Details of Disappearance Ashani was last seen on March 21, 1997 in their hometown of Orlando, Florida. She was initially abducted by her non-custodial grandparents, Ernest S. Jackson and Kaia Jackson, also known as Ernest and Abiola Anderson, in March 1997. Photographs of them are posted with this case summary. Her mother had sent her to visit them and they refused to return her.
The Jacksons moved from Orlando to Tulsa, Oklahoma in August 1998, with their four children. The last confirmed sighting of Ashani took place at around that time.
Ashani's grandparents were arrested for child abuse charges in October 2000 in Oklahoma. The charges were about the abuse of their eight-year-old son in 1988 and are not related to Ashani's case.
The Jacksons were charged in 1988 after the child ran away from home and wandered into a Teaneck, New Jersey restaurant, disoriented and covered in burns and other injuries. He stated both of his parents beat him and at one point his mother refused to let him eat for fifteen days straight, then beat him with a belt after she caught him climbing out the window to take fruit from a tree. He had scars all over his body, including on his chest, his shoulders, his abdomen, his collarbone, his knees, and twenty to thirty on each hand.
His parents skipped bail and fled, and weren't caught until 2000. The Jacksons' children were located in Oklahoma when Ernest and Kaia were arrested, but Ashani was not with them at the time of their arrest and she has not been seen again.
Kaia was convicted on the charges and sentenced to thirty-five years in prison. Ernest's jury failed to reach a verdict at his first trial and he was acquitted the second time, but in 2002 he was convicted of aggravated assault and child endangerment involving another child in New Jersey in the 1980s and sentenced to twelve years in prison. He was released from prison in 2009.
Ashani's grandparents are the prime suspects in her disappearance. Investigators believe she was murdered in Florida in approximately 1999, and her body was taken to Oklahoma and buried in the Tulsa area.
The Jacksons have refused to be interviewed regarding Ashani's case and have never been charged in connection with it. Her case remains unsolved.
- Orange County Sheriff's Office
Updated 6 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated December 7, 2015; age-progression and details of disappearance updated.