Ashley's Story

On June 9, 2016, my daughter, Ashley Doolittle was shot three times in the head by her ex-boyfriend just three weeks after her 18th birthday and graduation from Berthoud High School. She was a victim of teen dating violence or more specifically, break-up violence.

I had always worried about Ashley getting in a car accident, or getting hurt riding horses or in other activities that she enjoyed doing. I didn't know then what I know now—that 1 in 3 US teens ages 14-20 have been victims of teen dating violence and young women in Ashley's age group are at a 3x greater risk for being in an abusive relationship than any other demographic.

Ashley was born and raised in Colorado. Prior to moving to Berthoud, Ashley grew up in Lafayette and attended Louisville Middle School and Centaurus High School through her sophomore year. Ashley was a good student and was involved in many activities outside of school. Ashley always said, "horses are my life". We had just built a new home in Loveland where she could enjoy time with her horses. She loved her horses and the western way of life. She began riding at the age of 5 and at the time of her death she had become a very accomplished rider, winning many championships while in Boulder County 4-H. She was also involved in horse judging competition and was named Champion Individual Overall at the 2014 Western National 4-H Horse Roundup. She found her love of agriculture after helping to start the Thompson FFA Chapter and being active in FFA while at Berthoud. Her plans were to continue her work with FFA at the State level. Ashley was named the 2016 Boulder County Fair and Rodeo Lady-in-Waiting and posthumously crowned 2017 Queen at the rodeo in July 2016. She was an inspiration to the young children who met her.

If you knew Ashley, you would remember her big smile. Ashley was happy, funny, kind, humble, hardworking and full of life. She saw the good in everyone and was always there to offer a helping hand. She was so excited when she received news of her acceptance into the Agriculture Business program at Colorado State University in the Fall of 2016. She had her whole life ahead of her, and then in an instant it was all taken away.

In March 2017, I founded the Ashley Doolittle Foundation to honor Ashley's memory. I wanted to help others avoid the devastating loss that our family endured. Our Foundation is dedicated to raising awareness and prevention of teen dating violence by educating young people and parents and creating conversation about an issue that is often not recognized. We believe if anyone in Ashley's life had understood the signs of an unhealthy and increasingly dangerous, abusive relationship, steps could have been taken to save her life. While we can't bring Ashley back or take away the pain we feel from her loss, we can keep Ashley's memory alive and help others avoid the same loss. Please do what you can to educate yourself on this growing issue, it can happen to anyone!

Ashley's Mom