Janine O’Neill is a former prosecutor for the Clackamas County District Attorney’s Office and the Oregon Department of Justice. She covered the case of the missing girls as a reporter for the Portland Tribune. She is also the former executive director of the Oregon Crime Victims Law Center. She lives in Portland with her husband.

Title by Janine O’Neill

  • by Janine O’Neill

    On January 9, 2002, twelve-year-old Ashley Pond left her family’s apartment in Oregon City, Oregon, to catch her bus to school. She vanished.

    Ashley loved her single-parent mother, but she hated her drinking, and the father figures in her life had come and gone. So she had learned to rely on her friends.

    Recently, however, things had become complicated: when she disappeared, many people believed she’d simply run away.

    But Janine O’Neill had prosecuted crimes against children in Oregon City for seven years. She knew, with absolute certainty, that a twelve-year-old in that community would never vanish unless something had gone terribly wrong.

    Then, another girl vanished, and the son of a self-proclaimed serial killer identified himself as the prime suspect in both disappearances. O’Neill became obsessed with the story—so obsessed she eventually quit her fulltime job and set off on a multistate search into the past with one overriding question: Could anything be scarier than what the public believed had happened to these girls?

    The answer, she learned, was yes.