Gloucester woman still seeking answers after daughter’s death ruled ‘undetermined’ by medical examiner

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GLOUCESTER, Va. (WAVY) — A woman in Gloucester is working to keep her daughter’s memory alive, even though she is still without answers about what happened.

Ashley Cerasole, 20, disappeared last December. Her body was found a month later in a swamp area near the Fox Mill subdivision in Gloucester. Recently, the medical examiner’s office ruled her cause and manner of death to be undetermined.

Ashley’s mother Michelle Rocheleau says she prayed her daughter would come home safe. But dealing with her death without many answers has been the hardest thing she has ever had to do.

“My faith is what got me through this. Because if it wasn’t for God, there’s no way I wouldn’t even be where I’m at,” said Rocheleau.

She said living the past six months without her daughter has been heartbreaking.

“This is like someone just ripping your heart out. You have no idea,” she explained.

The discovery of Ashley’s body about a month after she disappeared was tough enough, but learning this month her cause of death is undetermined by the medical examiner leaves Rocheleau questioning her faith.

“God is capable, more than capable. He could have saved my daughter. Why didn’t he save her? I don’t know. I don’t know… I wrestle with that,” she said.

Now, she is taking her questions to the adult home on Cary Avenue that held her daughter. She says she plans on filing a lawsuit against them.

“They should have called the police immediately when they found out she was missing. They should have called me immediately. She might have had a chance. But she didn’t have a chance. I’ll never see her again,” she said.

The facility declined to comment. 

Rocheleau does have a petition online asking for support of a criminal investigation to help learn more about her daughter’s death. 

The Gloucester County Sheriffs Office said in a statement that there is nothing that suggests a criminal act occurred. They are working with several agencies to review the facts of the case, which is still open as they work to bring closure to her family.

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