The Gruesome Murder Case of Debbie Ashley
Debbie Ashley was a loving mother and wife, seemingly having it all—a successful career and a wonderful family. However, her seemingly perfect life came to an abrupt halt in 1991 when her mysterious disappearance culminated in tragedy, her body found in the trunk of a car. ‘Betrayed: A Bitter Pill’ by Detective Investigations chronicles the reasons behind Debbie’s brutal murder and how the eventual perpetrator was apprehended. So, if you’ve been wondering what happened to her, we’re here to shed light on it for you!
Debbie’s Childhood and Marriages
Debbie, originally from Atlanta, Georgia, worked as a pharmaceutical representative at the time. Both of her first marriages ended in divorce, but she had a daughter, Amber, from her first marriage. She met her third husband, Larry Ashley, at a gym. They eventually moved to Little Rock, Arkansas, when Larry secured an administrative position at a hospital in the city. The couple had been married for about a year when tragedy struck.
Disappearance and Discovery of Her Body
After a work meeting on April 5, 1991, Debbie went missing without a trace. On April 8, Larry reported the disappearance of his 41-year-old wife. A widespread search ended when her car was found in the long-term parking lot of Little Rock Airport on April 10. Investigators discovered what they believed to be blood and some hair outside the trunk. Inside, Debbie was found deceased, having been shot twice—once in the abdomen and once through the roof of her mouth.
Initial Investigation and Potential Suspects
Initially, the investigation focused on one of Debbie’s ex-husbands and a few others, but all were quickly ruled out. Larry informed the police that Debbie had told him she would drive to Atlanta to visit her daughter, who was there on vacation. As planned, Larry was to pick up Amber from the airport on April 7, but no one heard from or saw Debbie.
Debbie’s coworker stated that the work meeting ended around 10 a.m. on April 5, after which she left. Detectives struggled to find leads. While they found her body just a few days after her last sighting, further motivation for her murder was needed. The program mentions that the driver’s seat in Debbie’s car appeared to be adjusted as if someone taller than the victim had driven it there. Speaking to a security guard at the Ashley family’s residential community, he mentioned seeing Larry drive Debbie’s car and later saw him walking home.
Larry Emerges as the Prime Suspect
Thus, Larry was brought in for questioning again. Investigators also discovered inconsistencies in his alibi. They couldn’t find any records proving he was at the gym during the time Debbie went missing. Later, the 44-year-old man confessed but claimed it was an accidental gunshot. He stated that during an argument on April 5, Debbie’s handgun fell out of her purse. He claimed the gun accidentally fired twice as he picked it up, resulting in Debbie’s death.
Trial and Larry’s Current Whereabouts
During Larry’s trial in October 1991, testimonies and evidence indicated that the gunshot couldn’t have been accidental since the gun barrel had to be in Debbie’s mouth to cause the wound. This contradicted Larry’s version of events. After killing his wife, he transported her body to the airport where the police eventually found it. Larry was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. According to prison records, he remains incarcerated at Grimes Unit in Newport, Arkansas.
Although Larry Ashley was convicted and received a life sentence for the murder of his wife, Debbie Ashley, there are still some unresolved mysteries:
What was the true motive behind the murder? Prosecutors claimed that Larry killed his wife to benefit from her life insurance. However, the financial motive isn’t always crystal clear. Were there any accomplices? Some speculate that Larry couldn’t have executed all the intricate details of the crime alone. There might have been someone aiding him in planning and covering up the crime. Why such a gruesome method of murder? Shooting the victim in the mouth and abdomen could indicate personal vendetta or hatred. But this remains unclear. Were there other potential victims in Larry’s past? Some criminal experts suggest Larry might have committed previous crimes. However, this was never proven.
These questions may never find answers as the sole perpetrator remains silent behind bars. Yet, they continue to make this case uniquely haunting and compelling.