Friends remember Ashley Wallace

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - We're learning more about the frightening final moments just before a Midlothian woman turned up dead in the James River Monday evening. Friends still can't believe that Ashley Wallace is gone...disappearing in just two feet of water.

Friends say Ashley just vanished in minutes. They say she was a strong swimmer, and drowning in two feet of water doesn't make sense.

"My daughter Kaitlin called me screaming and said, 'Mom! You need to come home now! Ashley's dead!'" said Sue Keller.

Standing in front of her house one day later, Ashley Wallace's friends still can't understand why she drowned-- why she won't be coming home.

"She can swim. It wasn't that, you know?" said Mitch Williams who was with Ashley at the river Monday.

"I think it was an accident. I don't think she was so upset that she would want to commit suicide or anything. I don't think she'd do that," said Kaitlin Keller.

But none of them saw what actually happened.

"I kept trying to call her to come out of the water, to come talk to mean she wouldn't and next thing I know 2-3 minutes went by and so she just vanished," Williams said.

"I just think that she swam off and got caught in the current and it dragged her down," Keller added.

Sue Keller wasn't there, but her daughter was. She says there was drinking involved, and wonders if that could have contributed to Ashley's death.

"Drinking and water don't mix and I really feel like this may have been a possibility. I do know that I was told that Ashley was found stuck between a rock, two rocks, face down," Sue Keller said.

But the friends say all that wondering won't change anything.

"It's just hard to accept that she's gone. There's no bringing her back. I just want to say that Ashley will be greatly, greatly, greatly missed and we will never ever forget her. We will never stop loving her," Keller said.

We're told Ashley was a hair dresser, and a helpful woman who would open her house to anyone who needed help. She also had a dog -"Sky"- who friends say is having a hard time realizing her owner isn't coming home.

Officials from the scene say their investigation is closed, that Wallace drowned. A medical examiner tells us exactly how Wallace died has yet to be determined.

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