Sheriff's Office Revisits Cold Case Homicide
A phone call has triggered the reexamination of the 1970 murder of Debra Ashe, Oconee County Sheriff Scott Berry tells the Athens Banner-Herald.
Update: Sheriff's Office clarifies that the case was never closed and has been reexamined multiple times over the years.
More than forty years ago, 14-year-old Debra Ashe died after being brutally beaten with the stock of a rifle at her home in Bishop.
Over the years, local investigators and the Georgia Bureau of investigation exhausted all leads but were unable to identify the girl's killer; however, a new lead has prompted Oconee County Sheriff Scott Berry to revisit the murder investigation.
The beating occurred at 5201 Price Mill Road on Aug. 24, 1970 and Ashe died from the injuries on Aug. 26, two days later, the Athens Banner-Herald reports.
According to an incident report filed Nov. 3, Berry asked investigators to take another look at the case this past August.
Berry didn't disclose details, but told the newspaper a telephone call from an undisclosed source provided a piece of new information.
“We’re not in a position to tell what we were told," Berry told the newspaper. "We have met with the entire family and discussed the case in broad generalities and some of the information we were given."
In a news release, Chief Deputy Lee Weems said this is not the only time in recent years that the Sheriff's Office has looked at this case, and it has never been "closed."
"I came to the Sheriff's Office in March of 2009, and I have met with members of the Ashe family on two occasions, and Sheriff Berry has a longstanding relationship with the Ashe family," he said.
"While we continue to work the case, the recent information has not led to an imminent arrest," the news release stated. "As this case is over 40 years old, locating some of the witnesses has proven difficult and some of the witnesses are deceased."
If anyone has any information concerning this case, contact Investigator Dave Stauffacher at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 706-769-3945.