Ashley Wood, a 13-year-old California girl whose community in Rocklin remembered as a talented gymnast with aspirations to represent the United States in Olympics in a few years, was allegedly killed by her 14-year-old brother under mysterious circumstances on Tuesday morning, according to the police.
It is still not clear why her brother, who has not been named by the police because he is a juvenile, reportedly killed Wood, although initial reports suggested that the young girl died due to blunt-force trauma to her head.
Wood’s brother remains in custody and has not yet been charged by the police, reports the Los Angeles Times. He has currently been taken to the Placer County Probation Juvenile Detention Facility in Auburn.
Rocklin, a small city about 22 miles from Sacramento, is now grieving the loss of this young girl. Police Chief Ron Lawrence, who confirmed that Wood had been discovered dead in her bedroom by her mother on Tuesday, said that the Rocklin community will take a long while to recover from the unexpected loss of the beautiful and gifted child.
“Tuesday was a very dark day for our Rocklin community. On behalf of the Rocklin Police Department, I send our heartfelt condolences to the victim’s family. Words cannot adequately express our deep sorrow for all involved.”
Gail Gurkin, one of Wood’s neighbors, said the crime, and especially the fact that police suspect that her older brother killed her, has caught everyone by surprise.
“I broke down in tears. It’s really sad. It hits close to home.”
Another neighbor, who reportedly stays two doors down from where Ashley Wood used to stay with her family, told a California Fox News affiliate that she called 911 after hearing Wood’s mother yelling for help and screaming “oh my god” early Tuesday morning.
When police arrived on the scene, Wood’s 14-year-old brother ran a mile into a field before officers caught up with him and arrested him for the crime.
Wood’s coach, Lisa Porch, describing Ashley as a talented gymnast and a fierce competitor who was loved by her teammates, said the young girl’s untimely death has rocked everyone who knew her. She said that Wood had a lot of potential and a wonderful career in front of her.
According to KOVR-TV, in her elementary school yearbook, Ashley wrote that in 10 years, she would “be in the Olympics doing gymnastics,” a dream shared by her friends and family members.
While it is not yet sufficiently clear why the 14-year-old allegedly killed his sister, Rocklin Police Capt. Lon Milka told reporters that investigators had examined evidence found in the bedroom, living room, and an area under the home, implying that Ashley might have been involved in a scuffle before her brother — perhaps unintentionally — fatally hit her with a blunt object. The police declined to confirm what weapon was used to kill the young girl.
As can be expected, the 13-year-old’s death under mysterious circumstances has left the entire community shocked, and parents in the neighborhood are left looking for explanations.
Gurkin, who also has a daughter and who was familiar with Ashley Wood, said that she had no other option but to tell her daughter about what she knew about the tragic incident.
“It’s a difficult situation. It’s something you don’t think you’ll ever talk to your child about. I just needed to be honest with her and tell her what’s going.”
Ashley’s death is the first homicide in the quiet little town of Rocklin, which neighbors described as a quiet neighborhood, in more than three years. The young girl might have left the breezy small town forever, but the upbeat, beautiful, and talented Ashley Wood will never be forgotten here.
[Photo by Fotolia/AP Images]