leads me to believe that the killer knew the family fairly well.
     
  9. MrsTigglesworth

    MrsTigglesworth New Member

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    This does seem to be the case, Backwoods.
    I also wanted to update that I did shoot the onlineathens reporter an email regarding the new lead from 2011 and he said nothing ever came of it (whatever the phone call was in regards to) and also that the family was not interested in speaking to him about the case. (Paraphrased). :(
     
  10. Kell1

    Kell1 Verified law enforcement

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    Where did the Rifle (or the stock) originate from, victims residence, or brought to the scene?
     
  11. MrsTigglesworth

    MrsTigglesworth New Member

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    This is a quote from the avoc article: " And the crime lab technicians had determined that the splinters were from the butt of a gun&#8212;exactly what type of rifle or handgun had been used to bludgeon the young beauty, the scientists couldn&#8217;t say."

    That, combined with the father's statement that nothing was missing from the home led me to believe that the gun was brought to the scene. (Just my guess).

    Thanks for joining in on yet another perplexing cold case, RichKelly!
     
  12. Kell1

    Kell1 Verified law enforcement

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    That's just how I roll Mrs T. ..=;)

    Ok, so brought and taken by the killer, but no proof it was indeed a rifle stock, or the wooden grips of a gun .

    Id like to know what led them to conclude it was from a firearm then , finished, wood could be anything from a piece of furniture to a baseball bat, to a pool queue.
     
  13. MrsTigglesworth

    MrsTigglesworth New Member

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    I am not sure, Rich.. Maybe the shape of it since at least one piece was noted as large? Here is the rest of what was reported about the pieces:

    " ...At the spot in the bedroom where the girl’s head had lain was a large dark-brown-colored splinter from a piece of close-grained, finished wood. A similar section was found in the kitchen. These, no doubt, were from whatever had been used to bludgeon the schoolgirl."

    http://www.avoc.info/info/article.php?article=3727&ENGINEsessID=0cde3756d9b4fa9f25091a5c7d08f491
     
  14. Kell1

    Kell1 Verified law enforcement

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    This is one of "those" cases, where, there is SO little info to work with, its like trying to bake a cake with just flour.

    Ok so few questions, that I have (as usual)

    Very interested in the wounds, does it state anywhere how many times they felt she was struck?

    Also did it say anywhere they are more consistent with bring pistol whipped, or bludgeoned with a large heavy object ?
     
  15. MrsTigglesworth

    MrsTigglesworth New Member

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    I don't recall ever seeing the phrase "pistol whipped", but the attack is referred to usually as a beating or bludgeoning. Several blows to the back of the head fractured her skull. She was still alive and taken to the hospital where she had surgery, but died soon after.

    " The post-mortem disclosed that Debra Anne Ashe had suffered several severe blows on the back of the head, which had fractured her skull. Bruises on her arms indicated that she had been grabbed, probably unexpectedly, from behind. There were also lacerations on her forehead and on one hip; these injuries, it was surmised, occurred when she had fallen after being attacked."

    http://www.avoc.info/info/article.php?article=3727&ENGINEsessID=0cde3756d9b4fa9f25091a5c7d08f491

    I was able to find the death certificate, let me see if I can attach it.
    I could read severe head injury and skull fracture-multi, but can't make out what is written under that.

    http://i1317.photobucket.com/albums/t629/Mrstigg/imagejpg1_zps165e19fa.jpg[​IMG]
     
  16. Kell1

    Kell1 Verified law enforcement

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    Are there any photos of the scene, primarily the spot she was laying when she was found ? ,
     
  17. MrsTigglesworth

    MrsTigglesworth New Member

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    None released that I know of.
     
  18. Kell1

    Kell1 Verified law enforcement

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    Gotta love the easy cases
     
  19. Kell1

    Kell1 Verified law enforcement

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    A photograph of the spot she was laying and the surrounding areas might demonstrate through Blood Spatter analysis, whether or not she was killed outright or killed during the commission of another crime like sexual assault

    If the blood spatter was localized, to the immediate area, where the victim was laying its safe to assume the weapon was small, possibly like a handgun used to pistol whip the victim.

    Pistol Whipping is seldom used as a manner to dispatch a victim intentionally, its more seen as whats referred to as "corrective force". That is force used to gain victim compliance.

    Usually because they have a gun, if they want to kill the victim they have a more sure means in the firearm

    That could factor in that she was bottomless, which could indicate a possible sexual assault attempt.

    The wounds, would be smaller, identical or similar in size to each other. They would not have the "shattering" effect a heavy instrument would , and there would most likely be more of them. The type of wounds would be noted on the autopsy findings .

    If there was a greater circumference of cast off blood, like high up the walls, or even on the ceiling, it would indicate, a longer , heavier weapon being brought up higher and swung down, with more force more indicative, of trying to kill the victim.

    So why is this important ? this demonstrates 2 different possible motives.

    Lets start with the victim :

    -Last known location, and last contacts
    -Physical traits
    -Education
    -Any problems in school?
    -Has she ever been in trouble with the law ?
    -Anyone in her family immediate or otherwise ever been in trouble with the law?
    -Any medical history (psychological or physical)
    -Did she have any problems?
    -Was she on any meds?
    -For What ?
    -How often administered?
    -Did she do this regularly?
    -Did anything recently happen or change in her life ?
    -How was her mood in the days prior to her murder?
    -Was there anything in her lifestyle that would make her a target ?
    -Was she or is there any indication she was involved, with anyone romantically?
    -Did they have any problems if she was?
    -Did she keep a diary, or any writings?
    -Any drug or alcohol use , if so has it increased, recently?
    -Was she afraid of anything or anyone? (had she ever mentioned being stalked?)
    -List of friends especially anyone who visited recently
    -Any unusual occurrences prior to the murder?
    -Would anyone be willing to help with the investigation? Names ?
    -Were they expecting anyone that day?
    -Were there any deliveries made to the house or any in the area?
    -Who does the family think was responsible?

    The crime itself :
    She was apparently going about her regular daily activities, and didn't seem to be expecting anyone.

    She's home taking care of her mentally retarded brother.

    She was mid phone call when she suddenly claimed she had to "get off the phone"-I tend to believe that her haste to end that call had something to do with her death (for ex someone standing there motioning her to get off the phone)

    She's found in her bedroom, bottomless, severely beaten about the head.
    No weapon is found, but shards of wood are found in the victims, hair, and in the kitchen

    She's not bound

    Her murder just happened to coincide, with the one day her father left for work early. However its important to note approximately what time the attack actually happened

    This all takes place in broad daylight

    It seems MORE than coincidence that the 1 day her father leaves, for work early she's attacked.

    However that's only important if she was attacked in those hours where she wasn't usually home with just her brother there.

    If that is the case, that to me indicates, either 1) prior knowledge, he was leaving, 2) Someone observing him leaving , however that all for naught if the attack occurred in the hours, she was normally home just with her brother .

    What seems more likely is someone who knows that she is home, with a mentally handicapped child who would neither be able to render aid, OR relay anything verbally to police

    IF it was a Rifle, she was killed with , the car in the driveway makes some sense because walking around with a rifle is pretty noticeable.

    The offender was able to ascertain either by surveillance, trial and error, or prior knowledge, that the doors were unlocked. However, its a HUGE risk to get out in someone's driveway with a rifle in hand run up to a door and it be locked.

    SO I tend to feel it was someone familiar with the families tendencies, and their comings and goings.

    Bringing a rifle into a house with 2 kids only to use the end to bludgeon one of them to death seems unlikely unless there was someone who had an issue with the family .

    In which case I state then why not shoot the victim ?

    Nothing was stolen ruling out a robbery/burglary
    She wasn't sexually assaulted, but it might be a possibility because she was bottomless, yet it seems no attempt was even made, no seminal traces, on her body, or in the area where she was found (as if he/she masturbated)

    She was face down and beaten from behind, which may indicate some form of dehumanization of the victim. That makes it easier for the killer to actually kill the victim, because he doesn't have to look her in the face. Its also an indicator of familiarity with the victim in certain cases.

    Now depending on whether or not the injuries fall into the "lethal force" or "correctional force" categories,

    Beating is usually indicative of anger and frustration, what this seems to indicate at least to me is ANGER, there are other means to kill a victim, strangulation, etc...ther s also a possibility he did intend to shoot her, and there was a malfunction of the weapon and he used, what he had at hand.

    If this was someone mad at her, id expect to see some type of interpersonal anger . Interpersonal anger usually demonstrates degradation, and dehumanization through assault of the face of the victim

    This was a High risk attempt by the offender, of a extremely low risk victim lifestyle

    If this was a planned homicide the removal of her bathing suit bottoms then may have 1 of 2 meanings, 1) Staging to look like a sexual assault, 2) a means of degrading the victim, in which he may've had her remove them herself .

    If it was an attempted sexual assault Id expect to see more of an attempt by the offender, such as some type of penetration, (sexual substitution) or masturbating on or near the victim.

    Post offensive behavior in any case would involve an odd interest in the case, paranoia, alcohol and drug use increases

    The police most likely have interviewed him already and at one point was most likely considered a suspect. He may've even inserted himself into the investigation, to keep tabs on what was happening.

    There was most likely something that set him off (precipitating stressor)

    Crimes I would look for in the area, break ins, fetish burglaries, and peeping tom cases.
     

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