Have You Seen Asha Degree? Missing Since Valentine's Day 2000
Investigators said Asha Degree vanished from her North Carolina home in 2000. Her family says the then fourth grader packed a bag and left in the middle of the night without her coat.
Asha's photo is shown age-progressed to 29 years. She was last seen by her family sleeping in her bed at approximately 2:30 a.m. on February 14, 2000. At 4:00 a.m., she was seen by motorists walking along North Carolina Highway 18 in Shelby, North Carolina.
The FBI, local police, and The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children are continuing their search for Asha Degree. She was only 9-years-old when she vanished without a trace from her Shelby, North Carolina home in the middle of the night.
Iquilla Degree, Asha's mom, spoke out to WPDE 22 years later about her daughter's case and about how horrific these times have been, “I wouldn’t wish this on nobody, not even my worst enemy. This is worse than death.”
Cleveland County Sheriff Chief Durwin Briscoe, who was among the first on the scene the morning Asha went missing, said he believes she would have walked out and went to the "left." This would have taken Asha to nearby Highway 18. Reports said over the years there were motorists who saw Asha walking around 4 a.m., but she was never seen again. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children said it's possible she was seen getting into a green vehicle.
The FBI produced a 20 minute video for Inside the FBI in which they interview officers investigating Asha’s case. Detective Tim Adams said that someone tried to help Asha that night, "At least one of these individuals said they’d tried to check on her, concerned about a young girl out on the highway by herself. But by the time the driver had turned around, Asha had gone into the woods, and the driver couldn’t see her anymore."
"She was always lighthearted, she tried to be funny, and she was always happy, always wore her hair in pigtails and ponytails. And she was just a very likable person and made friends with everyone," Adams added.
Asha had a brother who was only 11 months older than her. The pair loved to play basketball. "She played on a team from her elementary school, Fallston Elementary Bulldogs, and she was, from what we understand, one of the star players,” Adams said.
Because the case happened in 2000, Asha did not leave behind a digital footprint. According to reports, Degree's backpack was uncovered in trash bags more than a year after her disappearance.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children produced an image of what Asha Degree may look like today. If you have any information, please contact NCMEC at 1-800-THE-LOST.