Asha Jaquilla Degree
Asha Degree vanished from Shelby, North Carolina in the early morning hours of Valentine's Day, February 14, 2000.
The nine year old girl was last seen by her family sleeping in her bed at approximately 2:30 a.m. At 4:00 a.m., two motorists reported seeing her walking along North Carolina Highway 18 in Shelby, North Carolina.
Eighteen months later, a construction worker found Asha's book bag buried in a wooded area along N.C. 18, about six miles south of Morganton in Burke County. Also found were several items that authorities identified as belonging to the missing girl. Her Tweety Bird purse and black backpack were found in a trash bag, with her pictures and housekey missing.
Asha's mother, Iquilla Degree, said even after all these years, she never gives up hope of seeing her daughter alive.
"We don't believe she's dead. We're looking for a person, OK? There's other people looking for remains, but we're looking for a person," she said.
Missing Since: February 14, 2000
Last Seen: Shelby, North Carolina
Age at Time of Disappearance: 9 years
Weight: 60 lbs
Traits and Habits: Asha is a very good student, loves athletics, and was active in her church
Scars/Marks: Asha has a chicken pox scar in the center of her forehead.
Last seen wearing: Asha is believed to have been wearing a white shirt with a teddy bear, bleached jeans, white Nike basketball/tennis shoes (size 3), a Tweety bird purse and a black backpack.
Please contact the Cleveland County Sheriff's Office at 704-484-4822
with information regarding this case.