An 18-year-old Colorado boy charged with murdering his ex-girlfriend shot the girl twice in the head because he was upset she had ended their year-long relationship, police said.
Ashley Marie Doolittle, 18, was reported missing by her family after she failed to make it home to her parents’ Berthoud house by 7:30 p.m. June 9, the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office said.
Family members searching for Doolitte found her car abandoned near the Lon Hagler reservoir and told police that she had recently broken up with her boyfriend of one year, Tanner Flores, authorities said.
Flores had not been heard from in the four hours before Doolittle was reported missing and had been upset over the breakup, relatives told police.
“Tanner’s friends stated that they had never seen Tanner so depressed,” an affidavit for arrest said.
Several of his friends said Flores had sent them a Snapchat message on June 8 that was suicidal in nature, the court document said.
Investigators said they believed Flores may be armed, as the teen’s father said that his .22-caliber revolver was missing from a locked gun cabinet that his son knew about.
A neighbor of Tanner’s late grandfather reported to authorities seeing a man who she believed to be Flores pulling a bundled-up blanket from the backseat of a white truck, with what appeared to be an arm dangling from it. He set the heap on the ground before putting it back in the truck, the affidavit said.
Police on June 10 found Doolitte’s body not far from where her car was left. The Berthoud High School graduate had died from a gunshot wound to the head, authorities said.
Flores and his vehicle were also found nearby. He was arrested and charged with first-degree murder, kidnapping and using a weapon to commit a violent crime, records show.
Flores allegedly told police he shot Doolittle twice in the head "because he is angry with her," the affidavit said. He allegedly went on to clean Doolittle's body before putting her in the truck.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Ashley’s family, friends, and everyone affected by this tragic case,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.
Flores and Doolittle had dated for a little over one year when she ended things, according to reports.
“You know you’re lucky when you find someone who makes you happy and get to call them yours,” Doolittle wrote in a September Facebook post.
“Gorgeous babe, I love you,” Flores commented on a photo of Doolittle in May.
Loved ones took to social media after Doolittle’s death to express their grief.
“Ashley Doolittle was an incredible person — friend to all, talented and smart, a wonderful horsewoman, and an extraordinary young lady. She was taken from us far too soon,” one person wrote on a GoFundMe page created to help the family with expenses.
An accomplished equestrian, Doolittle “had been a member of Boulder County 4-H for eight years where her love of horses showed with her involvement in the horse project, horse judging, horse bowl and hippology teams,” her obituary said.
She began riding horses when she was 5 years old and went on to become a skilled rider and competitor, loved ones said.
Doolittle was chosen to serve as the 2016 Boulder County Fair Rodeo Queen Lady-in-Waiting, the organization said, calling her “a blessing to this program.”
“Her legacy as 2017 Boulder County Fair and Rodeo Queen will live on forever,” they continued. “Please continue to pray for her family and encourage everyone to remember her as a great role model and ambassador for the sport we love so much.”
Doolittle planned to turn her passion of educating others about agriculture and the western lifestyle into a career when she began school at Colorado State University in the fall, her obituary said.
“Ashley had a smile that made everyone feel special,” it said. “She truly reflected God’s love to all she came in contact with and she was an inspiration and role model to each person she encountered.
“She lived life to the fullest and lit up the world with her enthusiasm for life,” it continued. “Ashley will continue to live in the hearts of everyone that knew her.”