Where is Asha Degree?
The disappearance of nine-year-old Asha Degree, on Valentine’s Day, 2000 in Shelby, North Carolina left everyone who knew her shaken. Her father checked on his two children around 2:30 am, after a car accident caused the neighbourhood’s power to go out. Asha was still sleeping then, but by 6:30 am she was gone – her brother said he’d heard her bed squeaking, but had assumed she was shifting in her sleep.
Asha was a diligent student, who was wary of strangers and there was no sign of forced entry to the Degree’s house. Police canine units could not detect her scent but two witnesses saw a girl matching her description at 4am, on Highway 18. One of them approached her but Asha ran away, heading into the woods.
Then the police located her hair bow, in a nearby shed, though an extensive search turned up nothing more. A year and a half later, her backpack was discovered by labourers in Burke County, 30 miles away from Asha’s home.
In 2004, the police received a tip from an inmate who said she was dead. He told where she was buried – but they searched and found only animal bones. Another tipster told police Asha had been spotted entering a green car, then in 2020, another prisoner claimed he’d heard someone saying they were responsible. The inmate was interviewed but nothing came of this lead.
This is a troubling case, but until she is found, no one can say what happened and we can only hope that one day Asha will be located, alive and well.