Family of woman slain in San Rafael 13 years ago fights for justice

The family of a woman killed 13 years ago on this day in San Rafael is asking for help in solving this cold case.

Heath Yamaguchi said his sister Ashley Yamauchi was just days from leaving for New York to attend school to make a better life for herself and her daughter.

He said he will never give up his fight to get justice his sister

"The sorrow I feel is overwhelming pain to know I'll never be able to see you alive again jeans," Yamaguchi read from the poem he wrote for Ashley, who was sexually assaulted and killed.

No one has been arrested.

"It hurts to know that the suffering she had to go through. It's terrible," said Yamaguchi.

The 33-year-old's body was discovered behind a downtown bar on 4th Street on Dec. 16, 2008. 

Yamaguchi showed a KTVU crew the spot where Ashley was found in the back parking lot.

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Police say she was last seen alive as she left the bar with a man through the back door around 11:30 the night before.

"She had fought for her life. It was a very violent death. Ashley had sustained numerous injuries all over her body from head to toe," said San Rafael Police Sergeant Ronda Cordera.

She was one of the original investigators who responded to the scene.

She said Ashley had no clothes on from the waist down and that she was wedged between a parked car and a cyclone fence.

The cause of death was asphyxiation.

"That sticks with me. The image of that morning of how she was found. That all will haunt me," Cordera said. Ashley's body had been exposed for hours during a cold storm and that DNA testing so far as not resulted in information leading to an arrest.

She said there are at least three persons of interest, but police need more information.

"A confession, DNA, a witness, a combination of those things would be hugely beneficial to solving this homicide."

Yamaguchi expressed frustration and pain. He vowed to be his sister's voice. "I can't just let this go. Somebody has to be held responsible. They took her from us and the way she was took was terrible."

Ashley was a nanny and a mother to a daughter who was eight years old at the time.

As in years past, Yamaguchi plans to hold a vigil this Saturday in front of the downtown bar where she was last seen alive. He plans to hand out fliers asking for help in solving this case.

There is a $50,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction of the person responsible for killing her.