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The Ashley-Crouse puzzle: Crucial pieces are missing

December 11, 2011

This week a mysterious tragedy has engulfed the New River Valley like  a chilly, damp fog.   Many troubling questions lie beneath the surface of Ross Ashley’s desperate choices;  now is a good  time to apply Occum’s Razor.  Is everyone familiar with the theory?

The  best explanation is the one that is simplest.

I don’t know why Ross Ashley decided to steal a vehicle, but my gut says there was a specific reason the white Mercedes became the target.     Did he like the just like the color or was there an additional attraction to the location itself?

Not exactly  inconspicuous.  I’m sure there were other, safer targets between points A and B.   Who else is scratching their head over this first strange decision?  The commission of  armed theft at a location someone likely would recognize him?   College student generally speaking, aren’t known for exercising an abundence of prudent caution.  A bit of looking around and Ashley  might of found a vehicle conveniently  idling… a softer target at the very least.

 Ross Ashley wasn’t stupid. On the contrary, he  made the Dean’s list in 2008 while attending UVA.   Whether insane, sociopathic, or just  ‘a piece of cheese which slipped off  it’s cracker’  are matters for debate… but a lack of intellect?  No.   I believe  Ross Ashley had  a plan and additional  incentive behind his selection of   Gilbert Realty for the carjacking.  Whatever his reasons, they went beyond  a  taste for fancy automobiles.

Next, I don’t understand his choice in parking locations or how he managed to leave it on ‘the Smart Road.’  I’d like to take a moment and zoom in on one particular interesting tidbit regarding same (courtey of the Collegiate Times).


So much for limited access.        Was that his intended destination?

How did he get past the gate?

Either Ross Ashley doesn’t mind long walks under pressure… or got a ride.  If so, from who?

These are all elements, missing pieces necessary to help answer the biggest question of all:   Why shoot Officer Deriek Crouse?  If someone out there can help me filling the blanks, I’d really appreciate it.

One quick note of mention before closing:

A friend of  Ross Ashley has come forward, stating that Ashley has had the gun for sometime and would occasionally visit the Pandapas Pond shooting range…. but not lately.  His friend (requesting  anonymity) stated Ross Ashley’s visits to the range had become less frequent, having run out of bullets and being  short on money.     That strikes me as rather odd, Ross Ashley coming from  affluent means.  His father even has a Cessna registered to him (presumably as the plane’s owner.)  An occasional  box of bullets isnt that expensive of a luxury item.    Perhaps Ross Ashley had a falling out with his folks, and started looking for ways to make some quick cash?

To be continued:


  1. Lex parsimoniae — the theory with the fewest assumptions — is another way of stating Occam’s Razor. I think that’s what I like about fact-based crime writing instead of the wild theories that fill most of what you read online. Most of them make way, way too many assumptions! it will be interesting to follow this story and see how many of the wild assumptions need to be tossed before the story begins to make sense.


    This gossip site, as well as some news sources are starting to hint that there were indeed some family troubles (along with financial issues) involved. But why hei chose to steal a vehicle (from the location that he chose), drive to Virginia Tech, and shoot a police officer remains a mystery.


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