Woman's body found miles from crash

Man's body was near SUV

woman was farther north

February 09, 2005|By Anica Butler | Anica Butler,SUN STAFF

Investigators are trying to determine why a Baltimore woman's body was found several miles from where a sport utility vehicle crashed on the beach at Assateague Island.

Jennifer Holly Ashe, 24, of Baltimore was found dead Monday on the north end of the island, near the Ocean City inlet, authorities said yesterday. She was found about five miles north of where the body of her companion, Adam Starkey, 25, of Cockeysville, was found, said Robert Fudge, chief of visitor services for Assateague Island National Seashore.

Starkey's body was found Sunday by surfers near his Hummer, which was on its side and partially in the surf, Fudge said. The two had apparently been driving on the beach near the entrance to the national seashore when the vehicle crashed.

Autopsy results were pending on the two, Fudge said. He said investigators did not find footprints leading to the woman's body, but he added that ocean water might have erased her tracks. Authorities are also considering the possibility that the ocean had carried her body up the coast, he said.

"We really don't know how Jennifer Ashe's body found its way to that location," Fudge said. "It could have been by the ocean or any number of ways."

About 9:30 p.m. Saturday, a commercial emergency service for motorists received a distress call from the Hummer, Fudge said. The service contacted authorities but did not provide an exact location, he said.

Rangers searched a 12- to 13-mile stretch of Maryland's southern portion of the island, where off-road driving is allowed with the proper permit, Fudge said. They did not find the Hummer.

Sunday morning, surfers found Starkey's body and the Hummer on the beach north of the park's Sinepuxent Ranger Station, in an area off limits to off-road vehicles, Fudge said.

Authorities from several agencies, using helicopters, searched for additional victims.

In the meantime, Starkey's family was notified. Starkey's uncle, who according to a Baltimore County police report is the boyfriend of Ashe's mother, called police Sunday night to report Ashe missing. Ashe had left her North Baltimore home Saturday to meet Starkey to go off-roading on the Eastern Shore, her family said.

None of her belongings was found in or around the Hummer, according to the missing-persons report. Monday morning, a ranger found Ashe's body a half-mile south of the Ocean City Inlet.

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