Sex in the Suburbs: The Death of Ashley Burg
At 10:00 a.m. on Monday, August 1, 2005, the heat and humidity were already starting to get oppressive in the Northeast section of Philadelphia. An elderly woman out walking her dog urged her pet to hurry up and do its business so she could get back to her air-conditioned home. She had brought the dog to the edge of an empty lot overgrown with grass and weeds on the 4400 block of Old Red Lion Road. The dog sniffed the ground, but something seemed to be distracting the animal. The woman became annoyed as the dog strained against the leash, seemingly desperate to get to something. The dog was agitated, pulling her along. The woman looked ahead, and that's when she saw what the dog had already sensed. A body.
As the woman moved closer, she nearly gagged on the stench that suddenly filled the motionless air. The dog strained to get closer, but she held on tight to the leash. Sprawled in the weeds was a young blonde wearing nothing but black panties. A thin line of crusted blood ran from her nose to her chin. The girl wasn't moving, and the woman feared the worst.
At 10:14 a.m., the woman called 911 and told the dispatcher what she had found. Paramedics raced to the scene, but the woman's instincts were correct. The girl was dead.
The paramedics delivered the body to the morgue, where technicians discovered a pattern of star impressions on one of her legs. They removed her jewelry, which included a 2007 class ring from Burlington County Institute of Technology, a vocational school across the Delaware River in New Jersey, 16 miles away. The inscription inside the ring revealed the girl's name, Ashley Burg.
But who was she? How did she die? And how did she end up nearly naked in an empty lot?