After reviewing Asha’s family structure, her personality ( fears, close family ties, etc.) and the days’ events, I’ve come to the steadfast determination that Asha’s abductor is someone she knows.
I know you may be thinking, ‘Law enforcement knows better and they know more than any ‘armchair detective.’ ‘
While that may be true, the problem with Asha’s case is it’s been handed from detective to detective–almost on a yearly basis. And that’s not good.
What happens is a phenomenon called, diffusion of responsibility, wherein a group of people are more likely to believe that ‘someone else’ would have already acted upon a discovery if one did, indeed exist. Conversely, if one person was responsible for Asha’s case they would more likely act upon new evidence. So, any tip or evidence introduced earlier, is assumed another detective would have seen and acted upon it.
I know that sounds complex (I tend to be wordy), so here’s an easy visual of sorts that actually happened to me:
A storm caused the power to go out in my entire neighborhood. I assumed since my neighborhood is huge, that surely someone else had already reported the outage, so I didn’t call it in. After several hours, power still hasn’t been restored, so I called the power company to complain. I was shocked to learn that nobody bothered to report the outage, as everyone else assumed that everyone else called the power company!
Law enforcement isn’t incompetent nor are they lackadaisical, purposefully pushing paper here and there; it’s just the way things work and human nature.
One such case in point, is the comic book murder:
Barbara George’s 1990 murder occurred in her and her husband’s store, Comic World in Detroit, Michigan. It went unsolved for 18 years. One crucial piece of evidence–filed the very day after her murder–sat in her case file unnoticed until a new cold case department was formed and a detective was handed the file.
It turns out a witness stated that George’s husband, Michael, was in the comic book store and instinctively answered the phone when the witness called. A few minutes later, Barbara George was reported murdered. In the files, it was later compared to that witness statement and determined, that Michael George had lied, saying he was at his mother’s house napping. He couldn’t have been napping on his mother’s couch and in the store answering the phone at the same time. This discretion along with other circumstantial evidence, proved the husband’s guilt and he was finally brought to justice and is currently serving a life sentence, no parole.
Are we to assume all the detectives handling George’s case were incompetent? Certainly not. Clearly, diffusion of responsibility was at work, here. Every detective assumed the prior officer had reviewed and deemed the witness’s statement pointless.
Asha’s disappearance needs to be reviewed–from page one, forward–by several sets of new eyes who are assigned solely (if even for a few weeks) to Asha’s case.
And, most importantly, everyone needs to be re-interviewed.
Because the perpetrator has 15 years of pent-up remorse and/or anxiety, and is more fragile, having had so many years invested in harboring the worst secret he’ll ever keep. We all have our breaking points–the straw that broke the camel’s back, if you will–and it’s no secret that some criminals are glad to finally be unbridled from their most profound of mistakes. And he doesn’t want to be viewed a callous monster.
In my opinion, the time is right to approach all that knew Asha Jaquilla Degree. Her world was small and there aren’t many folks to vet.
Page Poser: What are your thoughts about approaching all potential witnesses and calling for a new set of dedicated eyes?