Vigil held for 14-year-old Cleveland girl missing for over 15 years

Published: Jul. 31, 2022 at 10:45 PM EDT

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - About 30 family members came together to remember missing Ashley Summers, determined to keep the case on the public’s mind.

Ashley was reported missing on July 9, 2007 near Cleveland’s West Side. Her disappearance is a real mystery to both her family and investigators since all tips to this point have not answered if she is alive.

“It’s easy to give up hope sometimes,” Linda Summers, Ashley’s step-grandmother, said. “I think it’s important to keep it alive so we can just keep looking for her and finding out what has happened to her, so, we have some closure good or bad.”

Ashley’s mother, Jennifer, had tears in her eyes and was barely able to speak, saying the last few months have been extremely emotional because Ashley’s birthday was in June and July is the heartbreaking anniversary of her disappearance.

“I love you and I hope you come home soon,” she said.

Ashley turned 29 July 31.

“If there’s anybody that talked to her before she went missing, when she was 14, friends from school or anything like that, even if it’s just some off-the-wall comment she may have made that you didn’t think was a big deal, please come forward,” Linda said. “It may be very important to the case.”

The Cleveland Family Center for Missing Children and Adults held the gathering and have become an important support system for Ashley’s family.

Gina DeJesus, who runs the center, was kidnapped and held captive by Ariel Castro for 9 years.

DeJesus stands as living proof that sometimes the missing do come home.

She encourages the victim’s family to try and do interviews about the case whenever they can, because it could be Ashley’s lifeline.

“I always tell them they have to do the interviews because I had a TV in my room, and every chance I go to see my parents on TV, it always gave me hope,” DeJesus said.

DeJesus’s parents, Nancy Ruiz and Felix DeJesus, have also been a strong support system for Ashley’s family.

“I never gave up,” Felix said. “I was out there searching every day.”

19 News has in-depth details on Ashley Summer’s case in the Dark Side of the Land podcast.

Anyone with information that may help investigators solve this 15-year-old case has been asked to call the local police department or 1-800-THE-LOST.

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