Iquilla and Harold Degree, Asha’s parents, discovered their daughter missing on the morning of February 14th. They went to wake up Asha for school and quickly realized she wasn’t in the house. Her parents called 911, and thus began the search for Asha that has not ceased to this day.
The Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office in North Carolina found that some of Asha’s personal items were also missing: she had packed a bag with some clothes and seemed to have left the house on her own accord. But no one knows why. Asha was a shy young girl with no disciplinary issues. There was no evidence that she had planned to meet someone that night and doing so would have been extremely out of character.
In the time since that cold February morning, there have been clues found along that same highway where she was last seen; Asha’s hair bow was found in a shed on a nearby property; her backpack was found 30 miles away in the opposite direction; in 2015 a tipster reported they saw a girl get into a green car the night she went missing. Law enforcement has exhausted each lead that has come in, but Asha has yet to be found. They’re hoping someone will come forward with the information they need to solve this case.
Tim Adams, a former Detective with the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office, came out of retirement to lead the new probe into Asha’s case. According to the FBI, there have been 45 leads investigated in the past year alone. Law enforcement agencies are now approaching the case with new eyes and increased urgency, treating this 20-year-old case as if it happened just yesterday.
The Degree family has never let go of the hope that Asha is alive out there somewhere. “We’re hoping and we’re praying that she’s had a halfway decent life even though we didn't get to raise her,” Iquilla said. “She was 9 years old, and she’ll be 30 this year. So we’ve missed everything. But I don’t care. If she walked in the door right now, I wouldn’t care what I missed. All I want to do is see her.”
At the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, our forensic artists have produced this age-progressed image of what Asha might look like now, at 29 years old.
If you have any information about Asha Degree, please call the tip line at (704) 672-6100 or the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST, that’s 1-800-843-5678.
Asha Degree’s Missing poster: http://www.missingkids.org/poster/NCMC/879788/1/screen