Pregnant 23-year-old woman murdered on day she was to learn sex of baby

Posted at 8:35 PM, Feb 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-01 20:35:17-05

OLATHE, Kan. – The crime tape is still up around the Kansas home where a woman was found dead – a sight that neighbors say they never thought they'd see in their community.

"It's very quiet," neighbor Ruthie Halvorson told WDAF. "A lot of elderly people, a lot of young families, but nothing like this."

Halvorson said silence is familiar in her Olathe neighborhood, which is what made Tuesday's events that much more surprising.

Olathe Police Sgt. Logan Bonney said around 4 p.m. Tuesday officers were called to a home in the 1200 block of East Westerfield Place, just minutes from Olathe North High School.

Bonney said when officers arrived, they found 23-year-old Ashley K. Harlan, who police said recently moved to Olathe from Manhattan, Kansas, dead inside the home. Police confirmed Thursday that not only was the Harlan about 20 weeks pregnant, but she was also going to find out the sex of her baby on the day of her murder.

The woman’s cause of death has not yet been determined, but police issued an update Wednesday that said her death has been classified as a homicide.

"I didn't hear a gunshot or anything," Halvorson said. "I would have assumed I would have heard something. Didn't hear anything. Didn't see anything. All of a sudden just a bunch of cops showed up."

Cheri Hoffmann has lived in the neighborhood for more than 10 years. She said the owner of the home has been out of town.

"I hate for it to be anybody that he knew because he is such a sweet man," Hoffman said. "He'd help anybody."

As police continue their search for a suspect, neighbors are left trying to make sense of what happened.

"There's no reason that I could possibly come up with that this would happen," neighbor Millie Simon said. "It's just horrible."

Anyone with information is asked to call the Olathe Police Department at 913-971-6950 or the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-8477.