3News Investigates unveils a new ongoing series called ‘Someone Knows,’ taking a fresh look at unsolved and often forgotten cold cases in Northeast Ohio.
CLEVELAND — 3News Investigates is unveiling a new ongoing series, taking a fresh look at unsolved and often forgotten cold cases in Northeast Ohio.
We call it “Someone Knows,” because most often, someone does know the key to unlocking the mystery that eludes police and deprives so many families of the answers they desperately want.
In our first installment, 3News Investigator Rachel Polansky takes us back to the Miracle in Cleveland, as we remember the one missing woman who didn’t emerge from the Seymour Avenue house.
For families of missing children, the Miracle in Cleveland is a lasting shrine of hope. Each woman’s name woven forever into our hearts: Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, Michelle Knight. Few will forget that day in 2013 when they emerged.
Yet, lost amid the optimistic tears, there is another young Cleveland girl: 14-year-old Ashley Summers.
“You know, she was missing at the same time as Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus,” author James Renner says. “Everyone knows their names, but not everyone knows Ashley Summers’ name.”
Ashley’s been silent now for nearly as long as she was last seen alive. That day was July 4, 2007: The carefree, rebellious teen left a holiday pool party angry after an argument with her uncle, never to be seen again.
Like Amanda and Gina three years earlier, she was reported missing on Cleveland’s west side. But the similarities end there. There’s been no miracle.
James Renner founded the Porchlight Project, a non-profit that funds DNA testing for cold cases.
“When they found Amanda and Gina and Michelle in that house, immediately we thought, ‘My God, is Ashley Summers in there too, or is she in the backyard?'” Renner asked at the time. “‘Did he have something to do with this?'”
The heartbreak still stings for Ashley’s family. Reminders of that pain came back last month, when a search for Ashley’s remains in a remote section of Train Avenue turned out to be animal bones.
Still, to the Summers family, the search is a sign that Ashley is not forgotten.
“It’s encouraging, because all these years later, somebody called in and gave them a tip,” Linda Summers, Ashley’s family member, told us. “Whether the news was good or bad, at least we could have some kind of closure.”
Police and FBI continue to ask for tips. They’ve also not excluded Ashley’s uncle, Kevin Donathan, whose home she left that July 4 day. Donathon is now serving 35 years in prison for rape and other sex offenses involving girls.
“We’re trying to keep hope alive,” Linda Summers said. “There have been a lot of long-term missing that have been found 10, 15, 20 years later, so that’s what we hope for.”
And it’s our hope that stories like this will encourage someone to come forward with information on what happened to Ashley Summers. If you know something, call the Cleveland FBI at (216) 522-1400.
Ashley’s case is just the first in our ongoing series “Someone Knows,” which will focus on cold cases in Northeast Ohio.
Have a cold case you want us to investigate? Email Rachel at RachelPolansky@wkyc.com