Facebook helps solve 45-year-old case

2013-04-24 22:20


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Fulton - Carolee Sadie Ashby's family has spent the past 45 years wondering who was driving the car that fatally struck the 4-year-old girl, as she crossed a street in her upstate New York town on Halloween night.

Thanks to a retired detective's Facebook post, authorities provided an answer on Wednesday: A man, who police say misled them when questioned about the girl's death in 1968, and then sat on the secret for more than four decades.

Douglas Parkhurst, 62, has been identified as the driver of a car that failed to stop after hitting Carolee, according to the police department in Fulton, a town of 12 000 people where the accident occurred.

Parkhurst won't be charged because the statute of limitations has expired, police said.

A phone number for him has been disconnected.

The girl, her sister and a cousin were returning from a neighbourhood store after buying candles for the sibling's 15th birthday when Carolee was hit.

The other two weren't hurt, but Carolee later died from her injuries.

Parkhurst was questioned at the time when police learnt he had been in an accident that same night.

He confirmed a crash, but said it occurred in a neighbouring town, police said.

Although his claims that he had hit a guard post didn't match up with the damage to his vehicle, Parkhurst wasn't questioned again, police said.

The mystery endured for nearly a half-century.

Case reopened

Police checked out hundreds of leads over the years and reopened of the case in 2000, but the break came early last year after retired Fulton police Lieutenant Russ Johnson posted details of the case on a local history Facebook page.

According to Fulton police, a former resident now living in Florida saw the posting and came forward with new information.

The woman, who police did not identify, told police that she was approached by a member of the Parkhurst family soon after the accident and asked to say she was with Parkhurst and his brother on 31 October 1968.

The woman refused to do so and was never told why they wanted her alibi, but she assumed it was related to the accident, police said.

Her information prompted investigators to go to Parkhurst's home and question him again, said Fulton police Sergeant Stephen Lunn jnr.

Admitting to the accident

Over the course of several interviews, Parkhurst admitted he was drinking beer the night of the accident and was driving through Fulton with his brother passed out in the back seat when he hit something, Lunn said.

Parkhurst told the investigators he believed at the time he had hit an animal, but now knows it was Carolee.

He admitted that he initially lied when questioned about the accident in 1968, Lunn said.

Carolee's mother, Marlene, and the sister she was walking with, Darlene McCann, still live in the Fulton area.

Attempts to reach them on Wednesday by phone and Facebook were unsuccessful.

The car Parkhurst admitted driving that night, a tan 1962 Buick Special, was later junked in his sister's backyard in the nearby town of Mexico, Lunn said.

The rusted-out vehicle has been resting on its roof in a field for about 40 years and investigators were unable to glean any evidence from it that would tie it to the hit-and-run, he said.

- AP

Read more on:    facebook  |  us

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


The rich will pay - Mpofu

The EFF in Gauteng will focus all its energy on improving the lives of the poor, the party's premier candidate Dali Mpofu says.


Latest elections multimedia

Watch what happened when we blindfolded Helen Zille and asked her to eat random things
13 days to elections - news you need to know
11 Julius Malema quotes you'll never forget
DA won't get 30% - Zille
  • Tuesday Century City - 05:58 AM
    Road name: Ratanga Road Southbound
    ROADWORKS - lane closure between Ocean Spirit Avenue and Century Boulevard (until mid April)
  • Tuesday Mitchells Plain - 05:58 AM
    Road name: Spine Road
    ROAD CLOSED between Weltevreden Drive and Seafarer Drive due to roadworks (until mid April)
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Mother’s Day special offers!

Spoil mom with these awesome specials that will warm her heart. Shop now!

Twisp – the smoking alternative

Buy any 2 refills for R250 and save R149. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Mother’s Day specials on appliances

Browse our range of Mother’s Day appliances to spoil and pamper mom. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Nokia N9

The Nokia N9 has a beautiful one-piece, unibody design where...

From R2899.85

I'm shopping for:


You may be more sensitive today and can be influenced easily by the energies around you. Try not to be swayed too much by the...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.