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Mothers Seek Closure in Kalamazoo Woman's "Horrific" 2018 Murder, Dismemberment
A man and his parents were arrested in connection to the murder of 31-year-old student Ashley Young following a grisly find in a Grand Rapids apartment.
Two women hope to find the missing remains of their daughter, whose 2018 disappearance and murder led to the arrests of a male friend and his parents.
Thirty-one-year-old Ashley Young had big plans for her future, according to her mother, Kristine Young, and stepmother, Dana Nelson. The Kalamazoo, Michigan, native worked nights at a bank call center, studying language at the local community college to pursue her dreams of one day becoming an interpreter.
“Ashley was just loveable and joyful,” Nelson told Final Moments, airing Sundays at 7/6c on Oxygen.
Since age 24, Ashley had been in a romantic relationship with Moody Farran, though in 2018, Ashley decided she wanted to break things off.
“She had never really dated or been with anyone until Moody, and he was her first love,” said friend Samantha Hunt. “She adored him, and he adored her, and it was just like a little fairy tale.”
On November 18, 2018, Kristine helped her daughter pack her things to leave her and Moody’s once-shared apartment.
“Ashley was beyond ecstatic about getting this apartment,” said Kristine. “Talking to her, you would have thought she was winning a million dollars… That was the last time that I saw Ashley.”
On Nov. 28 — the night before Ashley was due to meet her mother and sign the new lease — Ashley texted her mother, stating she was “almost to her destination,” but never revealed where she was going.
Ashley failed to arrive the next day to sign the new lease.
Ashley Young Disappears
Ashley’s parents first turned to Farran, hoping to glean information about where Ashley might be. But it seemed Farran was just as concerned as everyone else looking for Ashley, according to Ashley’s long-time stepmother.
“Moody was right there with us, looking for her, and he was so hurt and so upset,” Nelson told Final Moments. “Moody loved her, and I knew she loved him, too.”
Farran’s whereabouts on Nov. 28 quickly checked out, and he was not considered a person of interest.
Desperate and panic-stricken, Kristine took to Facebook, appealing to the public about her daughter’s disappearance. Looking at Ashley’s online activity, she found Ashley was recently corresponding with Jared Chance, someone with whom Ashley was previously acquainted.
Chance and Ashley were friends about six years earlier, though he wasn’t in the picture until recently, according to Hunt. Hunt said Chance was “really reaching out” in recent weeks.
“They started talking more and more, and then Jared called her because he needed a ride home, and so she went and helped him,” said Hunt. “And so, then he wanted to take her out as a thank you.”
Ashley admitted to Hunt that she had feelings for Chance, making it possible that they could have been in the early stages of a romantic relationship following Ashley’s and Farran’s separation. Ashley also left a voicemail with another friend, explaining she planned to meet Chance on the night of her disappearance.
“I know that if he was my boyfriend and he actually, like, was in love with me, I know he would be amazing,” Ashley said in the voicemail obtained by Final Moments. “I cannot wait to see him on Wednesday.”
With no evidence of a crime being committed, police could not initially help in the search for Ashley, leaving Kristine and Nelson to take matters into their own hands.
Ashley’s mother called Chance, who lived about 50 miles north in Grand Rapids, and Chance admitted that on the night of Nov. 28, he and Ashley went to the local Mulligan’s Pub before going their separate ways. Next, the determined mothers drove to Grand Rapids in search of answers.
On Nov. 30, 2018, a Mulligan’s Pub bartender allowed Kristine and Nelson to review video footage from the bar.
“You could see Jared and Ashley wandering around the bar,” Kristine told Final Moments. “She ordered a drink; she’s smiling, she’s laughing, she’s being Ashley.”
The video, however, did not show Ashley and Jared leaving the bar.
“We just went driving around Grand Rapids looking for Ashley,” explained Nelson. “We walked down railroad tracks, we poked around ponds, lakes…”
Desperate to find their daughter, Kristine called Chance once more. This time, he said he saw Ashley speaking with a friend named Demetreis Taylor. However, when the determined mothers paid Taylor a visit, he revealed that he’d just received texts from Chance, pleading with him to lie to the women and say he was with Ashley on the night of Nov. 28.
Kristine and Nelson then left for Chance’s Grand Rapids apartment.
A gruesome find on Franklin Street
Meanwhile, single father Mario Nelson (no relation to Dana Nelson) and his girlfriend noticed a bad smell at his Franklin Street apartment in downtown Grand Rapids. He figured there were dead mice in the wall until he went to the basement to retrieve his cat.
“As I go down the stairs, I see a tarp on the floor,” Mario told Final Moments. “That’s when I see blood.”
Final Moments obtained the 9-1-1 call and subsequent bodycam footage of responding officers, showing officials navigating through the unlit basement to find a body without its arms, legs, and head, according to Detective John Purlee of the Grand Rapids Police Department.
“I remember thinking, ‘Who are we dealing with here?’” Purlee said. “’What kind of animal does this to a person?’”
It wasn’t long before authorities realized that an upstairs occupant at the Franklin Street address was none other than Jared Chance. Around this time, Kristine and Nelson arrived with plans to speak with Chance, finding significant police presence at the apartment.
Without official confirmation that Ashley Young was dead, the mothers still held out hope.
Inside the residence, C.S.I. Supervisor Karen Curtiss of the Kent County Sheriff’s Office found a large brown stain on the second-level kitchen, as well as a missing shower curtain. Two spent .22-caliber rounds were also found in an air vent, and on the stairwell, a box containing a garbage bag that held more human remains: legs without their feet and arms without their hands.
“I see a lot of death. All methods, but this one stands out in my career as a horrific scene,” Curtiss told Final Moments, adding that “a lot of areas” around the apartment tested positive for blood, as though someone tried to clean up unsuccessfully.
Jared Chance charged, but not for murder
Chance was taken to police headquarters for questioning but requested a lawyer before being charged with mutilation of a body and concealing a crime. Hoping to hit him with murder charges, detectives tried creating a timeline around Ashley’s disappearance.
Police discovered surveillance footage from the early morning hours of Nov. 29, 2018, capturing the moments Chance walked away from Mulligan’s Pub and Ashley following not far behind.
“It was crucial in trying to pinpoint what her final moments were,” said Det. Purlee.
Det. Purlee also found “really crucial” surveillance video from a store across the street from Chance’s Franklin Street apartment. On the tape — obtained by Final Moments — Chance could be seen purchasing ammonia and alcohol.
The suspect was also observed discarding items in a garbage can outside the store, and a subsequent search of the dumpster by police revealed Ashley’s purse had been thrown away.
Days later, blood from Chance’s apartment was identified as belonging to Ashley, whose head, hands, and feet were still not recovered.
“I never thought anyone could bring that much pain to so many people,” Kristine told Final Moments. “I just want to know where the rest of Ashley is. I want to bring her home.”
Barbara and James Chance arrested
Jared Chance’s cell phone data helped detectives construct a clearer picture of his movements around the time of Ashley’s presumed murder. Records showed that Chance’s phone traveled to Holland, Michigan — about 30 miles southwest of Grand Rapids — where Chance’s parents, James and Barbara Chance, lived.
James Chance, a retired police officer, and his wife weren’t the most forthcoming, according to Det. Purlee, and on December 5, 2018, police obtained a search warrant for the parents’ home. Investigators found a bloody shower curtain and traces of blood inside a Honda CR-V in the garage.
Inside the home, they found a Sawzall reciprocating saw.
“There was tissue observed on the blade,” Curtiss told Final Moments.
In what Det. Purlee called a “shocking revelation,” both parents were charged with accessory after the fact to a felony and mutilation of a body. Jared was charged with murder on top of his previous charges.
“We learned that [Mr. and Mrs. Chance] drove to Grand Rapids on Saturday, Dec. 1; Jared loaded some boxes into their Honda,” said Det. Purlee. “Jared got in the car, and they proceeded then to return to Holland.”
Ashley’s head, hands, and feet have never been found.
The Conviction of Jared Chance
Detective Purlee found Chance to be “a person prone to violence” and “unpredictable,” someone capable of killing Ashley. The suspect reportedly displayed disturbing behaviors and struggled to hold down employment.
But why he would want to hurt Ashley remained a mystery.
“Ashley believed there’s always good in everyone, but what she didn’t realize is that there’s not always good in everyone,” said an emotional Kristine, who believes Chance possibly killed Ashley after she rebuffed his advances.
The murder trial began on September 10, 2019, and Chance showed no emotion during the proceedings. Just three days later, he was convicted of second-degree murder and a host of other charges in connection to Ashley’s homicide and sentenced to 100 to 200 years behind bars.
Per a video obtained by Final Moments, Kristine Young gave a heartbreaking and emotional victims impact statement during sentencing, screaming at her daughter’s killer.
“Jared Chance, I hate you,” Kristine said. “I ought to rip you limb from limb.”
Meanwhile, Barbara Chance pleaded no contest and served 45 days behind bars. James Chance took his case to trial, and though he was acquitted of perjury, he was found guilty of accessory after the fact to a felony and received one year of probation.
“If they would tell us where the rest of Ashley is, we could bring her home,” said Kristine. “They owe that to her family; they owe that to her friends.”
Watch all-new episodes of Final Moments, airing Sundays at 7/6c on Oxygen.