by Carol Thompson
A string of telephone calls purported to be from the family of confessed hit-and-run driver Douglas Parkhurst, alleging that his confession was coerced, is being taken seriously by the Fulton Police Department.
“We take it very seriously,” said Fulton Police Sgt. Stephen Lunn.
Since the time of the announcement that Parkhurst had confessed to being the driver of the car that killed four-year-old Carolee Sadie Ashby on Halloween night in 1968, the Ashby family said they have been receiving calls and text messages from people claiming to be family members, alleging that police coerced the confession from Parkhurst and that he did not hit Carolee.
Lunn said of the allegation that suggests the police had illegally obtained the confession is “one that we don’t take lightly.”
Carolee, her sister Darlene, and a cousin had gone to a store on S. Second Street in Fulton to buy candles for Darlene’s birthday cake and Darlene bought Carolee an ice cream cone.
They were headed back home and the cousin had ran ahead and safely crossed the street. As Darlene and Carolee crossed, a car suddenly came upon them and struck Carolee with a force that pulled Carolee’s hand out of Darlene’s hand.
Carolee was dragged or carried 133 feet and left in the road to die. The driver never stopped.
The calls have been disturbing for the Ashby family, coming at a time when they are dealing with the shock of the confession.
Lunn said the family should report the calls to the police, something Darlene Ashby McCann said she will do. They could be considered harassment, Lunn said.
Soon after learning of the confession, the family issued a statement requesting privacy.
The most interesting call allegedly came from Parkhurst himself to a grandson of Carolee’s mother. The caller, according to family members, said that he did not believe he was the driver who hit Carolee.
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