DEVELOPING STORY- Des Moines Police, “We think that it’s a Realtor”:
Shocking news of a murder in a model home
Investigators have been at the crime scene and have been canvassing the neighborhood since Friday afternoon after Ashley Okland, a 27 year old Realtor with Iowa Realty was fatally shot in the chest and head. Sadly, there are no new leads, no suspects and a police spokesperson said they believe it to be an isolated incident. An autopsy will be performed Monday.
Ashley was highly active in the community, was on the board of the Young Professionals Club of Des Moines and a respected Realtor. This death has shaken the community.
Iowa Realty President & CEO R. Michael Knapp released this message to his employees Friday on Facebook: “To all Iowa Realty and Prudential First Realty Agents, I am asking that all of you immediately cancel any open houses you have scheduled this weekend. A few of you may be aware of a tragic incident, beyond comprehension, has occurred at a model home in West Des Moines this afternoon involving one of our Iowa Realty agents. I ask that you keep her in your prayers. Your safety is our chief concern here, and if the situation changes we will notify you immediately via email and voice-mail on your office phone.”
“People are shocked. I mean she was so good at being friends with everyone she made everyone feel important. She was well respected and also very well liked and I think that has made it very hard on a lot of people,” Jason Wells, President of the YPC told local media.
There is a $10,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest (Crime Stoppers can be reached at (515) 223-1400).
Reminder for the real estate community
Real estate is often a risky industry to be in. Agents travel alone and spend time away from people on a regular basis. Dealing with peoples’ housing is an emotional ordeal and can be dangerous (although we’re not saying this incident is such an ordeal). Agents, please be careful and take all the precautions possible and use the technologies at your fingertips as best you can.
We are saddened by this tragedy, and our prayers go out to Iowa Realty as well as Ashley’s friends and families.
April 12, 1:41am CST: According to Des Moines Channel 13, the reward has been increased to $11,500. Police are now releasing that a resident living next to the model where Ashley was killed reported hearing a commotion.
The Des Moines Register reports that an email from Iowa Realty to agents says “According to the email message sent to employees with Iowa Realty and Prudential First Realty, Okland was spotted in the neighborhood speaking with the man on two to three occasions in late February and early March. The resident who reported the tip described the individual as a younger man, “scruffy looking, (with) possible dark features.” On one occasion, the man – whose vehicle is said to resemble a Cadillac Escalade – spent 20 minutes parked in front of the show home where Okland was shot, according to the email. The witness said Okland then exited the model house and left the area in her own vehicle, followed by the SUV.”
Lt. Jim Barrett, West Des Moines’ public information officer said, “We think that it’s a Realtor and we want to verify that, so that’s something at this point that we need the public’s help on.”
Channel 5 reports, “A memorial fund has been established by Ashley Okland’s family. You can send donations to 30048 530th Avenue, Kelley, IA 50134, which is where she was from. Money sent will be distributed to Okland’s favorite charities.
There is a visitation planned for the Fjeldberg Lutheran Church in Huxley Tuesday from 4:00 – 8:00 p.m. A Celebration of Life will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday at Lutheran Church of Hope in West Des Moines. Okland will be buried in Huxley.”
Further updates can be found by clicking here which we will keep current.