They knew her as the 'Bridge Lady'. Morehead community pulls together to remember a friendly face

Published: Jan. 8, 2019 at 6:10 PM EST
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The Highway 32 bridge in Morehead gets folks out in the county to the city bypass. But for one woman the bridge meant a little bit more. It was her shelter, the ground underneath her bed.

The Morehead community met Tuesday to say goodbye to a woman that many recognized. The only catch is that one no one actually knew her name.

“She stayed under a bridge here in town, and everybody knew she stayed under one or two bridges for shelter and so that's what I started calling her,” said Morehead resident Michael Ockerman.

A woman many knew as the “Bridge Lady” was found dead in December 2018. That was her name to folks in Morehead, but it wasn’t for a lack of trying.

Those who knew her say that the woman wouldn’t accept any help, and would often use different names when she met new people.

"She didn't want to be bothered by people. She wouldn't accept food. She wouldn't accept handouts,” Ockerman said.

But despite all of the mystery surrounding the woman’s identity, it seems that many saw her as a friendly face. They say she was simple. She loved to read, do crosswords and eat crackers.

“"We called her Ashia. She was a really good friend and as close to me as my family is,” said Morehead Resident Betsy McKinney.

But in December it didn’t go unnoticed when the Bridge Lady wasn’t walking around as she usually did. A concerned call led deputies to her home near the Highway 32 bridge, where they found her dead.

Her passing struck a chord for many in the community. When authorities failed to find any trace of the woman's family, Morehead residents pulled together and started fundraising to give her a proper funeral and burial.

“I thought about what if it was my mom or my sister in that position and no one knew who they were,” Ockerman said. “My original goal was $5,500, and I raised it to $7,500 and we far exceeded that."

Today, dozens gathered to remember the Bridge Lady. They may never know her name, but they’ll continue trying to uncover her story.

“She's with God now. I don't have to worry about her being cold or freezing or anything. She's protected now,” said McKinney.

The county’s coroner says he’s working daily to find the woman’s true identity. He hopes any members of her family will come forward.