The Murder of Ashley Kline
I actually did the research for this case prior to the last blog that I posted. I had initially skipped over it and debated on putting it together because it seems so cut and dry. This case was open and shut within a year. The two defendants in the case pleaded guilty and received sentences of life, plus forty years. They did so to avoid going to trial and the possibility of receiving the death penalty. But, unlike so many other cases that involve plea deals nothing was really discovered from the defendants. While the law does not require a prosecutor to present a motive for a crime to a jury, whether a case goes to court or not, we all want to know why. We want to know what motivated the killers to act. We want to know just what possessed them to do such things. All too often those motives are petty that revolve around jealously or greed and really do nothing to alleviate the crime or the grief of surviving victims, but, we still want to hear it. But, as I said, that is not the case here and without so many details I had refrained from posting this story. However, it was an especially senseless and vicious crime that not only do I think the story needs to be told but the victim needs to be remembered or known even if it is for such a heinous portion of her life.
On December 30, 2013 twenty-three year old Ashley Kline left with her friend Ryan Schannauer and his friend, Adam Lynch. Ryan's mother and Ashley's mother had once been best friends and the two had known each other practically all their lives. According to Ashley's aunt, despite being twenty-three, Ashley had been “damaged” by lead poisoning as a child and it had resulted in the adult woman having the mentality of basically a teenager. She was often described as very naive and trusting and while I agree that is obviously important in knowing in order to know Ashley, I am unsure just how much of a role in her murder that it played. I am not saying that her mentality did not allow her to be manipulated easier, because I am sure that it did, but in the same respect she and Ryan were friends. Even her family felt he was trust worthy at the time and no one else claims to have a lower mentality such as Ashley.
When Ashley failed to return to her Robesonia Pennsylvania home her father was worried and called the police. Ryan was interviewed but he would claim that he had dropped her off and it appears that no one seemed really suspicious of him, except maybe investigators. Large scale search parties were formed but it was not until January 12, 2014 when two hikers discovered Ashley's burned body that things began to fall into place.
On January 15, 2014 Ryan Schannauer and Adam Lynch were arrested. They would be charged with murder, arson, kidnapping, and the abuse of a corpse among other things. An autopsy would reveal that Ashley had been beaten and stabbed and then burned while she was still alive. Over the course of nearly the next year both Schannauer and Lynch were asked repeatedly what their motive behind the murder was but neither would say. In fact, they would continue to claim they had no idea why they had murdered her and each blamed the other for the stabbing.
Investigators would come to believe that Ashley had left with the two men believing that they were going to watch a movie together. However, instead of seeing or watching a movie the men drove around for a while with Ashley, later stopping in what was described as a “wildlife” area where they would drag her from the vehicle. She would be beaten then, likely so they could keep control of her while she was also repeatedly stabbed in the back. Ashley would then be doused with gasoline and set on fire while she was still breathing. Investigators believe that on January 8th the men returned to the area and burnt her body more.
In December 2014 both men would plead guilty and take their sentences without ever speaking as to their reasoning. Ashley's father would later say he believed that Ryan was upset over Ashley rejecting him romantically but there seemed to be no evidence really to prove this or point in that direction. Both of the men had prior records but nothing seemed very serious. Lynch had previously been arrested for what was described as “theft and robbery” and while those can be serious crimes the indication was that they appeared to be minor. As far as Ryan Schannauer he had a minor drug arrest and a charge of receiving stolen property, again, appearing to be minor crimes. It appears that neither man will likely ever talk about the motive behind the heinous death of Ashley Kline unless for some reason one of them appears to grow a conscious. While their sentences all but ensure they will never get out of prison a motive would be nice to hear.