Godspeed Ashley Oakland

Real Estate Broker/Owner with J. Philip Faranda (J. Philip R.E. LLC) Westchester County NY License # 49FA1074963

If you haven't heard, another real estate agent has been murdered. 27 year old Ashley Oakland was shot twice while at a model townhome in West Des Moines, Iowa. Her company, Iowa Realty, has suspended all open houses. 

This tragedy sickens me as a father, as a broker, and as a human being. Here is, from everything I have read, a beautiful, upbeat, well regarded person out trying to earn a living who was brutally murdered on the job. And it wasn't at some vacant cabin out in the woods out of town, or some secluded place. It was in the middle of a townhome community that appeared to have from the reports at least some units occupied. 

I was once physically attacked in a home by an unbalanced client. Another colleague was beaten in his own office so brutally he required minor plastic surgery. I know what it is like to be with someone who crosses the line of civility into physical hostility. I know the feeling in the stomach when you see and hear things that don't match normal behavior. But I don't know what it is like to look down the barrel of a gun. I cannot imagine what this poor woman's final moments were like. 

Some murderer stole her life from her. Most of us reading this have been 27. For me it was over 16 years ago. I had quite a bit to look forward to. And someone stole it from her, probably exploiting the fact that she was trying to earn an honest living and would be vulnerable. We don't sit at big desks shifting money around, taking an easy cut. We work harder for our living than most of the public understands. 

To Ashley's co workers and loved ones especially, my heart aches. All of our hearts ache. 

To my colleagues, I say, yet again, for God's sake be careful out there. There are people who don't understand the hazards we face. We meet strangers in strange places for a living. This has happened before. It will probably happen again. And there is no weapon, spray or martial arts class we can arm ourselves with if someone means us harm. A turn of the head may be the last, because they don't announce the attack. It happens in a blink.

Document all showings and always get a name and number. I hope they catch the murderer quickly, either with phone records, Ashley's calender or Outlook, or handwritten notes. I hope they catch this monster and bring it to justice.

But in the meantime, please PLEASE PLEASE be careful, especially in the aftermath when copycats lick their chops.  


Re-Blogged 4 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Gerry Michaels 04/11/2011 07:31 AM
  2. Moby 04/11/2011 07:52 AM
  3. Edward Cooper 04/11/2011 10:07 AM
  4. Sandra Steele 04/11/2011 12:16 PM
  5. Sheila Newton Team Anderson & Greenville SC 04/16/2011 04:18 AM
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Mario Jannatpour
RE/MAX Alliance in Louisville, Colorado - Louisville, CO
Author of the Book, "The Honest Real Estate Agent"

Condolences to family and friends.

Her name is Ashley Okland.


Apr 12, 2011 02:48 AM #81
Richard Bazinet /MBA, CRS, ABR
AZuRE Team - Realty ONE Group - Scottsdale, AZ
Phoenix Scottsdale. Sellers, Buyers & Relocations

I just read the story... I have no words to express my grief for our colleague. What a terrible waste. My sympathy goes out to her family, friends and office colleagues. It still reinforces the importance of safety in our business and perhaps that we take things too lightly at times.

Apr 12, 2011 03:15 AM #82
Ilona Matteson
Beach Realty & Construction on the Outer Banks of NC - Duck, NC
Ilona Matteson

There are just no words.  What a terrible tragedy.  Prayers to her family and friends.

Apr 12, 2011 05:22 AM #83
Bob Sooy
Realty World Northeast LLC - Sugarloaf, PA

JP- well written and tasteful. Such a tragedy and an unfortunate reminder of what can happen out there.

Apr 12, 2011 05:58 AM #84
Tricia DeSouza
HomeSmart - Scottsdale, AZ
Selling Scottsdale Luxury

I had not heard of this sad news until your post. Thanks you for the kind reminder and my heart goes out to her friends and loved ones as well.

Apr 12, 2011 07:01 AM #85
Melanie Hedrick
Elite Texas Properties, the best homes from McKinney to Dallas! - McKinney, TX

I had not heard of this murder -- thank you for bringing it to our attention and for the reminder to always be careful in this business.

Apr 12, 2011 07:29 AM #86
Christianne O'Malley
RE/MAX Realty Affiliates - Reno, NV
Exceptional Service - Delivering Results in Reno!

I know NAR has Realtor safety month - but it should be Realtor safety day every day. The time we slip is the time we get caught up - and maybe catching our last breath. So sad for Ashley's family and friends, and office. We shouldn't be afraid to get contact information and share it with our brokerage before heading out with new buyers or anyone else. When we are meeting people we've never met before, we always double team for safety.

Apr 12, 2011 07:42 AM #87
Torgie Madison
Quicksilver Real Estate Solutions, LLC - Portland, OR
Websites and Contact Management

This is such a sad story. There have been some updates in the news today and it looks like the police suspect another Realtor shot her and not a stranger or client which is interesting. My prayers are with her family. 

Apr 12, 2011 08:00 AM #88
Rich Cederberg
eXp Realty - Albuquerque, NM
eXp Realty Agent Albuquerque

Wow how awful and terrible. Everyone needs to be careful out there, maybe open houses aren't safe.

Apr 12, 2011 08:40 AM #89
Diane McDermott
Realtor®, GRI, Landis e2 Real Estate, LLC - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte NC Real Estate Market

Awful and heartbreaking, can't begin to imagine what her family's going through

Apr 12, 2011 09:34 AM #90
Evelyn Kennedy
Alain Pinel Realtors - Alameda, CA
Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA

J. Phillip:

I had not heard about this senseless tragedy.  I am sadden to hear of Ashley's death. My heart and prayers go out to her family, friends and colleagues.  When I first started in real estate I thought it was a very safe occupation.  Sadly, I am discovering we are very much at risk.  Doing all the things you have suggested are good.  Maybe we need to hold open house with a colleague or friend.  We need to be careful and trust our instincts about the people we are showing property to.  We can't be too careful.  Very disheartening story.

Apr 12, 2011 10:22 AM #91
Steve Ewing - Keller Williams Realty
Keller Williams - Stockton, CA

This is so sad and senseless.

Apr 12, 2011 01:37 PM #92
Mel Ahrens, MBA, Kelly Right Real Estate
Kelly Right Real Estate - Hood River, OR
Customized Choices for your Real Estate Needs

What an horrible tragedy! Thanks for bringing it to my attention. I send my prayers her way. Thanks, too, for the tips on keeping us all safe.


Apr 12, 2011 04:11 PM #93
Scott Hayes
(512) 786-8300 - Austin, TX
Realty Austin, Broker Associate


Thoughts and prayers to her family. Kudos to you for a well written dedication and alert to your fellow agents

Apr 13, 2011 08:35 AM #94
Peter Michelbach

PJ --, terribly sad.

My sincerst condolences --  let me say good bye, to an unknown real estate agent and let me send her prayers on her way closer to home, where we all go at the ends of time, at the end of our own journeys. 

My heart goes out to her loved ones and her friends.

But let me also pray in silence and for forgiveness and finding hope for those who erred.

Apr 14, 2011 01:08 AM #95
Carla Muss-Jacobs, Principal Broker (503) 810-7192
BuyersAgentPortland.com | Portland Metro Exclusive Buyers Agent | 100% Buyer Representation ~ 100% of the Time - Portland, OR
Buyer Focused ~ Buyer Results

So sad . . . it's a tragic lesson for us. 

Apr 14, 2011 01:49 PM #96
Pamela Seley
West Coast Realty Division - Murrieta, CA
Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA

Very sad. This is one of the reasons why I don't hold open houses. Haven't for sometime.

Apr 16, 2011 04:25 AM #97
Nick T Pappas
Assoc. Broker/Broker ABR, CRS, SFR, e-Pro, @Homes Realty Group, @HomesBirmingham & Providence Property Mgmnt, LLC Hun... - Huntsville, AL
Madison & Huntsville Alabama Real Estate Resource

J Phillip, I can't really add much more to this...just wanted to leave a comment showing my support for Ashley's family...stay safe all.

Apr 16, 2011 07:42 AM #98
Peggy Harmeyer & Associates
RE/MAX Real EstateGroup.com - Altoona, IA
Licensed in the State of Iowa


Yes this has been a tragic and sensless death.  I am from the Des Moines Association of REALTORS, and I can truely say that Ashley will be missed.  I didn't know Ashley directly but, I can say that all that I hear about her is good.  God Bless her family and friends.  As REALTORS we need to be aware of our surroundings and with this wake up call it has make me more aware about my surroundings and think more about what we are doings.   Most of the Broker/companies in The Des Moines area have put new safety policies in place so stay safe my friends.


Apr 19, 2011 03:10 PM #99
Niema Thomas
Century 21 Beachside - Alta Loma, CA

My prayers go out to Ashley and her family. Thank you for the awareness.

Apr 19, 2011 06:03 PM #100
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