Ashley Nicole Summers grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, with much of her extended family. Being that she was the eldest sibling, she took on a caretaker role and looked after her younger siblings while her mother, Jennifer Summers, went to work.
Ashley’s loved ones recalled how, as a child, she enjoyed acting a bit silly and making people laugh. She was also known to be outgoing and a scary movie enthusiast.
Since Ashley’s biological father was not a part of her life, she primarily grew up surrounded by her mom’s large extended family.
Just before her 14th birthday, though, her family members noticed a pretty significant change in her personality. Ashley went from being a fun-loving kid to acting oppositional. This was especially true toward her mom, Jennifer, and Jennifer’s long-term boyfriend, who had helped raise Ashley.
And around the same time, Ashley also entered a relationship with a 16-year-old boy named Gene. Gene lived close to Ashley’s home, so while Ashley watched her younger siblings, she would often invite her boyfriend over without telling her mom.
This went on for a while, and Jennifer only found out about her daughter’s secret after one of Ashley’s brothers informed her. At that point, Jennifer was furious to learn what had been going on behind her back and decided to prohibit Gene from visiting their home.
But, the punishment just pushed tensions to increase. Then, the situation finally came to a head after Jennifer learned that her daughter had taken money from her purse in order to get a tattoo of Gene’s name.
At that point, Jennifer took action in hopes of diffusing tensions and mitigating conflict in her relationship with Ashley. More specifically, Ashley’s grandmother– who only lived about four miles away– was asked to take her in for the summer.
Jennifer believed this new arrangement would keep Ashley on her best behavior. Plus, she hoped that getting some space from each other would salvage their strained relationship.