Ashley Reeves – Strangled Three Times, Survived 30 Hours Between Life And Death

Ashley Reeves is a name in the United States that serves as a precautionary story. She miraculously survived 30 horrific hours between life and death. Ashley was a victim of crime in April 2006, but …


Ashley Reeves is a name in the United States that serves as a precautionary story. She miraculously survived 30 horrific hours between life and death. Ashley was a victim of crime in April 2006, but her name still rings a bell.

Her story of attempted murder was part of the Lifetime Real Story: Left for Dead: The Ashley Reeves Story. When you look at her, she was an outstanding student, a good basketball player, and had a loving family. It remains a mystery how she would be drawn into the vulnerability to be involved with a teacher who wanted to ruin her.

The Lifetime story tries to explain the question.

Quick Bio

Born in 1989 in Belleville, Illinois, she is in her 30s now. Her mother is Michelle Reeves and her father is Tracy Green Koenig. Her parents raised her in the city of Belleville, alongside her siblings.

According to reports, she has a sibling named Madison Koenig and a brother Daniel Koenig. She went to elementary school in her town, then to high school, and eventually college.

Who Was Sam Shelton?

Sam Shelton is the name associated with Ashley Reeves. He was her teacher when she was in the seventh grade. Sam was a gym coach and a pro wrestler.

Sam was able to work his magic on Ashley, in the same way, he did it on all the girls. His standard line was to tell young girls they are special. But he worked specifically on Ashley, and he got more emotional validation from her family.

In the Lifetime movie, we see how his manipulative acts and the appearance of an upset stomach made Ashley come to his house and help him. There and then, they become intimate.

What Happened To Ashley Reeves?

As we said before, Ashley Reeves is a crime victim. She survived an attempted first-degree murder of her instructor in 2006. She was strangled, and her body was left in a park in Belleville. Her battle for life lasted for more than 30 hours and was finally able to pull through. Strangled three times and left for dead, it is a miracle how she survived.

The police found the 17-year-old Ashley on April 28, 2006, in the woods covered in insect bites, freezing, and with a broken neck. Initially, they believed she was dead. But then, she moved. But let’s go back to the beginning and explain what happened to the poor girl.

On Thursday, April 27, the young girl told her parents she was going to a job interview in Fairview Heights. That city was 20 minutes away from home, and she told them she would play basketball after and get back home by her 10 pm curfew.

Carrying a change of clothes, she left for the interview at 3:30 pm in the car of her boyfriend Jeremy. By 10:30 pm, curfew had come and gone, but there was no sign of Ashley. Her mother Michelle asked her daughter Casey if she had talked to Ashley, but that wasn’t the case. They called her several times and left multiple messages, but she never responded. Her mother then called Sheriff’s Office.

In the beginning, officers believed Ashley was out with friends and lost track of time. But eight hours into the investigation, they found Jeremy’s car abandoned in Laderman Park, Belleville. They found her bag inside, containing the clothes she would need for basketball. They quickly realized this wasn’t a typical case of a rebellious act, but a missing person investigation.

Next, they brought Jeremy in for questioning. He was the last to see her and gave her the car, but the evidence suggested he had no part in the disappearance. They began questioning why she would go to play basketball at a park far away from home when there was one right next to her home. So, they rationalized she went to meet someone.

Ashley’s mother called the phone company and because Ashley was 17 years old, her mother could access her phone records. She and the police went through the records and quickly realized there were several calls from the number connected with Samson Shelton.

She called him and asked whether he had seen or heard from Ashley. He said no, and hung up the phone. Ashley’s friends told detectives she was romantically involved with an older man, and she had plans to meet him the day she went missing. That man was Samson Shelton. Some of his female students referred to him as the cute teacher.

He was her teacher in seventh grade in 2001, but reconnected in February 2006, two months before she went missing. They would meet near Laderman Park, near where detectives found the abandoned vehicle.

When police questioned him, he maintained that their relationship was strictly platonic. When confronted with statements from her friends, he changed his story trying to victimize himself. Samson told them Ashley had become fascinated with him, painting the picture of an obsessed teen with a crush.

Several hours into the interrogation, he confirmed he had sex with Ashley and was with his former student the day she went missing. According to his story, they were driving when they got into an argument because he wanted to end the relationship. Ashley screamed at him, and he pulled over and told her to get out of the car.

He insisted she was alive when he last saw her, but there was no way he would have hurt her. Yet, hours later, he described in cold and disturbing detail what he had done to Ashley and where he left her to die.

According to his confession, he pulled Ashley out of his vehicle, left her on the side of the road, put the teen in a chokehold, and dragged her out of his car. He heard a loud pop and Ashley went limp. He realized he had snapped her neck, panicked, and pulled her into the woods. There, he strangled her with his bare hands.

When Samson realized she was still breathing, he strangled her with his belt. After the belt broke, he choked her for the third and final time with his hands, took off, and left her to die.

Surprisingly, the young girl survived the torture and everything that happened to her. For 30 horrific hours, she was between life and death.

Where Is Sam Shelton Now?

Even though he had admitted the crime, he was discharged on bail and placed under house arrest. Before he was to face trial, the police reacted to an attempted suicide call made from his home.

At that point, a district judge questioned his mental well-being. Following a month of medical evaluation, he was officially discovered to be mentally fit to stand trial.

Yet, Ashley’s family decided they did not want to put her through another suffering by retelling the story of the brutal attack. They signed off a plea deal, and Samson accepted it. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Samson’s projected parole date is April 22, 2024. He remains imprisoned at the medium-security Hill Correctional Center in Galesburg. While he can qualify for parole in the spring of 2024, his projected discharge date is April 22, 2027.

Whether he will be released in 2024 or 2027, we will wait and see. In any case, he and Ashley serve as a reminder of a relationship between teacher and student gone wrong.

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