In August 2014, James Allan Chambers II was murdered. Even though his body was not located – in February 2018 – Howard Ashleman was sentenced to 15 to 19 years in prison for fatally shooting Chambers in Fayetteville.
Ashleman told law enforcement officers he dumped the body off a bridge but can’t remember where. Even though Cumberland County authorities have solved Chambers murder and the suspect responsible is behind bars, the family is still unable to find closure until the remains of the 28 year-old man are located.
Private investigator David Marshburn joined the search several years ago. He has spent countless hours searching dozens of locations for Chambers remains. The search has included locations in Johnston, Sampson, Cumberland, Lee and Moore counties.
Marshburn will appear on Dateline NBC tonight (Friday, Oct. 1) at 9:00pm in an episode entitled “The Bridge”.
In 2014, James Chambers was a civil contractor doing construction work at Fort Bragg. Prosecutors said there had been animosity between Chambers and Ashleman prior to his death. Chambers was shot to death in the cab of his pickup.
After disposing of Chambers body, Ashleman moved to Florida and got married. After finding religion, he confessed about the murder to his new wife. She notified police. He surrendered, and following plea negotiations was convicted in 2018.
Ashleman told Fayetteville Police he burned and buried the body in Cumberland County but later became worried it would be found.
He dug up the remains, dismembered the body, and placing the remains in plastic garbage bags. He drove to an unknown remote area where he tossed the bags over the side of a rural bridge into a body of water.
The pickup truck in which Chambers was murdered was sold by Ashelman to a salvage yard and crushed before the victim was reported missing and the murder was uncovered.
“My part is the investigation part that I did with the Dad. We found truck parts and pieces of the truck that got destroyed that had blood on it. I did some interviews with individuals, one who was actually there and saw everything,” Marshburn said.
“Right after this all happened, we find out what really has happened to him. We have done nothing but bridge searches, searching bodies of water for him.”
Marshburn believes he has narrowed down the area where Chambers body was disposed of. “More than likely he is in the Johnston-Sampson County line area based on the information we have.”
Marshburn was featured in 2015 on CBS 48 Hours for his role in solving the murder of missing Army Specialist Kelli Bordeaux in Fayetteville.