Surveillance photo may show missing Ohio woman
WARWICK, R.I. —
A woman reported missing from Cleveland, Ohio, might be linked to a criminal case in Rhode Island.
Fourteen-year-old Ashley Summers ran away from her home in Cleveland seven years ago. She hasn't been seen or heard from since the summer of 2007.
A surveillance photo from Rhode Island's Most Wanted renewed her family's hopes that she might be found.
Police posted a picture looking for a credit card fraud suspect who was taking money out of several ATMs in Rhode Island and one other New England State in September and October.
Police said they believe the man and the woman seen in the surveillance photo broke into people's cars while they were at the gym in multiple Rhode Island locations, stealing wallets and credit cards. Police began tracking the activity of one of the cards reported stolen and came up with the picture of a woman.
Summers' family says it looks a lot like Ashley.
"They bear a strong resemblance," Col. Stephen McCartney, the chief of the Warwick Police Department, said.
McCartney is being cautious though. He doesn't want to get anyone's hopes up as there's no way to prove the woman in the photo is Ashley Summers.
"No one can conclusively say this is one in the same person, and we don't know where that person is," McCartney said.
"I think the picture looks a lot like her," Linda Summers, Ashley's step-grandmother, said Wednesday.
Linda Summers said she believes Ashley could be a hostage here in Rhode Island. Summers told NBC 10 News that she might be trying to be seen in surveillance video, hoping to be found.
"If you're robbing banks and using identify fraud, you're trying not to be seen. I'm wondering if she's being coerced into this and she's looking at that camera to be seen," Summers said.
Ashley Summers ran away after a fight at home in July 2007. Linda Summers called it "typical teenage activity." FBI special investigators said Ashley did have a history of running away.
"There's always been no answer to, 'Was Ashley abducted? Did she run away?' She had a history of running away, but she did always return," FBI Special Agent Vicki Anderson said.
Linda Summers also requests people take a good look at the man in the surveillance photo too. Summers said finding the pair is crucial to either solving this case, or simply allowing her family to move on.
"It's kind of a win-win, either way. If it is her, we get to know where she is and that's she's OK. And if isn't her, we helped you guys find a criminal," Summers said.
The credit card fraud suspects would face misdemeanor charges in Rhode Island.