Advertisement

‘We’re hoping for a miracle’: Family of fourth missing Cleveland teen hopes FBI can connect case 

‘We’re hoping for a miracle’: Family of fourth missing Cleveland teen hopes FBI can connect case 
Ashley Summers, who was 14 when she went missing in 2007, in an age progression image. If she’s still alive, she would be 19. (National Center for Missing & Ex)

The stunning escape of three women held in captivity for 10 years has revived the hopes of another desperate Cleveland family that their teenage girl is still alive.

The Summers family has been glued to the television since Monday, hanging on every detail of the escape from the Ohio city's house of horrors.

Advertisement

In 2007, Ashley Summers, who was then 14, vanished from the same West Side neighborhood where Gina DeJesus, 23, Michelle Knight, 32, and Amanda Berry, 27, were abducted, according to cops.

The trio's escape has sent the Summers family on an emotional roller coaster.

Advertisement

"I've imagined all the stuff. Being held like that, tortured like that. My niece could be going through that now," said Ashley's aunt, Debrah Summers. "Does she have a baby too? I just can't sleep at all."

The Summers family was particularly disturbed by reports that the basement of Ariel Castro's home — which allegedly served as a dungeon — had "RIP" scrawled on the wall alongside a woman's name.

Debrah Summers can't stop wondering whose name it is.

Ashley Summers went missing at age 14 in 2007 after leaving her great-uncle’s home in the West Side of Cleveland. It’s the same neighborhood where three women were kidnapped and found alive Monday.
Ashley Summers went missing at age 14 in 2007 after leaving her great-uncle’s home in the West Side of Cleveland. It’s the same neighborhood where three women were kidnapped and found alive Monday. (FBI)

"That's what frightens me. I don't want to know, and I do," she said.

Advertisement

Ashley Summers went missing in July 2007 from her great-uncle's home where she was living.

The pair had fought, and police initially believed she was a runaway after she packed clothes to take with her.

Cleveland cops even compared Ashley Summers' case with those of Berry and DeJesus during police training sessions about human trafficking, the Cleveland Plain-Dealer reported.

"What do they have in common?" an instructor asked during such a session in 2010. "They are all attractive. They are all between the ages of 14 and 17, and they are all gone."

Debrah Summers said that her sister, Jennifer, received a chilling call from someone she believed was Ashley a month after her disappearance.

Amanda Berry (left), now 27, and Gina DeJesus (right), now 24, were found Monday after police say they were held captive for about a decade in a Cleveland home.
Amanda Berry (left), now 27, and Gina DeJesus (right), now 24, were found Monday after police say they were held captive for about a decade in a Cleveland home. (Family Photo; FBI/Getty Images)

"I'm okay," the girl on the other end of the line said before hanging up.

Jennifer immediately contacted the FBI, who then scoured phone records and asked her which numbers she didn't recognize.

Debrah Summers recalled that Jennifer noted one number that corresponded to a Castro — though she didn't think anything of it because a cousin was dating someone with the last name of Castro.

Advertisement

Now, in hindsight, the chilling detail has Debrah Summers' mind racing. Jennifer, she said, has contacted the FBI, but has yet to receive any information.

Ashley's grandfather, John, said he and his wife had rushed to Cleveland from Columbus after seeing the news that three missing women had been found.

When he learned Ashley wasn't among them, he was an emotional wreck. Ashley hadn't endured the 10-year nightmare that allegedly occurred at the Castro home, but her fate remained a mystery.

Ashley Summers
Ashley Summers (FBI)

"In a way I'm relieved, and in a way I'm not, because we still don't know where she is," said John Summers, 56. "I just hope she isn't somewhere else, with different people (undergoing) the same thing."

The FBI said Tuesday it must interview the women for more details about their captivity — and determine whether any other victims were involved.

"Whether it is something we find at the house or someone seeing the stories remembers something, we continue our search for Ashley," FBI agent Vicki Anderson told The Plain Dealer.

If she's still alive, Ashley Summers, the eldest of eight children, will turn 20 on June 16.

On Tuesday, another famous victim of kidnapping, Jaycee Dugard, hailed the three victims' story of survival when she accepted an award in Washington from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

"What an amazing time to be talking about hope, with everything that's happening," said Dugard, who was held for 18 years in a California backyard.

She asked attendees at the gala never to give up on missing children. "Just urge yourself to care," she said, according to CBS News.

Advertisement
Advertisement