Ward Weaver: Like Father, Like Son
Miranda Gaddis, headstrong and opinionated, was born November 18, 1988, in Oregon City and had lived in the area most of her young life. A pretty girl, she had aspirations of becoming a model. Although outgoing and friendly, Miranda, like her friend Ashley, had also been a victim of sexual abuse at a young age and she knew the trauma and depths of degradation that her friend had been put through. Her biological father, like Ashley's, had gotten into trouble with the law for sex crimes. Her father had served 19 months in prison on six counts of rape and for custodial interference involving underage girls in 1994. His crimes, however, had not involved Miranda.
However, Miranda's mother had found a new boyfriend shortly after the trouble with Miranda's biological father. The new boyfriend had completed the tenth grade, but hadn't learned how to read. Unlike Miranda's father, the boyfriend had sexually abused Miranda along with two other girls. He was indicted in 1999 on 22 counts of sexual abuse involving Miranda and the other two girls, and was eventually convicted of three counts of abuse and one count of criminal mistreatment and sent to prison. Perhaps in part because of what had happened to her, Miranda didn't hesitate about coming forward to provide to the police much of what she knew about Ashley's sexual abuse. Even though the information was useful, it had not seemed, at least at the time, to have brought the task force any closer to solving the matter of Ashley's disappearance.
Miranda and Ashley, who rode the bus together and were in the same dance class at school, had become close friends, and Ashley had often told Miranda details of her personal problems, which were numerous. Among the things that Ashley had told Miranda were details of the allegations she had made against her biological father and Weaver. She also claimed to have been sexually abused by two other adults who remained unnamed. Perhaps more significant was the fact that Ashley, just prior to her disappearance, had told Miranda and others, including her mother and one of her teachers, that it had been during the two-week trip to California in August 2001 that Weaver had raped her.
Miranda, like Ashley, had been friends with Weaver's daughter. The police would eventually piece together information indicating that Miranda, shortly after spending the night at the Weaver house for his 11-year-old daughter's birthday party, had also told others some of the details that Ashley had confided to her about Weaver. Word traveled fast, and by the end of February 2002, it was all over the school that Weaver had raped Ashley. It was an understatement to say that Weaver's daughter was embarrassed and had been ostracized by her classmates, a tough position for an 11-year-old to be placed in, to the point that some days she didn't want to go to school. Word had it that Weaver was furious about the things that were being said about him.
One of Weaver's ex-wives told the police that he was a "really aggressive person," and she suggested that when things did not go his way, he was quick at finding "another way to take things out."