She Dreamed of Being a Model:
Miranda was born November 18, 1988, in Oregon City. She attended Gardner Middle School, and dreamed of becoming a model one day. Miranda belonged to a dance team and was described by friends as being outgoing, funny, and very loving.
A Troubled Past:
In 1995, Miranda’s natural father was found guilty of abuse and sent to prison. A boyfriend of her mother later abused Miranda and was convicted and sent to prison. She spent a short time in a foster home because of the abuse. Despite her troubles, Miranda seemed well balanced and enjoyed her family, which included her older sister Maryssa, younger sister Miriah, and younger brother Jason.
Miranda and Ashley Walked Similar Paths:
It is not surprising that Ashley Hope and Miranda Gaddis were friends. They were on the same dance team at school, lived in the same apartment building, and even resembled each other. They also shared similar pasts of having been sexually abused as young children.
The Apartment Complex:
The apartment complex that Ashley and Miranda lived in was built in the late 1990s. It provided affordable housing for single mothers and lower-income working families, as well as the mentally ill. It had a high occupancy rate and was filled with children. Families would come and go, and children learned to make friends quickly with the new residents that moved in. It was near the edge of the complex, where Ward Weaver and his family, decided to rent a home.
The Weavers Move Into the Neighborhood:
The Weavers had a young daughter close to Ashley and Miranda’s age, and it was not long before the three became friends. Ashley and Miranda spent time at their new friend's house, sometimes staying overnight at slumber parties. Miranda, unlike Ashley, did not stay at the Weaver house for extended periods of time. She had other interest and friends that kept her busy in other activities.
Ashley Pond Disappears:
In Jan. 9, 2002, Ashley disappeared on her way to school. The police interviewed Miranda, and other friends of Ashley’s. As information filtered in, the authorities began to suspect that Ward Weaver was involved in her disappearance, but no arrest was made. Miranda was very involved in her friend's investigation, offering the police personal information that Ashley had shared with her.
Miranda Warns Friends:
Miranda knew the trouble that Ashley had experienced during her exteneded stays at the Weaver home. Ashley confided in her that Ward Weaver was violent and raped her while on a vacation in California.
Miranda, who was not timid with her opinions, warned friends to stay away from the Weaver’s home because she felt Ward Weaver was dangerous. Some theorize that Weaver blamed Miranda for his daughter being ostracized at school, and in the neighborhood where they lived.
Life Returns to Normal for Miranda:
Two months went by, and Ashley Pond was still missing. Life for Miranda was beginning to return to normal. On March 8, 2002, the day started out like most school days at Miranda’s house. Her mother, Michelle, left at around 7:30 a.m., for work. It is assumed that Miranda left to go to her bus stop at her normal time, around 8 a.m. She walked the same path that Ashley did on the day she disappeared – right near the door of Will Weaver’s house.
Miranda Gaddis Disappears:
Around 1:20 p.m., Michelle Gaddis received a call from her oldest daughter, informing her that Miranda was not at school and that none of her friends had seen her all day. The school confirmed her fears, reporting that she was absent in all her classes. Michelle immediately went to the police to report that her daughter was missing. Now haunted by two disappearances, the police and the FBI went on a round-the-clock investigation in hopes of locating Miranda Gaddis.
Residents Fear for Their Children:
The residents of Oregon City feared that a child abductor was busy deciding who his next victim would be. The missing girls mothers were convinced that the person responsible, knew both girls. The police focused on this theory as well, and returned to question many of the same people they interviewed just two months before, when Ashley disappeared. Some of the information they received, pointed to Ward Weaver, just as in the case with Ashley Pond, but still no arrest was made.
A Break in the Case:
A cry of rape by Ward Weaver's son's girfriend, brought an end to the police search of Ashley Pond and Miranda Gaddis. The woman, half nude, ran from the Weaver home, screaming that Ward Weaver had tried to rape her. Weavers's son followed up with calls to the police, saying his father admitted that he killed Ashley Pond.
These accusations allowed the police to search Ward Weaver's property.
The Girls' Bodies Are Found:
On the weekend of August 24-25, the bodies of Ashley Pond and Miranda
Gaddas, were found on the property of Ward Weavers rental home. Ashley's body was discovered inside a barrel, in a hole, under a concrete slab that had been poured soon after she was reported missing. Miranda's remains were found in a shed on the same property. An autopsy confirmed the identity of both girls.
Ward Weaver Is Arrested:
On October 4, 2002, Ward Weaver was indicted for the murder of Ashley Pond, 12, and Miranda Gaddis, 13, as well as other counts in an unrelated case, which including sex abuse, attempted rape, aggravated murder and abuse of a corpse, all of which he plead not guilty.
On September 22, 2004 Ward Weaver plead guilty to killing two of his daughter's friends then hiding their bodies on his property. He received two life sentences for the deaths of Ashley Pond and Miranda Gaddis.
Ward Weaver lll: A Life of Brutality
Profile of Ashley Pond
The Ward Weaver Case