Ashley Pond went missing after she left for school, and two months later, friend Miranda Gaddis vanished also

By Greg Hanlon
November 26, 2018 11:23 AM

The girls’ disappearances were as strikingly similar as they were terrifying.

One morning in January 2002, 12-year-old Ashley Pond dashed out of her home in Oregon City, Oregon, and vanished on her way to the school bus stop.

About two months later, Miranda Gaddis, Pond’s friend and neighbor in their 125-unit apartment complex, left for the same bus stop one morning and never arrived.

In both cases, nobody in the complex heard any shouts, detected any signs of struggle or noticed anything amiss. The mystery of how the girls vanished shook the entire Portland metro area and is the focus of tonight’s episode of People Magazine Investigates, entitled “Fallen Angels,” airing at 10 p.m. ET on Investigation Discovery, an exclusive clip of which is shown above.

In the clip, FBI Special Agent in Charge Charles Matthews says that in both cases, there was “no crime scene. No scattered books on the ground. … [Miranda] walked out the door — just as Ashley did — and disappeared.”

The girls were on the same dance team at school and hung out at each other’s homes. When Ashley vanished, Miranda posted flyers around town and helped stage a dance team benefit to raise money for the search.

PEOPLE cover, June 3, 2002

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While Ashley’s mother, Lori Pond, told police her daughter would “never run away,” police initially suspected otherwise. Authorities did not search the apartment complex the evening she vanished, waited until the next morning to assign a detective to the case and waited nine days before calling in the FBI. The delay drew criticism from experts citing statistics that the chances of getting abducted children back drastically decreases with time.

Credit: Getty (2)

But when Miranda went missing, nobody speculated she’d run away, and fear gripped the community.

“Everyone is scared,” Miranda’s best friend Brock Ketterling told PEOPLE at the time. “It feels like it’s pitch black and dark and sad.”

People Magazine Investigates: Fallen Angels airs tonight (10 p.m. ET) on Investigation Discovery.