Ashley Summers: Search For Missing Ohio Girl

Ashley Summers: Search For Missing Ohio Girl

Hopes have been raised for the family of another missing girl in Cleveland, Ohio, after three others were rescued from a house in the city.

Ashley Summers was 14 years old when she was reported missing in 2007 in the same neighbourhood from where two of the three women found on Monday - Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus - had vanished.

Michelle Knight, Miss Berry and Miss DeJesus were abducted separately in 2002, 2003 and 2004 when they were 20, 16 and 14 respectively.

The trio, along with a young girl believed to be Miss Berry's six-year-old daughter, were found in reportedly squalid conditions at a house in the west side of Cleveland.

Three brothers, Pedro, Ariel and Onil Castro, were subsequently arrested and remain in custody pending charges.

Ashley's family is hoping the investigation into the three women allegedly held captive by the brothers will lead to information about her.

"We're hoping that it's connected, and they knew where she was," her aunt Debra Summers told CNN. "We're hoping for a miracle."

At first, authorities believed Ashley had run away from home after an argument with a relative.

However, by 2008 the FBI and law enforcement officials suspected she was possibly being held against her will and classed her as an "endangered juvenile".

The following year FBI agents suspected a possible connection between the disappearance of Miss Summers and those of Miss Berry and Miss DeJesus.

Investigators thought all three girls had been kidnapped by the same man, then-FBI spokesman Scott Wilson said.

The names Berry, DeJesus and Ashley then came up in a Cleveland police training session in August 2010. Instructor George Kwan held up their photographs after his lecture about human trafficking.

"What do they have in common?" he said. "They are all attractive, they are all between the ages of 14 and 17, and they are all gone."

Ashley's physical appearance and the proximity of her home to the other disappearances meant investigators had to suspect the cases were linked, said FBI Agent Vicki Anderson.

And investigators continue to hold onto those suspicions as they search and gather evidence at the home in Seymore Avenue.

"We are keeping Ashley in our thoughts as we go every step of the way," Agent Anderson said.

"Whether it is something we find at the house, or someone seeing the stories remembers something, we continue our search for Ashley."

Investigators will speak to the three discovered women to see if they know anything about Miss Summers' disappearance, she added.