Ashley Reeves Fought Her Life 3 Times For The: The Ashley Reeves Story is based on the incredible true story of a typical adolescent girl who had to fight for her life three times: once in the woods, once in the hospital, and lastly in court.
Who is Ashley Reeves?
17-year-old Ashley Reeves, a high school junior, lived in Millstadt, Illinois, with her parents and younger sister Casey. She was doing well in school, had a lot of friends, and even had a boyfriend named Jeremy who her parents admired.
Ashley was looking forward to graduation. Ashley had no idea that just a year before she was to go across the aisle, she would witness the unbelievable and live to tell the tale.
What Happened to Ashley Reeves?
Ashley informed her parents on Thursday, April 27, 2006, that she would be attending a job interview in Fairview Heights, a city about 20 minutes away from Millstadt. Ashley informed her parents that she would play basketball after the interview and would be home before her curfew of 10 p.m.
Ashley Reeves arrived at the interview around 3:30 p.m., carrying a change of clothes and driving Jeremy’s car, which she had borrowed for the day.
Curfew had passed at 10:30 p.m., but Ashley was nowhere to be seen. Michelle, her mother, inquired if her youngest daughter Casey had spoken to Ashley, but Casey stated that she hadn’t heard from her sister all day.
Michelle and Casey called and texted Ashley several times, but she never responded, which was unusual for her.
Michelle called the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Office because she got a gut feeling that something had gone awry.
Officers initially believed Ashley was out with her friends and had lost track of time, but eight hours into the investigation, they discovered Jeremy’s car abandoned at Laderman Park, Belleville, 15 minutes from Ashley’s home.
Ashley’s bag, which contained the clothes she would have worn if she had gone to play basketball, was discovered inside the car by investigators.
Detectives quickly concluded that this was not a usual instance of a disobedient girl defying her parents’ severe curfew; this was a missing person inquiry, and time was of the essence.
Detectives questioned Jeremy because he was Ashley’s boyfriend and the car she was driving was his, but they immediately realized he was not involved in her abduction.
Jeremy told detectives that he had let Ashley borrow his car so she could go to a job interview and then a basketball game.
Detectives were perplexed as to why Ashley would play basketball at a park so far from her home when there was one directly in her neighborhood.
Unless she had a meeting.
While detectives were getting closer to finding Ashley, Michelle called the phone provider; because Ashley was only 17, her phone was in her mother’s name. She gained access to her phone records, which detailed all of her incoming and outgoing conversations.
Michelle combed through the records and discovered multiple calls from the same phone number. Michelle dialed the number and spoke with Samson Shelton, 26.
Michelle inquired of Samson whether he had seen or heard from Ashley. He responded no, and before she could ask why he was talking to her adolescent daughter, he abruptly hung up the phone.
Ashley, thankfully, kept her pals up to date on her personal life, and what they told detectives sent shivers down Michelle’s spine.
Ashley was romantically linked with an older man, according to her acquaintances. Ashley had planned to meet him the day she went missing since they used to play basketball together.
Samson Shelton was the individual in question.
Samson worked as a driver’s education instructor and gym coach at a nearby high school. On the side, he was a professional wrestler. Unsurprisingly, he was known as “The Teacher.”
Some of Samson’s female students referred to him as the “cute” teacher, while others thought he was odd and self-centered.
In 2001, while Ashley was in seventh grade, detectives determined that Samson was her instructor. They had reconnected two months before she went missing, in February 2006.
They frequently met in Belleville, near Laderman Park, where authorities discovered Jeremy’s abandoned vehicle, where Samson resided with his mother and grandmother.
Ashley had been missing for an entire night by this point on Friday, April 28. Michelle was gripped with agony as troubling thoughts raced through her head: Was Ashley cold? Was she injured? Was she in pain?
Detectives went to the high school where Samson worked and questioned him. They instantly realized he was implicated in Ashley’s disappearance.
Samson first maintained a cool and serene demeanor; he was cordial, polite, and even cooperative with the investigation. However, as detectives unearthed more of his lies, the truth began to leak out of his mouth.
When asked about his connection with Ashley, Samson stated that the two were just friends who rarely got together to play basketball.
When challenged with comments from Ashley’s acquaintances that their relationship was romantic and sexual, Samson revised his tale in a frantic attempt to victimize himself.
Ashley had become obsessed with Samson, according to Samson. He portrayed a fixated adolescent with a crush who called him at all hours of the day and night. Samson claimed he had avoided Ashley for days in the hopes that she would leave him alone.
After several hours of questioning, Samson admitted that not only did he have sex with his former pupil, but that he was also with Ashley on April 27, the day she went missing.
Samson claims that he was driving when he got into an argument with Ashley. He wanted to stop the relationship, but Ashley became enraged and began screaming at him. He pulled over, unbuckled Ashley’s seatbelt, and motioned for her to exit the vehicle. When she resisted, he yanked her out of the car and abandoned her on the side of the road.
Samson stated that Ashley was still alive when he last saw her and that he would never have hurt her since he had a “very weak stomach.”
Samson claimed to care about Ashley and was as concerned about her well-being as her family, but would someone who cared about someone else abandon them stranded on the side of the road in the dark?
According to phone records, Samson never even attempted to contact Ashley after the incident to see whether she was safe. Instead, he went to a nearby country bar and spent the night dancing.
Samson’s story had shifted numerous times. Detectives didn’t believe anything he said. They begged him to disclose the truth because Ashley had been gone for nearly thirty hours and time was running out.
It wasn’t until detectives cited Samson’s grandmother’s disgust in his behavior that he began to cry.
Samson explained in chilling and horrifying detail what he had done to Ashley and where he had left her to die 12 hours into the interrogation.
Samson didn’t merely pull Ashley out of his car and abandon her on the side of the road, according to his videotaped confession. The part-time pro wrestler choked the kid and dragged her out of his car. Ashley went limp as he heard a loud pop.
Samson panicked when he realized he had snapped her neck and dragged her into the woods, where he strangled her with his bare hands. When he noticed Ashley was still alive, he strangled her with his belt once more.
Samson wrapped the belt around Ashley’s neck with his foot as leverage and pulled as hard as he could until the belt snapped.
Samson choked Ashley a third and last time with his hands after the belt broke, before fleeing and leaving her to die on the cold, hard ground deep in the woods.
Samson agreed to bring detectives to Ashley’s body in Citizens Park, a 45-acre park in Belleville about 12 minutes away from Ashley’s home.
However, it had rained all night, and when they got to the park, Samson couldn’t remember where he had left Ashley.
Detectives armed with flashlights hastily combed the woods for thirty minutes. They eventually spotted Ashley as they began to wonder if it was all a ruse by Samson. Her hands were up to her chest as she lay on her back. Her tongue was protruding from her mouth, and her body was covered with insect bites.
Her hands moved unexpectedly as the disappointment of not being able to save Ashley in time poured over detectives. Her chest then began to rise. Ashley was still alive.
Ashley had somehow survived three attempts to strangle her nearly to death and being left in the cold for over thirty hours.
EMTs hurried to the scene and took her to a nearby hospital, where she was placed in an induced coma.
Detectives understood the significance of the first 48 hours and lost no time in searching for the missing adolescent. It’s unlikely Ashley would have been located in time if they hadn’t persuaded Samson to bring them to her.
Samson was arrested and charged with attempted murder in the first degree.
Samson requested a private bathroom while being arrested. He claimed he had a urinary stress problem and would be miserable if he had to urinate in front of people. His request was immediately denied.
Samson revealed himself to be a real narcissist, with no empathy or regret for his acts. He pled not guilty and never apologized to Ashley, despite his comprehensive confession and the fact that he led officers to her.
What Happened to Narcissists Samson Shelton Then?
Samson was released on bail and placed under house arrest; a man who had snapped a teen’s neck, strangled her three times, and left her for dead in the woods was allowed to live in the comfort of his own home for a full year while awaiting trial.
Just before Samson faced attempted murder charges in court, his mother Susan called the cops to report that he had attempted suicide by consuming a mixture of several prescription medications and alcohol.
When deputies and medical responders arrived at Samson’s house, they discovered him obviously unconscious, with the words “do not resuscitate” inscribed on his chest.
As EMTs attempted to resuscitate Samson, he regained consciousness and began punching them. He was subsequently taken to a nearby hospital, where he allegedly made racial comments and kicked a nurse in the face.
The judge hearing Ashley’s case questioned Samson’s mental health, but prosecutors claimed his suicide attempt was merely a ploy to win sympathy from potential jurors.
A psychiatrist ruled Samson was mentally competent to stand trial a month later. Nonetheless, Ashley’s family decided they did not want her to go through a reliving of the heinous attack she had undergone on April 27 and agreed to a plea bargain. Samson accepted the plea bargain and received a 20-year prison sentence.
Where is Ashley Reeves Now?
Ashley made an incredible comeback. Ashley determined to let Samson’s heinous deeds keep her from pursuing her aspirations, even if she couldn’t recall the day he tried to take her life.
The amazingly strong and brave teen had relearned how to talk, eat, and drink a few months after the attack. She graduated from high school a year later and began volunteering at a violence prevention center.
Ashley is 32 years old and has two children.