Jun 21, 2013 8:40 PM by Connie Tran, KSBY News

Former KSBY anchor's granddaughter dies of a heroin overdose

The family of 23-year old Ashley Martel continues to mourn her death. They said Ashley died early Wednesday morning in Grover Beach from a heroin overdose. She was 14-weeks pregnant with her first child.

Ashley was the granddaughter of Rick Martel, a long-time news anchor at KSBY.

"She was so good and so kind, we just loved her so much," said Stormi Martel, Ashley's grandmother and Rick's wife.

Ashley's pictures adorn almost every inch of the Martel home. Her mother, Tawny Martel, said they were like best friends, and although she had warned Ashley about the dangers of drugs, she never thought she'd see the day that Ashley would die from a heroin overdose.

"I'm just heartbroken, I just want to go be with her," said Tawny.

Family and friends said Ashley sparkled.

Her close friend, Meggan Lopez, said, "She was just the greatest person that I've known. If I ever needed to like, to be cheered up, she was the one to do it."

But underneath that glow, family and friends said Ashley battled demons and a drug addiction since the age of 15. Tawny said Ashley was clean and sober for at least the last two years, but a recent binge on heroin would eventually take her life.

Stormi said, "I don't know how it happened. I still can't believe it happened, and I just don't know what else to say."

Rick told KSBY News, which he anchored for 15 years, that Ashley was the apple of his eye. The Martel family called Ashley's death tragic, but hopes it becomes a wake up call to those using drugs.

"I try to think it helps for all the good words, but it just makes me miss her more," said Stormi.

The San Luis Obispo Sheriff's Office said they are waiting for toxicology results to confirm Ashley's cause of death.

The Martel's have set up a memorial fund in Ashley's name. If you would like to donate, you can visit any Rabobank.



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