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Facebook Post Helped Solve 45-Year-Old Cold Case Killing

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Facebook Post Helped Solve 45-Year-Old Cold Case Killing

Whether it's the murders of Biggie and Tupac or the deadly spree of the so-called Zodiac Killer, many cold cases remain unsolved - with the mystery often proving simply too vast to crack.

However, sometimes, a new piece of evidence suddenly comes to light, in turn steering the investigation back on track at the most unexpected time.

This is exactly what happened with the case of little Carolee Ashby, a four-year-old girl who was killed on Halloween night back in 1968 - and it involved a bit of help from a post on Facebook.

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Carolee Ashby. Credit: Family Handout
Carolee Ashby. Credit: Family Handout

She had been walking home from the shops with her sister and cousin in Fulton, upstate New York, when she was hit by a car - which did not stop after it struck her.

While her sister and cousin were unhurt in the incident, Carolee sadly later died from her injuries.

At the time, police received a tip that 18-year-old Douglas Parkhurst had apparently crashed his tan 1962 Buick the same night.

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He confirmed a crash had happened, but claimed his accident had taken place in the neighbouring town of Volney.

Credit: NBC
Credit: NBC

Despite police checking hundreds of leads over the years, and even reopening the case in 2000, the young girl's killer was never found - until 2012, when the power of social media helped officers find a new lead.

After his retirement, former Fulton police lieutenant Russ Johnson came across a Facebook page about the town, and decided to post a description of the case to see if anyone had any information.

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A woman from Florida got in touch, explaining that a member of the the Parkhurst family approached her soon after the hit-and-run, asking her to say she'd been with Parkhurst and his brother that night.

The woman - who had refused to help, although no one ended up approaching her on the matter - was never told why they needed her as an alibi, but police said she had assumed it was related to the accident.

Her information guided investigators to Parkhurt's home to question him once again in 2013.

Doug Parkhurst. Credit: NBC
Doug Parkhurst. Credit: NBC
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Fulton police Sergeant Stephen Lunn Jr. Told the Associated Press: "He invited us into his home.

"At the time, he didn't give any indication that he had any guilt to this, so to speak."

Parkhurst, who was 62 by this time, admitted he had been drinking beer that night and had hit something as he drove through Fulton.

Lunn said Parkhurst told investigators he believed he had hit an animal at the time, but then knew it was Carolee, also admitting he had initially lied when questioned about the accident.

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Despite confessing, Parkhurst couldn't be charged because the statute of limitations had expired, police said.

However, the story grew stranger still years later - when Parkhurst was killed in exactly the same way as Carolee.

Credit: ABC
Credit: ABC

In 2018, a 68-year-old Parkhurst died after a woman named Carol Sharrow drove across a Little League field in Sanford, Maine, striking him as he stood near the main gate.

According to Sanford Maine Police Department, Sharrow - who, reportedly, suffered with mental illness - then sped from the scene.

Goodall Park, where Parkhurst was killed. Credit: Google Maps
Goodall Park, where Parkhurst was killed. Credit: Google Maps

After Parkhurst's unfortunate death, Carolee Ashby's sister, Darlene Ashby McCann, said she felt like she finally had closure.

"I feel like it's over now," she said, according to Syracuse.com.

"He's paid the ultimate price."

Johnson added: "This is the final chapter in a 50-year tragedy."

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

Topics: True Crime, News

Jess Hardiman
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