Facebook Post Solves Decades Old Hit-And-Run Death

Melissa Stusinski

A Facebook post helped solve the decades old hit-and-run death of four-year-old Carolee Sadie Ashby. The young girl's family spent 45 years wondering who was driving the car that fatally struck her.

Finally, a retired detective's Facebook post helped authorities find the answer. They say that a man who misled them when questioned about the girl's death in 1968 held the secret for more than four decades.

The driver of that car was Douglas Parkhurst, 62, or Oswego, New York. Authorities say Parkhurst failed to stop after hitting Carolee on a street in her upstate New York hometown Halloween night 1968.

Despite the fact that the statute of limitations to charge Parkhurst has expired, the young girl's family finally has some closure. Carolee Ashby, her sister, and a cousin were returning from a neighborhood store where they just bought candles when the four-year-old was hit.

She was the only one injured and later passed away from those injuries. Authorities questioned Parkhurst at the time after they discovered he was in an accident that same night. But while the then-17-year-old confirmed the accident happened, he claimed it occurred in nearby Volney.

While police could not match the damage on his vehicle to a guard post he claimed to have hit, they did not question him again. Because of Parkhurst's lie, the mystery continued for 45 years. Police continued to check out hundreds of leads and reopened the case in 2000.

Finally, they got a break early last year when retired Fulton police Lieutenant Russ Johnson posted details of the case on a local history Facebook page. A former resident of Fulton came forward with new information. She claimed that she was approached by a member of the Parkhurst family soon after the accident.

They tried to bribe her into saying she was with Parkhurst and his brother on Halloween night 1968. She refused and was never told why the family wanted her alibi. However, she assumed it was related to the hit and run death of Carolee Ashby. Because of the unidentified woman's new information, investigators went to Parkhurst's home to question him again.

He let investigators into his home several times. Over the course of the interviews, police learned that Parkhurst was drinking beer the night of the accident. He was driving through Fulton with his brother passed out in the backseat when he ran into something. Parkhurst told the investigators that he initially believed it to be an animal and left the scene.

Later on, he discovered it was little Carolee. He also admitted to lying to police when questioned in 1968 about the accident. While Parkhurst will never be charged in the hit and run death of Carolee Sadie Ashby, the young girl's family can finally find peace knowing exactly what happened.