The highway theory from the previous page is quite compelling and telling when we consider:
• Raging storm at 4:00 a.m. • Asha was wearing her most highly visible, white outfit • She couldn’t have found her way in the darkest of nights and in low visibility fog • Rural area with uneven terrain • 55 MPH speed limit • Only two witnesses from BOTH directions • Short time factor between O’Bryant’s last recollection and witness’s first recollection
The questions now are: Why was Asha seen running away from the motorist/witness, toward the woods? Why were merely two motorists witness to Asha’s walking alone?
How could this be?
Two motorists spotted Asha; one was so disturbed at the sight of a small child walking alone that he turned around three times, only to see who is believed to be Asha, running to an even darker, creepier wooded area. To any nine-year-old, such dark places at night and in a raging storm, however minimal, are chock full of the ‘lions, tigers and bears’ fear factor.
Remember, we’re talking about Asha, a child afraid of dogs–deathly afraid of dogs.
How are we to believe she was running away from civilization and into the scary unknown?
It’s here where we must remind ourselves that Asha doesn’t run away, she goes to; she gravitates toward those she knows and trusts.
I can’t stress this ideal enough, it seems, but it’s a crucial aspect if we’re to decipher this most painful of events.
Going along with the known-abductor ideal, I believe the offender drove Asha to a predetermined place along the highway, instructed her to change clothing from her nightgown and walk a short distance in order that she be seen. I surmise the location is crucial and was chosen for its two-way visibility. The perpetrator needed to see when, where and how much traffic was coming in both directions. It’s quite logical that Asha was only seen when one trucker/motorist was approaching from either direction. This way, he could control the situation; lest more than one witness see her at the same time. Such a scenario would have been too risky.
The topography of the area where Asha was last seen supports this theory: the roads are flat and one can predict a vehicle’s rate of speed and have enough time to judge if the motorist is a ‘suitable candidate’ in serving his purpose as witness without being spotted.
Too, the pace of the traffic (55+ MPH) is too fast for a vehicle or truck to stop abruptly once a driver spotted the child; thus, turning around would have been necessary for any trucker to revisit what they witnessed.
I believe the perpetrator intended for at least three motorists (most likely truckers) to witness Asha walking alone, but when the motorist turned around at 4:00 a.m., it was too close for comfort and he called Asha to him hurriedly, perhaps with the promise of taking her home.
It’s likely Asha’s abductor needed to be near the highway’s intersection. This way, he could see any and all traffic, keeping his presence all the more inconspicuous.
If the aforementioned was indeed precisely what happened, it further supports the theory a person known to the family was responsible for Asha’s disappearance. A stranger wouldn’t care about staging such a scenario and no bookbag would have been involved. Since we know Asha didn’t run away, we’re left with this single most-logical possibility.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Looking at a satellite view above the area, one can clearly see several off-road vehicle paths made clearer by 4-wheelers or four-wheel-drive tires, plenty of places to drive and remain undiscovered very close to the highway where Asha was last seen. One can even see the sad reminder–the highway sign–of Asha’s last steps on Monday.
Adding to Asha’s disappearance and my theory on the staged runaway scenario, several of her personal belongings were found in a storage shed at Turner Upholstery.
All this considered, the abductor was local and very familiar with the area’s trails.
What I need from Shelby, NC residents: Have you been out on location at those hours when it’s believed Asha was last seen? If anyone has access to road conditions and visibility on February 14, 200o, please contact me.
Page Poser: Do you think it’s plausible that a child suffering from the same fears as Asha would run into the woods? If you have a child afraid of the darks or dogs, would he/she even consider going it alone in the conditions I’ve described?
ABOUT THE IMAGE FROM GOOGLE MAPS: On the bottom of the page you can barely make out the billboard and its shadow, a tribute and landmark reminder of Asha’s last sighting (to the right of the white Google icon). Barely visible at the top of the image immediately right of the blue spyglass is the mud-like dirt road made from off-road tire tracks. These tracks lead to the wooded area you see in the middle of the frame may be the very spot where Asha ran into. For privacy, I retouched the house to obliterate it. My point is, this dirt ‘road’ leads further up and out of the toward Turner Upholstery’s storage shed. Plenty of back roads where one can travel by truck and walk unseen. Only one who is familiar with the area would know about the shed; it’s way back, off the road and down a curved driveway, not at all visible and would be pitch black at night and visibility, when one factors the heavy rain and fog is next to nothing.
the last sighting of Asha. There are NO highway lights; add torrential-downpour rain and we’ve a very dark site, indeed. The wooded area behind the sign may well be where Asha was seen fleeing. Looking at the site from the aerial view, there are plenty of off-road trails only someone familiar with the area and off-roading would know.
A look at the highway where Asha is believed to have traveled. As I’ve mentioned, I don’t believe she could have walked along this unlevel terrain with no assistance and no aid from a flood lamp. Take a look for yourself and let me know what you think. ~Wendy
Pic Poser: What are your thoughts after looking at these images. Is it becoming less or more plausible Asha set out on her own?