FULTON, NY – There may be a breakthrough in the hit-and-run death of Carolee Sadie Ashby.
The four-year-old Fulton girl was struck and killed by an unknown motorist on Halloween night, 1968.
Despite numerous leads and interviews, Fulton police were unable to make an arrest in the case. It remains an open investigation.
When asked about specifics of the case currently, the department would only say that a press release would be issued Wednesday morning detailing issues in the case from 1968 to present.
A city resident has reportedly made a confession; but they won’t be charged.
“I feel like it is a longtime coming. But, neither my mom nor I have that feeling that we’re satisfied,” Carolee’s sister, Darlene McCann, told News Channel 9 this evening. “We just wish that they would be able to tell my mother, in person, that they were sorry. It is something our family has lived with every day of our lives.”
Orlo Green, Fulton Police Chief, does plan on releasing a statement Wednesday morning, which will detail the events of this case, past and present, Deputy Chief Tom Abelgore confirmed.
Prior coverage from Fulton Daily News (now Oswego County Today.com) 11/01/2000
As Fulton Police try to cover old ground in Carolee Ashby’s death, some of that old ground is missing, Fulton Police officials acknowledge.
The clothes Ashby wore when she was hit by a car is missing from the department’s evidence room, as is the collection of chips of paint collected at the scene of the 1968 hit-and-run accident, presumably from the car that hit Ashby.
Police Sergeant Russ Johnson, head of the criminal investigation unit in the department, says a search for the evidence within the police department has turned up nothing.
“We’re pretty confident that if we haven’t seen it here, it’s pretty much gone,” he said.
But, adds Johnson, even if the evidence were still present, it isn’t clear whether the clothes and paint chips would tell investigators anything new about the 32 year old crime.
“It’s an unknown,” he said.
The physical evidence was stored separately from the case files, Johnson said. It was sent for testing shortly after the accident, and was returned.
Missing, along with the paint chips, are Carolee Ashby’s maroon coat, her trousers, and her blue pants, Johnson said.
Johnson said the department has moved its evidence holding area over the last three decades. He adds that procedures for handling and storing evidence today are very strict, but he isn’t certain that strict policies have always been in place.
Currently, an officer is assigned the responsibility for checking evidence in and out.
Losing evidence, said Johnson, “is not very common.”
What is more common, he said, is the purging of long-closed case files and evidence.
Sometimes, cases with no resolution are also purged.
“When you purge a case, you purge whatever property may be associated with the case,” Johnson said.
The Case of Carolee Ashby’s 1968 Death (11-01-2000)
On October 31, 1968 at about 6:15 p.m., four-year-old Carolee Ashby was struck by an unidentified vehicle and killed while attempting to cross Second Street, which is now also known as State Route 481, in front of the plaza that now houses Eckerd.
She was standing in the middle of the street holding the hand of her 15-year-old sister, Darlene, after crossing the northbound lane.
The two girls and their cousin, Cheryl (Ashby) Ray, who was 13 at the time, were on their way back to Carolee’s house.
They had ventured several blocks from home to purchase birthday candles at the drugstore for Darlene’s birthday cake.
Marlene Ashby, the girls’ mother, was throwing a birthday party for Darlene and had forgotten to buy candles.
At the time of the accident, Cheryl had already crossed the second half of the street and was waiting for the two sisters to follow. Darlene had Carolee positioned so that she was slightly behind her as they waited for southbound traffic to clear.
What police believe to have been a light colored mid or full size sedan approached the girls at what some eyewitnesses say was at a fast pace.
The vehicle struck Carolee, pulling her out of her sister’s grasp and sending her flying 133 feet north, towards the intersection of Second and Division streets.
Both Darlene and Cheryl have little memory of the events.
A witness traveling northbound about three hundred yards behind the suspect vehicle reported seeing people standing in the middle of the road and then observed Carolee being struck by the vehicle.
The witness told the police that the vehicle momentarily stopped near the area where Carolee’s body came to rest and then drove off towards the north on Route 481.
Two other witnesses also saw the car hit the little girl and then drive off.
Two of the witnesses report that the suspect car may have had hexagonally or circularly shaped taillights.
The case was investigated and evidence examined with no results.
Community Tries to Solve 1968 Death of Carolee Ashby
On 11/02/2000 it was reported:
The Fulton Police Department has received help from the community in its appeal for information in a 32-year-old hit and run case.
Investigator Russ Johnson says that the public has been responding to Tuesday’s appeal for assistance in the case of four-year-old Carolee Ashby.
“We received four calls Tuesday night and so far I’ve seen three come in today,” Johnson said yesterday. “I haven’t had enough time yet to determine if any one of the tips will lead to anything.”
The little girl was struck by a vehicle at the intersection of Division and Second streets in 1968 on Halloween night.
The driver took off after the incident and no one was ever charged.
The Fulton Police Department reopened the case last year after concerned citizens brought the case to the Chief Mark Spawn’s attention.
“The case isn’t solvable in its current state,” Spawn said at the press conference on Tuesday. “All it could take is one lead from the community.”