A woman's quest to solve a mystery spawned by Hurricane Ike

By Robert Arnold - Investigative Reporter

LEAGUE CITY, Texas - To most people the guitar with corroded tuning pegs and debris clogged sound hole sitting at a League City auction house was a junked, forgotten instrument. To Kim Clemons, the guitar is a mystery that has to be solved.

"This is history right here," said Clemons. "Somebody is missing this, it pulled at my hear strings."

Clemons found the guitar while looking for items to fill her antique shop in the Heights. By her own admission there is nothing unique or valuable about the guitar, save for it was found by crews clearing piles of Hurricane Ike debris from properties in Chambers County.

Clemons said the old Fender acoustic guitar made it's way to the auction house, where it sat until she bought it for $36 in February.

"It's amazing it came through the storm in this condition, it doesn't even have a crack on it, it's like it was meant to be found by someone to reunite it with it's owner," said Clemons. "If guitars could talk so to speak, imagine what it could tell us."

Clemons said It's not the guitar's song of survival that struck a chord with her, it's the signatures fading beneath the grime that put her on a quest to find its owner.

"It's personalized to Ashton," said Clemons. "Ashton needs to have this back."

On the guitar are several signatures and well wishes to someone named Ashton. The signatures appear to have been penned in 2000 and serve as push-pins on the unfinished map of his life.

"He had a lot of friends, I mean look at this guitar," said Clemons. "I mean it has so many signatures on it and Ashton is probably missing this piece."

For now Clemons can only imagine who Ashton is and where life has taken him. Clemons, who went into the antique business after leaving NASA when the space shuttle program ended, said the guitar will never be put up for sale.

Clemons said she will keep the guitar in her home until she can find the owner. For Clemons, this is her way of helping someone reclaim something from a hurricane that took so much from so many.

If you recognize this guitar or know who the owner is please email Local 2's Robert Arnold at rarnold@kprc.com. We'll make sure Clemons gets any messages sent our way.

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