UNION CO., S.C. (WSPA) – A Union County family can now bury their loved one after waiting more than seven months, but they still have a lot of unanswered questions.
7 News spoke with the family and the Union County Sheriff about those questions and learned how they are working to answer them.
“They were 99.7 percent sure that the remains belonged to Jessica Ashmore,” Union County Sheriff David Taylor said.
More than three weeks after finding human remains in a wooded area, not far from where a missing woman was last seen seven months before, a hurting family’s prayers were finally answered.
“She just wasn’t the type of person to just go missing,” Christy Knight said.
Knight’s cousin, Jessica Ashmore, was last seen on Jeffries Farm Road in May. Human remains were found in the woods there in December. And this week, officials told 7 News those remains belong to Ashmore.
“We didn’t want to believe it was her, because we wanted to hold out hope that she was still alive,” Knight said.
Sheriff David Taylor said, in his time in law enforcement, he’s never waited so long for autopsy results.
“The remains had been exposed so long to sunlight and the weather, it took longer than normal to get the DNA extracted,” he said.
Now, the sheriff’s office is considering the investigation to be criminally suspicious.
The reason, they say, is that they’ve learned a lot about Jessica Ashmore, and they know where she would and wouldn’t go.
“She would not go a mile and 3/10ths down in the woods,” Sheriff Taylor said. “She had asthma, she had allergies. She was a person who didn’t like to get her feet dirty.”
So, even though the family has their loved one back, they still have a lot of unanswered questions.
“Who did this? Did she suffer? What happened in her last minutes of life?”
And Knight said she and the rest of Ashmore’s family won’t give up until they have those answers.
“You don’t have closure. There’s never going to be closure,” Knight said. “Until there’s justice done–she was a beautiful girl–absolutely nobody deserves to be murdered and thrown in the woods like a piece of trash. All we want to do is get justice. It’s crucial.”
Jessica’s family and friends will be having a memorial service for her in Jonesville this weekend, and the community helped raise more than $600 in less than 24 hours.
If you’d like to help with funeral expenses, click here.
Sheriff Taylor said his department has received a ton of leads since the remains were positively identified, but they’re still asking for more; so, if you have any helpful information, call the sheriff’s office or Crime Stoppers.