NC NC - Asha Degree - 9 - Shelby - 14 Feb 2000 - #2

fourboys

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Asha Jaquilla Degree

DESCRIPTION
Date of Birth: August 5, 1990 Place of Birth: Shelby, North Carolina
Sex: Female Hair: Black
Height: 4'6" (at the time of her disappearance) Eyes: Brown
Weight: 60 pounds (at the time of her disappearance) Race: Black

THE DETAILS
Asha Jaquilla Degree has been missing from her home in Shelby, North Carolina since February 14, 2000. Asha's father last saw her at approximately 2:30 a.m. while she was asleep in her bedroom. By dawn, her parents were unable to locate her anywhere in the house.

REMARKS
Asha Degree's black bookbag and her black pocketbook with Tweety Bird on it were missing from her room. However, these items were located a few months later.

Poster from NCMEC:
NCMEC Redirection

Link to FBI website with photos:
http://www.fbi.gov/mostwant/kidnap/degree.htm

Thread #1
 
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dotr

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''Adams: About 16, 17 months afterwards, her bookbag that she was believed to be carrying when she left was found 20-some-odd miles north on Highway 18 in another county.

Grover: That’s Detective Adams again. He says that while that bookbag definitely belonged to Asha, some of the items inside didn’t belong to her.

Grover: One item was a book, McElligot’s Pool, by Dr. Seuss, that had actually been checked out from Asha’s elementary school. The other item was…

Adams: ...the New Kids on the Block T-shirt that we released the information and some pictures of a couple of years ago to see if someone knows where that came from or if they had children that may have had that shirt trying to identify who that belonged to or where it may have came from.

Grover: No matter how Asha left home, the fact remains: She was just a 9-year-old girl. Someone else has likely played a role in what happened to her.

Adams: Obviously a 9-year-old, even if they do choose to leave home for whatever reason, for her to have been not found for the last 22 years, someone had to help her. Someone had to have met or a planned meeting may have taken place or maybe some stranger came along as she was walking and picked her up.

Grover: In conversations with those assigned to Asha’s case, a strong theme emerges: Even though it’s been 22 years, this is not a cold case.

Here’s Detective Adams.

Adams: There has been work done on it regularly. It's not a cold case. It's a case that we continue to work. We wanna find answers. We wanna find out what happened to her. Her body has never been recovered. So, we're, along with her parents, we hope that she's alive. ''
 

Ozoner

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dotr said:
Grover: One item was a book, McElligot’s Pool, by Dr. Seuss, that had actually been checked out from Asha’s elementary school. The other item was…

Adams: ...the New Kids on the Block T-shirt that we released the information and some pictures of a couple of years ago to see if someone knows where that came from or if they had children that may have had that shirt trying to identify who that belonged to or where it may have came from.
Snipped.

Do we know what size the New-Kids-on-the-Block T-shirt was? Was it large enough to fit an adult male?

Maybe DNA could be extracted from it now. The techniques for doing that have improved dramatically since 2000.
 

Cupofcare

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Just realized it kind of echoes an event I had a few years ago. I went to visit my dad got afraid of him and he told me he wouldn't let me leave. Although I was an adult at the time. The escape was pretty dramatic. A friend nearby phoned him to tell him I was trying to leave the property & his car came speeding in the gate 10 min later. But what he didn't know was that someone was gonna pick me up..he had to go back to work and minutes later the white car came to pick me up..Maybe Asha was just scared of her dad ran away and maybe the green car driver was just a friend came to pick her up. Maybe she's somewhere living her best life.
 

lonewanderer

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There are two cases that remind me of Asha's.

Two a lesser degree, Skylar Neese. Her two friends lured her out of her house and killed her, and she left through her window.

The other case is Nicole Levell. She was 13, and left her house through her window as well. This took place in Virginia and she was found in North Carolina. She was lured out by a man she met on a well known grooming app, and had met in person before. The man, along with a woman, co-conspired to kill Nicole after they decided she was a liability. One interesting thing of note is that Nicole was specifically asked to bring a backpack, similar to how Asha left with a backpack.

Nicole's case had a lot of similarities to Skylar's, as they were both lured out to people who had cars waiting and running, were both killed and left in the cold, and the perps were more or less both caught because of poorly disposed of cleaning supplies.

Nicole was from Virginia but was found in NC. Skylar was from West Virginia but was found in PA.

Using this venn diagram based on these two cases, I wonder what the odds are that Asha's remains are in another state, she was lured out of the house via internet communications, she knew her abducters, and there was two or more people involved?
 

lonewanderer

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A nine year old being active on the internet would have been unusual enough in the year 2000 that it would have probably been reported, assuming the family even had internet at all.
Excellent point.

There is a few things about her situation that are completely polar opposite in the other two from comparisons.

The ages are quite different and time periods are much different in comparison.
 

Ozoner

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Excellent point.

There is a few things about her situation that are completely polar opposite in the other two from comparisons.

The ages are quite different and time periods are much different in comparison.
I don't think that she was lured via the internet, but someone could have approached her in a different way and lured her.

It doesn't sound like she was picked up in a car. That makes me wonder if she was lured by someone who wasn't old enough to drive—a teen or pre-teen boy, for instance.
 

evilwise

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I don't think that she was lured via the internet, but someone could have approached her in a different way and lured her.

It doesn't sound like she was picked up in a car. That makes me wonder if she was lured by someone who wasn't old enough to drive—a teen or pre-teen boy, for instance.
Considering it was Valentine's Day I have little doubt it was something she perceived as romantic.

The internet has created an entirely new dimension to insulate children from strangers and these days I think most parents have a decent understanding of it and there was like a whole decade where they didn't but 2000 was well before, when monitoring a child was pretty much entirely about keeping an eye on them.

In the obvious absence of any "admirers" known by the parents/guardians, and 22 years later the case won't be solved that way. It'll either be by public knowledge of the details that someone might connect to some anecdote someone else remarked to them or by genetic genealogy. As you pointed out earlier (and I haven't become accustomed yet to thinking of) its probably about time to go over the contents of that backpack again for DNA. I don't think missing persons cases get quite as high a priority as murders (rape/murders are basically the prime candidates to be sobbed by DNA) but technology is progressing.

For weal or for woe, in another decade or two it'll probably be possible to tell everyone who's ever been anywhere.
 

Ozoner

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Considering it was Valentine's Day I have little doubt it was something she perceived as romantic.
Snipped.

If it was something she perceived as romantic, then she might not have been lured; it might have been her idea. It could have been something as simple as wanting to leave a card or gift on someone's porch—perhaps anonymously.

She might have simply had the misfortune of running into a predator or being struck and killed in a hit and run.

On a darker note, if she was being molested by someone (like a pastor or coach), she might have perceived that as a romantic relationship, and she might have showed up uninvited at that person's house for Valentine's Day and been killed because the perp decided that Asha had become a nuisance or because he realized that Asha's behavior was going to expose him.
 

EphemerallyAya

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Just realized it kind of echoes an event I had a few years ago. I went to visit my dad got afraid of him and he told me he wouldn't let me leave. Although I was an adult at the time. The escape was pretty dramatic. A friend nearby phoned him to tell him I was trying to leave the property & his car came speeding in the gate 10 min later. But what he didn't know was that someone was gonna pick me up..he had to go back to work and minutes later the white car came to pick me up..Maybe Asha was just scared of her dad ran away and maybe the green car driver was just a friend came to pick her up. Maybe she's somewhere living her best life.
I’m glad you’re okay. Only problem with that in this case is that Asha was only nine. A friend her age could not drive, so the only ones picking her up in a car would be older teenagers or adults. What kind of friend would a nine year old have that would suspect enough harm to remove her from the situation - but not contact police? Imo, not a good one.
 

aThousandYearsWide

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In my theories (in if was a predatory-grooming situation) it could have been someone associated with the family (aunt/cousin's boyfriend). Asha would know that person and likely not fear them. Or someone related to basketball or a friend's parent. If I remember correctly her aunt lived in the same neighborhood not far away from her home. Could her relatives home have been the destination that night? She had a sleepover with her teenage cousins recently. Could one of them had a secret older boyfriend that came over late that night? I don't think they would reveal that information to authorities at the time. I think they should re-interview everyone that Asha was in contact with in the days before her disappearance.
 

Jawds78

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With her packing her basketball stuff, being upset about just losing a game, and being a people pleaser- I wonder if someone offered 'help' to get her to be a better player. Then she could come back and surprise impress everybody (a lure of course). Just a thought to add to the mix, cause nothing about this one is close to obvious. I truly hope they figure this out soon.
 

Sweetluv

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Checking in....
Wish there was more info on this greenish colored car...who came forward and why do they think it could be connected to Asha?
The area where the bookbag was found...does anyone know if the area is wooded or built over now? Did a search for Asha take place around where the bookbag was placed?
 

Gloomy Bear

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A nine year old being active on the internet would have been unusual enough in the year 2000 that it would have probably been reported, assuming the family even had internet at all.
I agree that Asha was probably not on the internet. IIRC her family said they didn't have a computer at the house. But when I was 9 in 2000, me and all my friends were on the internet. AOL even had chatrooms dedicated to kids (I believe it was for kids 12 and under because the teens had their own segment of chatrooms). You could have little colorful profiles and everything. Also Neopets was a big thing among younger children back then on the internet.
 

dotr

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1973 Ford Thunderbird (Source: FBI)

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1973 Lincoln Mark IV (Source: FBI)

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February 16th 2022 rbbm.
''The FBI reports on Valentine's Day back in 2000, 9-year-old Asha Degree disappeared from her home in Cleveland County, North Carolina.

The fourth-grader is believed to have left in the middle of the night.

"I still believe my daughter is alive," Iquilla Degree, Asha's mother told the FBI. "I do not believe she is dead. And I know somebody knows something. I’m not crazy enough to think that a 9-year-old can disappear into thin air."

''Witnesses say they saw her walking along Highway 18, within a few miles of her home. A tipster reported she possibly got into a car.

''More than a year after her disappearance, Asha’s backpack turned up at a construction site 30 miles away. Inside was a Dr. Seuss children’s book from her school library and a New Kids On The Block concert T-shirt that did not belong to her, officials say.''

"We’re hoping and we’re praying that she’s had a halfway decent life anyway, even though we didn't get to raise her," Asha's mother told the FBI. "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."

Investigators believe the car that may have picked Asha up was a 1970s-model Lincoln Continental Mark-4 or a Ford Thunderbird with rust around the wheel wells''.
 

PommyMommy

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DEC 30, 2022

Asha Degree
  • Shelby, North Carolina
  • Went Missing: Feb. 14, 2000
  • Status: Pending
More than two decades ago, then-9-year-old Asha Degree walked away from her family’s home in rural North Carolina in the middle of the night, and hasn’t been found since. Her backpack was eventually found in trash bags 18 months later. However, the Dr. Suess library book and New Kids on the Block T-shirt found in the bag were not Degree’s. Degree went missing while her family was asleep — she packed her bookbag, snuck out of the house and disappeared. Known as “Shelby’s Sweetheart,” Degree’s disappearance rocked the city.

Anyone with information about the disappearance of Asha Degree can call the tip line at 704-672-6100 or the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at 800-THE-LOST.
 
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