We now have a plausible scenario of why Asha packed her bookbag. Now, let’s talk about her leaving her warm, safe and happy home at around 3:10 a.m. Monday morning:
She didn’t. Or better said, she didn’t expect to.
Remember, Asha would never leave her home on a creepy, winter-cold, rainy, dark-dark predawn ‘night’ wearing only bleached-white jeans, long sleeve, white shirt and matching sneakers. No coat. This was the outfit she’s reported wearing as she walked along the lampless highway–alone–where two motorists spotted her some thirty minutes or so apart between 3:45 and 4:15 a.m., before Asha left the highway, running toward a doubly-dark-and-creepy, wooded area.
As I mentioned, Asha was last seen by her brother wearing a white nightgown with red trim and teddy bear front at around 2:30 a.m. when she got up, used the bathroom and returned to bed. A short time later, O’Bryant hears her bed squeak but he believes his sister is just “tossing” in her sleep.
All this, just a little more than an hour before being spotted along Highway 18.
Somewhere in all the silence of the house, we can not expect that a 9-year-old child gets up (with the bed squeaking), undresses from the nightgown, dons a pair of jeans, the long-sleeve shirt, socks and shoes and makes her way to the exit or door, bookbag in hand without waking her brother, who remember, shares the room with his sister. The bag was most likely nylon, a material that makes a unique rustling sound, one most of us can recognize. Then, (according to reports), Asha must have locked the door behind her and disappeared into an inky shroud of darkness.
It’s here we must revisit everything that Asha is: her very small world, the love of her close-knit and extended family, her no-nonsense obedience and love for school, and her zest to please.
Factor in the wet weather, her fear of both dogs and the dark, her extreme shyness and distrust of new people and then there’s the woods, the fog . . . we could go on and on with how the aforementioned scenario of her leaving is just not possible in Asha’s world.
It’s becoming all the more clear-times-ten that Asha didn’t get dressed into the outfit she was seen wearing alongside of Highway 18.
She didn’t need to.
It’s important to note that Asha’s teddy bear nightgown was also missing from her home.
And because we’ve already established–reestablished–that Asha didn’t plan to leave. Leaving was in the mind of the perpetrator because that’s what he wanted us to believe. Remember my theory that Asha wasn’t going away, that she was going to?
Don’t be swayed by what he wants us to believe.
It’s more likely that Asha got up, used the bathroom to check that all were sleeping (as instructed) while still in her nightgown. She put her sneakers on, retrieved the pre-packed book bag and stepped out of her (I believe) back door and onto the stoop.
That’s as far as Asha’s 9-year-old mind could entertain; anything further than her front door is beyond her comfort zone.
In her mind–and this is more in keeping with Asha’s 9-year-old thinking and comfort level–she was instructed to
meet this person she knew, this person she trusted, at the door or wherever, with the book bag at a given time. It’s likely that this monster told her to contain the items within the book bag for convenience and he would dump them quickly into another bag while on the stoop, then hand the book bag back to Asha, so her parents wouldn’t know about the ‘good secret.’
But obviously, what Asha was told and what she thought is not what happened.
This scenario would explain why Asha had no coat; she didn’t need one for what she believed she would be doing: opening the door, handing off the contents of her book bag, closing the door and climbing back into bed safe and sound, and still in her nightgown; nobody would be the wiser.
Was this the reason Asha was still on the sofa at midnight? Was she hoping her father would leave her where she lay, making the handoff easier?
As I mentioned, I don’t have a script of what exactly happened and we can present any number of circumstances like a party, a photo shoot, her mom winning an award; it could be anything that occurred at that door. Too, the handoff could have been two bags that Asha provided, an empty book bag, no bag at all, any like scenarios will fit, but considering all that we know about Asha’s world, these stay-closer-to-home arrangements fit her entirely versus the runaway stunt the monster led her–and us to believe.
On the next page, I’ll talk about the questions that arise if we’re to entertain the nightgown-on-the-stoop theory.
Page Poser: Do you find any of this information compelling? Has it changed your viewpoint? What do you wish you could ask law enforcement?