Jason’s Journey

When the murder of Michelle Young was first presented to the public, we learned from media reports only that Jason had traveled to Virginia on business. The exact location of his meeting and hotel were not revealed, and it wasn’t even clear if investigators had that information. It could be inferred that the meeting was most likely in the wester part of Virginia, as his route ostensibly provided the opportunity to swing by his mother’s house in Brevard, North Carolina, before returning to Raleigh. In an earlier entry, I wrote the following in considering potential sites for Jason’s lodging on the night in question:

If he did commit this homicide, I surmise that he probably drove about 3 hours on Thursday evening, checking in to a Hampton Inn in the vicinity of the I-77/I-81 junction, outlined on this map. (The map takes a little while to load but is very helpful in visualizing the itinerary, so be patient. And by all means, use the zoom feature.) That stopping point is a reasonable conjecture regardless of Jason’s innocence or culpability. There are plenty of accommodations there and it is centric to several options for the location of his meeting, in addition to being logistically plausible with the Get-It-Market, the side-trip to Brevard, and a possible return trip to Raleigh during the night.

On Thursday, a CourtTV forum member by the name of RPD received independent confirmation that Jason’s hotel was one of those included in my earlier estimation — the Hillsville Hampton Inn, to be exact. Interestingly, it is the one in that outlined area that is closest to Raleigh, giving Jason a one-way travel time of approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes over 174 miles of interstate highway.

What else do we know or can we surmise of Jason’s travels over those fateful two days? His friend, Rhett Fussell, states that Jason was traveling to Virginia for a business meeting and that he left on Thursday evening to get a head start. Commonly, evening is dinner-time to bed-time, or 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., though some consider evening to extend to midnight. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to assume that Jason ate dinner with his family and hit the road after rush hour traffic dissipated. A forum member by the name of “just the facts” stated early on that Jason had called Michelle around 11 p.m. that night to let her know that he had arrived safely at his hotel. Allegedly, all was well at that time, but that phone call has not been publicly confirmed by any other source. Assuming that it is factual or even feasible, Jason had to have left home prior to 8:15. It seems reasonable to deduce that his departure fell some time in between 6:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., more likely in the early portion of that spectrum. A CourtTV member who posts under the name Raleigh Resident reported hearing that Jason may have left as early as 4 p.m. If that were the case, where was he throughout the remaining afternoon and evening? He certainly would have had time to make it to his destination rather than stopping for the night less than three hours from his home.

The location and time of Jason’s business meeting are two additional details that investigators have kept close to the vest. However, a CourtTV forum member, and self-described friend of Jason Young, by the name of gojo recently revealed that the meeting was scheduled for 10 a.m. Additionally, a receipt for gas purchase at the Get-It Market places Jason in Duffield, Virginia at some point on Friday, November 3. A full tank of gas could easily have gotten Jason’s 2004 Ford Explorer from Raleigh, North Carolina, to Duffield, Virginia, and beyond. I consider Duffield to be a wayside stop that Jason made after his meeting. Why? For a couple of reasons:

  • It doesn’t seem all that likely for him to have stopped for gas prior to his meeting. If he hadn’t enough gas to make it from Hillsville to the meeting location, he would probably have filled up in Hillsville before embarking on the interstate. Then there’s the possibility of messing up his suit or carrying a gasoline odor with him into the meeting. It just doesn’t fit with my logic, however strange my logic might be.
  • Duffield is more than 40 miles off of I-81, the major thoroughfare to the southwestern corner of the state. The quickest route from Hillsville to Duffield actually takes the driver down into Kingsport, Tennessee and approaches Duffield from the southeast. That route just doesn’t make a lot of sense to me unless Duffield was the intended destination. And I’ve seen nothing to indicate that it was.

I think it’s more likely that the meeting location was somewhere to the north of Duffield and that Jason stopped at the Get-It Market for gas after his meeting, en route to his mother’s Brevard, North Carolina home. The main route to Duffield from the north is US-23, which intersects US-58 some twenty miles north of town, which in turn approaches from Abingdon. Abingdon has long stood out to me as having some significance to the case. (And no, I’m not pretending to be psychic. In looking at the map, Abingdon caught my eye in much the same way that the I-77/I-81 interchange did.) Originally, it seemed like a good candidate for the source of the “Hampton Hotel” receipt found in Jason’s SUV. However, travel distance and time quickly discounted that possibility, and we now know it not to be the case. So what other significance can Abingdon have? I surmise that it is where Jason left the interstate on his Friday morning trek to a business meeting somewhere to the north of Duffield. From thence, he cruised on down the scenic highways to Brevard, stopping briefly at the Get-It Market where he filled the Explorer’s 22-gallon tank and perhaps grabbed a bite to eat. If I am correct in these musings and our friend gojo is correct as to Jason’s 3 p.m. arrival in Brevard, he should have been at the Get-It Market around noon. The receipt and video surveillance tape will eventually tell the tale. Taking a stab at a one-hour meeting which began at 10 a.m. would allow for an hour’s travel time from the meeting to Duffield. There are several towns to choose from; I still contend that the meeting was in Virginia as that has been the claim from Jason’s camp since the earliest days following Michelle’s murder.

As I stated earlier, Jason allegedly arrived at his mother’s home at approximately 3 p.m. His step-father met him in the yard and broke the devastating news of Michelle’s murder, whereupon Jason “fell plumb to his knees.” According to gojo, Jason’s mother, sister and brother-in-law drove him back to Raleigh, setting off around 4:30 p.m. and arriving in Raleigh between 9:00 and 9:30 p.m. During the drive, gojo claims, Mrs. Young called the Wake County Sheriff’s Department to let them know that they were on their way and willing to do whatever necessary to assist in the investigation. Meanwhile, Jason was inconsolable and sobbing uncontrollably. The deputy is alleged to have asked if Jason was with her, to which she replied that he was but could not talk at that time, eliciting a “he’d better be with you” response from the deputy. I’ll let you decide for yourself how much weight to give that rendition of events.

It’s still unclear what time Jason and company arrived at Meredith Fisher’s home in Fuquay-Varina to retrieve Cassidy, the Youngs’ 2½ year old daughter. That residence is only about a twenty minute drive from the Youngs’ Enchanted Oaks subdivision. When the Young party arrived, Jason’s SUV was quickly detained and a search warrant for the vehicle was requested by the WCSD. The warrant was issued at 3:15 a.m. and executed at 4 a.m. but it isn’t specified whether the detainment commenced before or after midnight. And it isn’t clear where Jason was from the time he arrived in Raleigh until he showed up at Meredith’s house. What has been relayed through gojo is that Jason entered the house to reunite with his daughter and remained inside while his family dealt with sheriff’s officers outside, hoping to retrieve some of their personal belongings before the vehicle was taken away.

Those are Jason’s travels as we know them to be or can reasonably deduce from the information available. Now it is left to determine whether the journey was a completely innocent business trip or a carefully crafted façade. The window of opportunity for Jason to have committed this crime spans the hours of midnight to 6 a.m., according to the time of death estimation. So it’s important to investigators to verify his whereabouts.

  • The hotel receipt proves only that he checked in at a certain time. Did he check out in the morning? Even if he did, the opportunity to travel to Raleigh and back during the night is still there.
  • Jason was carrying at least one cell phone with him. What do his phone records indicate?Were there pings throughout the night originating in the vicinity of the Hillsville Hampton Inn? That could be explained either of two ways:
    1. Jason was in his hotel room all night and couldn’t possibly have killed Michelle.
    2. Jason left his phone in his hotel room, knowing that its pings could reveal his location.

    Do the pings indicate movement to and from Raleigh? That would present strong circumstantial evidence, and Jason would probably be behind bars right now if it were the case.

    Was his phone turned off at the conclusion of the alleged 11 p.m. phone call and turned back on in the morning? Again, there are two logical explations, one supporting innocence and the other supporting guilt:

    1. He simply turned the phone off for the night to get a good night’s sleep and turned it back on in the morning as he set out for the day.
    2. He turned it off so as not to have his movements recorded, returned to Raleigh, and turned it back on only when he was back in the vicinity of the Hillsville Hampton Inn the next morning.

     

  • A roundtrip return to the Enchanted Oaks residence during the night would have necessitated an additional gas purchase of 17-20 gallons. But there appear to be no other fuel purchases made on the night in question. In fact, the fuel stop in Duffield fits perfectly with Jason’s legitimate business travels and side-trip to Brevard. The innocent explanation is that there were no other fuel stops between the Thursday evening departure from Raleigh and the Get-It Market purchase on Friday. In which case, Jason couldn’t have returned to Raleigh and committed the murder. However there are two alternative explanations:
  1. Jason paid cash for the additional gas purchase and discarded or destroyed the receipt.
  2. Jason carried in the SUV gas cans containing an adequate amount to provide for the extra mileage.
  • I think it’s important to note that between the alleged 11 p.m. phone call from Hillsville and the 10 a.m. meeting in western Virginia, Jason could have spent as many as 3 hours at the crime scene. Did he clean up there? Did Cassidy awaken while he was showering? Gojo has repeatedly made reference to Cassidy’s isolated footprints in the bathroom across the hall. Who carried her in there? Were her little feet cleaned off with the washcloth she mentioned to Meredith during the 911 call? Did Jason get her back to sleep and spend as much time as possible with her before he felt compelled to hit the road in order to keep his business appointment? There are so many questions I’d like to have the answers to, but I’ll never understand how he could leave her there alone with her mommy’s bloody corpse.
  • What can be deduced from the above information and musings? Either Jason Young is innocent, or he gave careful thought and consideration to ensuring that the return to Raleigh would not be documented, and verifiable information indicating his whereabouts would jibe with the legitimate business trip. Investigators have their work cut out for them, as does Jason’s attorney. Will forensic evidence at the scene of the crime prove Jason was there when the murder was committed and make all of these cogitations moot? Are there any witness sightings placing Jason Young where he shouldn’t have been between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m.? Does Jason Young have information to prove that he was indeed where he claims to have been? Time will tell.

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    7 comments so far

    1. Captain Joe on

      I think that there is one other aspect to consider- timing of the trip. This trip was made exactly one week after the announcement of the expansion of a medical project that would encompass a large amount of money to be invested in medical software in Duffield, which would be a hub for the SW VA area. I think that even though another firm had the contract for the software that Chartone was interested in breaching into that area. I think that maybe the Chartone rep from Knoxville and Jason met in Duffield
      to map out a plan and show the flag to the locals. Supposedly, Jason did have a meeting scheduled for Virginia, according to a Chartone source, but that they are not allowed to discuss it.

    2. RPD on

      3 hospitals in ‘Western Virginia” that would bring him through Duffield Va on the way to Brevard.
      =================================
      http://www.wellmont.org/OurHospitals/LonesomePine/default.htm Big Stone Gap , Va

      http://www.mountainviewregional.org/getpage.php?name=history Norton , Va
      http://www.leeregional.com/getpage.php?name=about Pennington Gap , Va

    3. Wyn on

      I’ve looked at the map of Jason’s travels and I think he could have been back in Raleigh faster. The route that a LOT of people who live on this side of Raleigh take to the Greensboro/Winston-Salem area is not on I-40 anymore.

      Hwy 64 is a straight, four lane shot to Siler City. At Siler City you can get on 421 and it hits the I-85/40 bypass at Greensboro. Much faster than taking I-40 through Chapel Hill/Durham area.

      The EO subdivision is located on Penny Road. Penny Road runs parallel to Tryon Road in Cary. And Tryon Road becomes Hwy 64…..

    4. Average Jane on

      Thanks, Wyn. How much time would that shave off his trip? Would there be gas stations/convenience stores open very early in the morning along that route — 4 am to 6 am time range?

    5. Wyn on

      If he stuck to the speed limit, probably twenty minutes or so at a minimum. Traffic would be almost non-existent in the early morning hours and if he had a radar detector, then he could travel fairly fast and no one would even notice.

      There are several gas stations on the edge of Siler City but I do not know their hours. I’ve been through there at ten at night and have seen them open but not sure about that early in the morning.

      There are some gas stations along Hwy 421 between Siler City and the I-85/40 bypass but I’m not sure if they’d be open that time of day since it’s kind of desolate out there at night. (Off on country side roads.)I know there’s one out on Hwy 421 that has a sign you can see above the trees to pull in traffic so that one may be an all-nighter.

    6. Jody on

      I believe that Jason returned to his home late in the evening and murdered Michelle after all her friends went home. He had plenty of time to do the killing and return to his hotel. What looks really suspicious is him calling Merideth and asking her to retrieve that fax. It is obvious to me that he didn’t want to have to be the one to “find” the body then have to call the police. If he had done that he would have had to subject himself to an interrogation by the police.

      This SOB needs to be strung up.

    7. Average Jane on

      Hi, Jody. Thanks for your comment. You’re welcome to join the ongoing discussion at the forum:

      http://frictionpowered.hqforums.com


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