October 3, 2006
The man who authorities believe murdered a UVa student may be linked to a possible killing spree up and down the East Coast.
FBI officials said that the suspect, William Ashby, may be connected to a string of murders ranging from Virginia, Tennessee, to South Carolina and with Ashby now dead, investigators are relying solely on new evidence found at the Blue Ridge Parkway crime scene.
"[It was] just cold and brutal and very very sad for this young woman, wrong place wrong time," FBI Agent Charles Cunningham said.
The brutal murder of UVa grad student, Elizabeth Hafter has investigators questioning how many more victims William Ashby left in his trail.
"Was this person on a rampage and was he murdering people up and down the east coast that we just don't know of yet," Cunningham continued.
The body of the 22-year-old student was found Sunday along Blue Ridge Parkway, shot twice in the head, and thrown over the jagged cliff at Greenstone Overlook.
"This individual had no concern for the victim and really just tossed her body aside," the agent said.
In the car near Hafter's body, a key piece of evidence was found that possibly links Ashby to two additional murders in Tennessee.
"In the vehicle found in Shenandoah, we found a receipt for the park, the state park five miles from the shooting in Tennessee," Cunningham said.
When a high speed chase and shootout Monday in St. Johns County Florida left Ashby dead, investigators are left putting together the pieces of this hard to digest puzzle.
"Just very random killing, and that's the other thing that is making us think that there's a possibility that there could be a link because of the randomness," Cunningham said.
Since Ashby's death Monday night, FBI officials here say they will have to wait on evidence retrieved from that Corolla he was last driving to see if they can connect him to any other murders, but that they are looking into any unsolved murder cases that occurred within the last couple of weeks.