Unsolved – Asha Degree

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Asha Degree was a 9 year old girl, who is now estimated to be about 28 years old. She has been missing for over 17 years with little to no trace as to where she may be. Asha was described as a happy girl who had lots of friends, played basketball, and received good grades. She was part of a family of four. Her two parents are Harold and Aquila Degree. Her brother is O’Brien Degree. The Degree family’s purpose in life was family, friends, and church which was the lifestyle Asha had grown up in. The family lived in Shelby, North Carolina. Asha had gone missing on Valentine’s Day of 2000, her parents’ anniversary. The night before she disappeared, her father had been working the night shift until 11:30 PM. While he was at work, Aquila recalls laying the kids down for bed around 8:00 pm. When Harold returned home, he checked on the kids around 12:30 AM and saw them both in their rooms. He then proceed to watch television until 2:30 AM . That night, there was a massive rain storm that caused all of Shelby, NC’s power to go out. This occurred while the children were at rest.

At some time between 2:30 AM and 5:45 AM, Asha had woke up and packed her school bag full of clothes, candy, and notebook paper. When Aquila woke up at 5:45 AM, she noticed her Asha was not in her bed and panicked. The family called the police and they arrived at 6:45 AM. Family, friends, and neighbors dropped everything they were doing and went on a search for Asha, but found no trace of her whereabouts. Asha’s missing person case was put on T.V and two drivers called the station saying they witnessed her walking down Highway 180 around 4:00 AM in the pouring rain. This was extremely odd to her family. Why would she want to run away?

Later that day, another driver had called saying they tried to approach Asha, but she was frightened and bolted into the woods. No one has seen Asha since. A few days prior to her disappearance, Asha had a basketball game that she ended up losing. After the game she and a few other teammates cried over the loss. Many people questioned if that was the reason Asha had ran away, but her family saw that as unlikely. At this point in the case, no one truly believed she was abducted. Later that day, police brought out search dogs, but none could pick up her scent on the highway.

On February 17, the police found a shed that was in the middle of the woods directly where Asha was said to run off to. In the shed they found candy wrappers, pens, pencils, paper, and a Mickey Mouse hair tie. All of these items were proven to be hers.

The trail went cold for months after this discovery.

In August of 2001, police found Asha’s book bag at a construction sight in Morganington, North Carolina. A weird part of the finding was that Asha’s bag was placed within two trash bags. It looked as if someone was trying to keep it safe. In the bag, there were two changes of clothes and her basketball uniform. The bag also contained pictures of her family in it. The FBI took the bag, but there has been no released information on it.

In May of 2016, police gained a possible lead and asked the public to look for cars that were either a 1970s Lincoln Continental Mk IV, colored dark green or possibly a Ford Thunderbird from the same time. To this day, the police and family are still receiving tips as to where Asha may be. To honor Asha her family has created a scholarship in her name, and also started a walk for her. Her family hopes to find closure in what has been the hardest journey of their lives.
If you have any information or have seen Asha Degree please notify the Shelby Police Department.
Let’s bring Asha home.