When Ashley Brown's family heard the news -- they say the emotions were strange, and they didn't really know how to react.
"Very mixed emotions," her father Trever Brown said. "Seeing the official report that comes through with it being -- her death -- being reclassified as a murder. And just, the damage that was done -- its just difficult. Its one thing to lose a child, but another one to lose them brutally."
27-year-old Ashley Brown went missing in Nashville on December 17. Her body was found at a trash facility a day after she disappeared. Three months later -- her death was officially ruled a homicide. While initially a tough pill to swallow, with the case on the verge of going cold, the family is hopeful this new development will help the police find the person or people who killed her.
"That person, or persons think they got away with something and can do it again," her father said. "That needs to be stopped. We can't have another senseless murder take place."
Her father and stepmother say she had a smile that would light up the room -- and couldn't imagine why anyone would do this to her.
"It's hard to imagine why something like that could have happened like that to someone who's so loving and cheerful and happy, and smiling all the time," her stepmother Amy Brown said.
According to the autopsy report -- the official cause of her death was "multiple blunt force injuries and strangulation." The report also showed many other injuries -- including broken bones. Her father explaining investigators are unable to determine if those happened before she was killed, or after she was killed. That's because her body was put in a dumpster, then into a garbage truck.
"It has a compactor in it that makes room for more trash. And her body went through that," Brown said. "That just -- that's one of the most painful things. Killing somebody but then just throwing them in the trash. It's just an insult on top of it all."
Her family, pleading that someone will turn themselves in.
"We deserve to know what happened," her stepmother said. "And your life will go on afterwards but we'll never have Ashley again."
Ashley loved giraffes, so with the help of the community -- her family will be dedicating a memorial bench for her at the Reid Park Zoo. If you'd like to donate, her family says to make a tax-deductable donation to the Reid Park Zoological Society in the name of Ashley Brown.