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NC ASHA DEGREE: Missing from Shelby, NC - 14 Feb 2000 - Age 9

Discussion in 'Missing 2000 to 2009' started by SheWhoMustNotBeNamed, Sep 24, 2015.

  1. SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

    SheWhoMustNotBeNamed Administrator Staff Member

    Asha Degree has been missing from North Carolina since February 2000.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Asha was last seen inside her apartment in Shelby, North Carolina around 2:30 am on February 14, 2000. Asha's father said that was when he went to bed, and he checked on her at that time. Asha shared a room with her older brother who said he heard a noise in the early morning hours but just assumed Asha was tossing in her sleep. Asha's mother woke up around 6:30 am to get the kids up for school and found Asha gone. An immediate search of the surrounding area by law enforcement failed to find her.

    Two truck drivers reported seeing Asha walking south on Highway 18 north of Shelby between 3:30 and 4:15 am about a mile from her home. It appeared that she left the highway and walked off into the darkness. This was the last confirmed sighting of her.

    Authorities believe Asha left her room that night on her own accord, though the reasons are unclear. Her backpack and Tweety Bird purse were also missing from her room, along with some clothing. Some of her belongings were found near a toolshed on Highway 18, and more belongings were found near the stretch of road she was seen walking along the morning she disappeared.

    18 months after Asha disappeared, a contractor found Asha's backpack burind off of Highway 18. It had been double wrapped in a black trash bag more than 26 miles from her family's home in the opposite direction than she had been walking. The surrounding area was thoroughly searched but no additional information was found.

    Foul play is suspected in Asha's case, which remains unsolved. The FBI is offering a reward of up to $25,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for Asha Degree's disappearance.

    NCMEC - http://www.missingkids.com/poster/NCMC/879788/1

    NamUs - https://www.findthemissing.org/en/cases/2316

    FBI - https://www.fbi.gov/wanted/kidnap/asha-jaquilla-degree/view

    Charley Project - http://www.charleyproject.org/cases/d/degree_asha.html

    Last edited by a moderator: May 29, 2016
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  2. SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

    SheWhoMustNotBeNamed Administrator Staff Member

    After 15 years, family keeps searching for Asha Degree

    NBC Charlotte has learned fresh eyes are taking a new look at the Asha Degree missing person case and new information could be released in a couple of days.


    Find Asha Degree: FBI Offering $25K To Help Solve 15-Year-Old Missing Child Case

    “The theory is that some time during the night she gets up,” Cleveland County Sheriff’s Det. Pete Hamrick told ABC News (see the video above). “She walks out of the house and heads down 18 South towards Shelby. Several people say that they see her. But no one stops to make sure she’s okay. She runs off into the woods. And no one has seen her since.”

    Now the FBI is renewing efforts to find out what happened to Degree, who would have turned 24 this year. A $25,000 reward has been added for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever was responsible for her disappearance, FBI Charlotte public affairs specialist Shelley Lynch told NewsOne in an interview.

    “This has been an ongoing investigation for 15 years. We have not stopped investigating and we have continued to follow leads and to advance the case,” said Lynch. “We are assuming foul play was involved.”

    “Agents are going through the case from the beginning to look back at everything to see if there is anything different,” said Lynch.

    That includes the vital clue of Degree’s backpack.

    “That’s been a key point in the investigation,” said Lynch. “Part of what we are doing is making sure we have exhausted every lead. We may be retesting some of the evidence, because there have been many advances in forensics over the years.”

    Akoya, Uno2Much, spike and 2 others like this.
  3. Kimster

    Kimster Director Staff Member

    I hate to say it but this reminds me of somebody who lured her out of the house and then did something nefarious afterwards. Maybe they took her and got her involved in sex trafficking?

    What a beautiful girl!:tears:
    Akoya, Uno2Much, spike and 2 others like this.
  4. GarAndMo49

    GarAndMo49 Not A Sheeple

    I thought about that right away; I wish a SOMEONE would have stopped. She was only 9, and it was probably still dark. Sad, sad, sad. I hope they catch the creep that killed her (my assumption).
    Poor Asha:vigil:
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  5. Lily

    Lily Bronze Member

    The buried backpack is a real worry. Made we wonder is she too is buried out there, somewhere. I hope not, but who buries a child's backpack like that?
    Akoya, GarAndMo49, Kimster and 2 others like this.
  6. MadgeS

    MadgeS Bronze Member

    Again, why was a 9 year old walking around alone.
  7. Kimster

    Kimster Director Staff Member

    People don't get it? I continue to educate people in my community about the importance of keeping your children and yourself safe. And the elderly! They're the most trusting of all. At least I've got my mom scared enough to keep the alarm on even when she's home.

    You're right, 9 year olds can't go anywhere alone anymore.
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  8. SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

    SheWhoMustNotBeNamed Administrator Staff Member

    It appears that she snuck out. Trying to "run away". As much as a 9 year old can, anyway.

    According to the Charley Project link above, investigators do believe she left the house in the early morning hours on her own accord. They aren't sure why, but it mentions that her basketball team lost the day before, which she was upset about. She had also been reading The Whipping Boy in school in which two boys run away.

    I guess she could have been taken from her room, but then there are the witnesses that saw her, and the backpack of clothes missing. But there are those who believe she was never walking on the highway. Apparently it was raining heavily that night as well.

    Unfortunately, it looks like the WRONG person stopped. :(
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  9. MadgeS

    MadgeS Bronze Member

    Thanks for that great information.
    Akoya and GarAndMo49 like this.
  10. SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

    SheWhoMustNotBeNamed Administrator Staff Member

    Search continues for missing Shelby girl 16 years later

    Sunday marked 16 years since 9-year-old Asha Degree went missing from her Cleveland County home. the FBI is offering a $25,000 reward for information in the case. A community group is offering an additional $20,000 reward.

    For the past 15 years, her family has retraced the steps they believe she took before she disappeared on February 14, 2000.

    Nobody knows why Asha left her home in 2000, but her family says they haven't given up hope that they will be reunited with Asha someday. "Continue to pray for us because we do believe that she is still alive. We're still looking for a person to walk in and we know that one day we will see her again," Asha's mother Iquilla Degree said last year.

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  11. SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

    SheWhoMustNotBeNamed Administrator Staff Member

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  12. Summer_breeze

    Summer_breeze Blowing through the Jasmine in my mind


    Wednesday, May 25, 2016 03:59PM


    Asha Degree at 9 and at 24 with FBI age-generation software. (wsoctv via the FBI)

    The FBI is searching for a car that Asha may have gotten into.

    The FBI believes she might have gotten into a 1973 green Ford Lincoln or Thunderbird on NC Highway 18 when she was last seen in February 2000.
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  13. SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

    SheWhoMustNotBeNamed Administrator Staff Member

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  14. Kimster

    Kimster Director Staff Member

    I love how they call her Shelby's Sweetheart!

    Where are you, dear Asha?
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  15. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member


    The Search for Shelby's Sweetheart
    Sixteen years after Asha Degree disappeared, authorities in this Cleveland County town haven’t given up hope

    Published: 2016.08.01 05:22 AM


    IN THE EARLY MORNING HOURS of Valentine’s Day 2000, nine-year-old Asha Degree slipped away from her home north of Shelby.

    Overnight, a thunderstorm had swept through that section of Cleveland County. Fog shrouded a stretch of N.C. Highway 18 where two truck drivers spotted a little girl walking between 3:30 and 4:15 a.m. They told authorities she hurried off the road and disappeared into the darkness. That was the last confirmed sighting of Asha—about a mile south of her home on Oakcrest Drive near Fallston.

    Asha’s father, Harold Degree, told authorities that his daughter was asleep in bed when he turned in around 2:30 a.m. that morning. Asha’s mother, Iquilla, discovered her missing around 6:30 a.m.

    Three days later, searchers found her pencil, marker, and hair bow on the ground by a tool shed on N.C. 18 near the spot where the truck drivers saw her.

    Eighteen months after her disappearance, and 26 miles in the opposite direction on the same road, Asha’s book bag, with her name and telephone number written on it, was found wrapped in plastic trash bags in Burke County.

    Nobody knows for sure why the nine-year-old left home in the dead of night. Her mother knows she was disappointed that her Fallston Elementary School basketball team lost a game. And Asha’s fourth grade class had recently read Sid Fleischman’s Newberry Award-winning children’s book The Whipping Boy, which spins a tale about two boys who run away from home, but later return.

    But could the loss of a ballgame combined with an overactive imagination cause Asha to leave the security of home and steal away into the darkness of a foggy road?

    Every February, Asha’s family members hold a march from her home to the location where she was spotted by the truck drivers in 2000. Cleveland County authorities believe Asha was kidnapped, and her disappearance is still considered a missing persons case. Sixteen years later, the investigation remains active.

    “It’s continually worked,” Sheriff Alan Norman says. “We’re operating off leads within Cleveland County and outside the state. It’s the desire of everybody for that case to be closed.”

    The Federal Bureau of Investigation has been involved in the case from the beginning. Captain Joel Shores with the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office said that in 2015 the FBI contributed $25,000 toward a reward leading to information about what happened to Asha, and local funds were raised for a total of $45,000.

    In 2012, billboards went up around the Charlotte area with photos of Asha as a child and what she may look like as young woman in her 20s. Photos also went out on social media.

    “We decided, ‘OK, let’s start at the beginning. Let’s go back to day one,’ ” Shores says. “We may have missed something. Over the years we’ve had many eyes look at this case. And we’ve got more eyes looking now.”

    On May 25, 2016, National Missing Children’s Day, the Charlotte Division of the FBI and the Cleveland County Sheriff’s office announced that on the day Asha went missing, someone matching her description may have been seen getting into a distinctive vehicle along N.C. 18 where she was last seen. The vehicle was described as an early 1970s Lincoln Mark IV or possibly a Ford Thunderbird, dark green, with rust around the wheel wells. Shores says the information had been in the case file for years, but was “brought forward” when officers reopened the case and began looking at it from the beginning with fresh eyes. As officers continued looking into the possible sighting of Asha, the information “got to the level that the public needed to know.” Shores says.

    Retired Gastonia Police Chief Tim Adams, now a Cleveland County detective, works on the case; and Detective Jordan Bowen devotes most of his time to the investigation. Wendy Hughes of Charlotte started the blog “Finding Asha: Shelby’s Sweetheart.” Hughes uses the blog to take in tips, then relays them to the sheriff’s office.

    Iquilla Degree still believes she’ll see her daughter again. She and Harold still live at the same address and have kept the same phone number, just in case someone finds Asha, or she somehow finds her way back to them.

    “God’s going to get us through this,” Iquilla says. “I still don’t believe she’s dead. My daughter is the first thing on my mind when I wake up and the last thing when I lay down at night. And until I get closure, that’s the way it’ll be.”

    Joe DePriest is a writer living in Cramerton. He retired last year from The Charlotte Observer after more than 24 years as a reporter there. He can be reached atjdepriest@carolina.rr.com.
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    Akoya Bronze Member

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