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Courtesy of Jennifer Downs

Courtesy of Jennifer Downs

Ashley Downs, 15, was last seen in Kitchener on Jan. 5.

Parent of missing teen “tortured” by thought of human remains

By Charlotte Prong Parkhill, Kitchener Post staff

When Jennifer Downs opened her door to homicide detectives on Sunday, she thought her worst imaginings had come true.

Downs’s 15-year-old daughter Ashley was last seen on Jan. 5.

The detectives asked Downs whether Ashley had returned home, and if she had a shirt that read “Forget Princess, I want to be a vampire.”

Downs didn’t know, but said if they had a body, she would come and look at it. Police said no.

“The lack of information in the beginning – to have homicide just show up at your house and not give you any information but ask about your missing child, is pretty scary,” Downs said.

At that time, she was unaware of the discovery of female torso, found in a garbage bin on Frederick Street.

After she heard about it on the news, she spent yet another sleepless night.

“Torture. It was absolute torture,” she said.

And then, today, a spot of bright news: police asked her to come to headquarters and provide a blood sample for testing. But they also told her that they don’t believe the body is her daughter’s.

Downs’s friend Kinga Cormier was with her at the station.

“It was good news for us, but it will be bad news for some other family,” she said.

Downs said the homicide detective said the investigation is going in another direction.

“But he doesn’t want to promise anything until the blood comes back. It was quite a relief, I can tell you. I didn’t sleep last night,” she said.

She’s taking this opportunity to raise awareness of her missing child, who she says has issues with drug use. She would, occasionally, stay with an aunt for a week or so, but then would disappear for days at a time.

Ashley was last seen at the bus terminal on Jan. 5.

Downs has one message for her: “We need to know that you’re safe. We need you to come home.”

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