Who Is Ashley Okland? New Details About The 27-Year-Old Real Estate Whose Murder Remains Unsolved

Who killed this young woman?

Who Is Ashley Okland? New Details About The 27-Year-Old Real Estate Who's Murder Remains Unsolved

For those of us who enjoy a good crime documentary, there’s nothing more puzzling than unsolved murders. Following certain cases makes us detectives in our own way, and we sometimes are able to put the pieces together, much like the authorities already trying to solve a crime.

But one murder that has yet to be solved is that of a young woman who was shot twice while showing a model home. Who is Ashley Okland?


In 2011, the 27-year-old realtor was killed in the model home in West Des Moines, Iowa. An employee heard a commotion and went to check, but found Okland on the floor and called 911. Though she was rushed to the hospital, she later passed away.

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Eight years later, police have yet to make any arrests and have no suspects. Her murder was in the news for weeks, though none of the segments led to justice. Authorities have, however, launched a website in which the public can submit tips anonymously about the case.

They also believe this wasn’t a random act.

Lt. James Barrett, a West Des Moines police spokesman, said, “There is no reason to believe this is anything but an isolated incident. However, investigators are still trying to determine a motive and possible suspects in the shooting.” Barrett also revealed that detectives had over 600 leads, had talked to 400 individuals, and received 200 Crime Stoppers tips. They also executed search warrants.

Okland’s mother, Deb Cochran, believes there are some clues as to who killed her daughter. According to her, “I think she knew the person, because there was no struggle. I’m sure she looked up, gave a big smile and probably that was it.”


Her family also indicated that Okland had sent a text message to a friend less than five minutes before she was shot, but it wasn’t a plea for help. Her brother, Josh Okland, said, “Ashley trusted everybody. She was always so positive. It wouldn’t cross her mind to think that someone was not there just to do business.”

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Who killed this young woman? And have they struck again?

Just recently, another realtor received a threatening call, referencing Okland’s murder from 2011. According to Brian Wetz, CEO and team leader for Keller Williams Realty Greater Des Moines, the caller said he drew her business card from a hat and that she’d be part of a gang initiation later in the day.

“The caller said they intended to bring harm to the agent and that they’d be seeing her later in the day. I’ve been an agent for 20 years and this is not even close to the first time where we’ve had something like this happen. Yet, this one was very specifically concerning,” Wentz said.

Could Okland’s murder have been gang-related? Or is it just someone pulling scare tactics?


Though there are no answers for Okland’s family, her community and the Iowa Association of Realtors set up the Ashley Okland Star Playground Project. The playground opened in May 2014.

During a press conference to announce the $100,000 donation from the IAR, her close friend, Jen Stanbrough, said, “Ashley had an amazing gift for making people feel special, welcomed, and included. This is representative of the way Ashley lived; including and welcoming others, and most importantly making sure everyone was having fun! The playground is an awesome way to keep her positive attitude alive and with us all.”

And what a great person Okland was. She often spent her free time volunteering with charities and social organizations. She volunteered at Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Central Iowa, and donated regularly to the Bill Reichardt Clothes Closet, “an organization named after a late Des Moines clothier that provided free clothing to young professionals beginning their careers.”


Though she is gone, she is clearly not forgotten and her family and friends will continue to seek justice while keeping her memory alive.

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Samantha Maffucci is an editor for YourTango who focuses on writing trending news and entertainment pieces. In her free time, you can find her obsessing about cats, wine, and all things Vanderpump Rules.