A professor from the School of Medicine and Dentistry disappeared Christmas Day, leaving no traces other than one gas station purchase and an abandoned car.
Jeffrey Ash, 42, left Strong Memorial Hospital that night after seeing a patient and never returned, said Robert Cline, a sergeant in the detective division of the Brighton Police.
Ash was seen the next morning at 3 a.m. He was identified at a gas station in Strykersville, N.Y, where he purchased gasoline and a soda with his credit card, Cline said. There has been no activity on his credit card or cellular phone since then.
Ash’s car, a four-door, pewter-colored 2000 GMC Jimmy, was discovered in good condition Jan. 7. It was parked on the street in Niagara, N.Y.
“It was covered with snow and some of his personal belongings were inside,” Cline said. “No witnesses saw him get out of his car and walk away.”
Cline says the police have no reason to suspect foul play. As far as they know, Ash has no friends or family in the Niagara area.
The investigation is ongoing, but police have uncovered few leads.
“Unfortunately, we’re kind of at a stalemate. Dr. Ash had some medical issues, heart issues. As far as we know, he did not have his medicine with him,” Cline said. “Obviously, the longer he’s missing, the more concerned we get. We’re hoping that he’s safe somewhere.”
A Brighton resident, Ash joined the UR faculty in 1987. He is an assistant professor of medicine and a primary care physician. He and his wife Maureen have four children.
Professor of Medicine Dr. Philip Bonanni has known Ash since the two were both interns.
“Whenever we needed a volunteer for a committee, he would volunteer,” Bonanni said of Ash. “Jeff likes to participate. He feels like he has to be a part of what is going on in medicine.”
Bonanni says that just a few days before he disappeared, Ash was talking about how well things were going, both with his practice and with his health.
“He was a good doctor, a good family man, a good human being,” Bonanni said. “I can’t see him doing something that would hurt his wife and children. I have not given up hope that he’ll turn up.”
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