October 13, 2018, 25 year old Ashley Tucker went to a party at her father’s apartment. She was seen leaving and headed to a gas station, which later was confirmed she entered and purchased a soup for her friend that was sick. She was seen walking in and leaving by herself and was never seen alive again.
The next morning, Ashley wasn’t home. She wasn’t anywhere to be found. Ashley’s vehicle was found nearby her residence (also in Joliet) and her jacket was found in the backyard with blood on it.
What wasn’t known, was one of the guests at the party was s convicted sexual predator, Peter Zabala also of Joliet who spoke to Ashley throughout the night, and disappeared soon after she did.
Law enforcement continued to follow every lead. Peter Zabala was one of them. His record proved of violence, kidnapping and assault. Zabala was also a registered sex offender. When the cops went looking to speak to him in regard to Ashley’s disappearance, he was nowhere to be found.
I met with one of Ashley’s best friends and some of her family members. They were also following leads and attempting to search in as many places on the Joliet map as possible. They spoke to anyone and everyone that knew or had contact with Ashley. They didn’t turn up empty, but the leads were mostly dead ends.
October 19, 2018 Detectives recovered a vehicle, 2012 Buick Lacrosse, and entered in to evidence for processing. The defense is requesting that vehicle to be released. The owner of that vehicle is a family friend of the defendants. A stain in the backseat was swabbed and sent in for testing which resulted in the mixture of two different DNA profiles, one in which Ashley can not be excluded. The owner of the vehicle, Henry Hill may end up being a witness for the prosecution.
October 21, 2018 Peter Zabala was found on the 1000 block of North Hickory Street in Joliet. He was person of interest which seemed to be evading police for questioning on Ashley’s disappearance. He had a warrant for failing to register as a sex offender. This time he was charged with two counts of resisting arrest and one count of unlawful restraint because at the time they found him at the Hickory Street address he had physically detained a woman.
October 26 Detectives had a search warrant for the 3500 block of South State Street in Lockport, Will County, Illinois in an attempt to locate Ashley. They had no idea they would find the horrific seen of Ashley’s remains at the bottom of a burn barrel on the private property of one of Zabala’s family members.
October 27, 2018 the autopsy confirmed that it was Ashley’s remains found on the property. There were burns on her body. There was no evidence pointing to cause of death. No cuts or bullet wounds to Ashley’s body. Ashley’s cause of death was undetermined.
· In 1993 he was charged with Home Invasion (Armed & by Force), Armed Violence with a weapon and Aggravated Battery with a weapon, Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon
· In 2007 he was charged with Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse of a minor between the ages of 13 and 16 and sentenced to over 7 years.
· There are two Orders of Protection against him by another woman in 2014
· There are three Orders of Protection against him for two minor children that are apparently his, in 2016, 2017 & 2018.
· September 19, 2018 he was charged with two counts of Domestic Battery with Physical Contact and two counts of Domestic Battery with Bodily Harm
November 2, 2018 Peter Zabala was charged with three counts of First Degree Murder and two counts of concealing a homicide.
There is still no Jury Trial set, as they are still in the pre-trial stage. The next pre-trial date is set for June 2, 2020 at the Will County Courthouse in Joliet at 9:30 A.M. in room 405.
There has already been continuances made as the Coronavirus spreads across America.
Ashley leaves behind a 4 year old daughter and a countless number of dear friends and family that loved her so much.
Ashley Nicole Tucker
Born: November 6, 1992
Died: October 24, 2018
Ashley Nicole Tucker was born November 6, 1992 in Joliet, IL to Vanita Robinson and Anthony Tucker. She departed this life on October 24, 2018.
Ashley was educated in the Joliet and Morris Public School Districts; attending Laraway and Joliet Central High School. She earned her diploma from Morris Community High School. Joliet Central is where she developed her love for basketball. She cherished her years of learning and crafting the game. Ashley was a dedicated employee at Grainger in Minooka, IL.
Family will receive friends and family on Saturday, November 10, 2018, 9:00 AM at OneVision Worship Center, 2701 W. Jefferson St., Joliet, IL. Memorial Service at 10:00 AM, Pastor Deon D.Hayes, officiating.
Minor-Morris Funeral Home, Ltd.
112 Richards St. (815) 723-1283
Published in The Herald-News from Nov. 8 to Nov. 9, 2018
Information obtained by:
Ashley’s Family and friends
The Will County Clerk Records