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44 years have passed since Carolee Ashby was hit by a car. She would be 48 today if she had survived the hit-and-run accident that took her life. Instead, her family has lived with pain since 1968, never knowing who took the 4-year-old’s life. But now, after years of unsettled feelings and mourning, the Ashby’s can finally put a name to the person who killed their child when she was crossing the street in upstate New York.

Douglas Parkhurst was a teenager when he hit Carolee with his 1962 Buick Special. Police officers questioned him about the incident but he never confessed and they never pressed. In 2000 the case was reopened but no further findings came to light, and the case once again fell by the wayside. It wasn’t until last year that a former police lieutenant from the town where Carolee had lived posted to Facebook asking someone to come forward so that the Ashbys could finally find some peace.

That plea led to a woman in Florida who admitted that Parkhurst had asked her to falsify an alibi for him the night that he hit Carolee. Officers back up in New York approached Parkhurst but he did not immediately admit to the crime, despite the fact that the statute of limitations meant that he could not be charged. Finally, after many more police visits, he confessed that he had been drinking and driving the night he hit Carolee.

Carolee’s father and brother died never having closure, but now her mother and sister Darlene have just that. It may have come 44 years too late, but they are grateful.

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