When authorities announced the escape of three young Cleveland, Ohio, women after years of alleged captivity, the name Ashley Nicole Summers was glaringly missing.
Two years after she disappeared in the summer of 2007, the FBI featured Summers on a missing poster with Amanda Berry and Georgina DeJesus, two of the three women safely reunited with friends and relatives after their dramatic dash to freedom.
At the time, the FBI suspected that the teenagers’ disappearance within blocks of each other in the same neighborhood over a four-year span, starting in 2003, could be connected.
But with the resurfacing on Monday of Michelle Knight, who police say was 21 when she vanished, along with Berry and DeJesus, the question of what happened to Summers becomes more puzzling.
Summers, who left home at age 14, reportedly after an argument with family, was initially called a runaway .
"But there’s been no legitimate sightings, no accessing social media, anything, and so we were concerned and are concerned. She’s considered an endangered juvenile" who may have been abducted, said FBI Special Agent Vicki Anderson of the agency’s Cleveland bureau.
Anderson said it was too early to tell if the return of Berry, 27, DeJesus, 23, and Knight, 32, means the Summers case has no connection. Authorities will likely question the suspects -- three brothers -- about Summers, who would turn 20 on June 16.
"We’re really very dependent on the public’s assistance on things such as this, for them to be aware of people around them, to report things that are suspicious, to take a look at the pictures of these individuals who are missing and see if they recognize them, see if there’s anything out there."
The Summers case, a joint investigation between the FBI and Cleveland police, remains active and open with no suspects, according to Anderson.
“We hope that this attention for Gina, Amanda and Michelle being found yesterday and reunited with their families that maybe that generates some tips for Ashley that we can follow up on,“ Anderson said.
When she went missing, Summers, who is white, was described as 5’5’’, 130 pounds, with brown hair, blue eyes and a tattoo of a heart on her right arm with the name Gene on it.