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Doane community affected by the loss of Ashley Sandoval

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Current and former Doane students are feeling the blow after the body of 20-year-old Ashley Sandoval was found north of Highway 33 in Crete on Saturday. Sandoval's body was found in an open field directly across from the Crete Inn.

Sandoval was not a Doane student. Her mother reported her missing Saturday morning, who contacted the Crete Police Department.

Steve Hensel, Crete Police Chief, said that her roommate contacted Sandoval's mother, who last saw her at their place at the Crete Inn.

“Sandoval was last seen by her roommate sleeping the night before,” Hensel said. “The roommate wakes up to find her missing with her stuff still home.”

Hensel said the roommate got in contact with Sandoval's mother who immediately reported her missing around 11:20 a.m. Sandoval’s body was found around noon.

“Officers made their way to the Inn, and one of them looked north into the field and saw something and went to investigate,” Hensel said. “Rescue was called and she was unresponsive at the scene.”

Hensel said the body was visible from Highway 33.

An autopsy was performed on the body Sunday morning. The results are not expected to be back for a couple of weeks, but Hensel said foul play is not suspected in the death.

The investigation into Sandoval’s death continues. Crete Police leads the investigation along with the Nebraska State Patrol and Saline County Sheriff.

Senior Hannah Simonds worked with Sandoval at Elle’s on Main. She said she was working a shift with her on Thursday night.

Simonds said Sandoval was acting normal during her shift, and those who worked with her during her final shift said the same thing.

“She was acting as herself, as she normally was,” Simonds said. “Obviously, Elle’s has taken a hit and we all miss her very dearly.”

Simonds said Sandoval’s death has made her reevaluate the people she spends time with and the situations she puts herself in.

“As a student, it makes me worried about who you choose as friends and taking care of yourself, and the situation you put yourself in” Simonds said. “Especially because (Sandoval) was a very smart person, and it is upsetting to see this.”

Katie Leware, a Doane alumni, worked with a youth group at Radiant Springs Church in Crete. She said she knew Sandoval briefly as she occasionally attended the group.

“I saw her name and photo and thought ‘holy crap, I know her’,” she said. “She was your typical high school student, a lot of our regular youth brought friends and it was an event for us to reach out to the Crete community.”

Leware recalled a women’s-only lock-in the youth group hosted that Sandoval attended.

“The event I remember most with her was a girls lock-in called “Be-You-Tiful”, and it was a night of women inspiring women,” Leware said.

Simonds was crying as said she will remember Sandoval as a friend.

“Ashley was a very authentic, genuine person,” Simonds said. “Whenever you met her there was always good within her that everyone saw. When she got to know you all she wanted was the best for you, and whether or not you were a big part of her life she made you feel cared for.”