NC NC - Asha Degree, 9, Shelby, 14 Feb 2000

Discussion in '2000's Missing' started by fourboys, Nov 10, 2004.

  1. CCD

    CCD Member

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    I was under the impression she was dressed in all white - maybe the headlights of the cars illuminated her so she was visible?


    You-tuber Cayleigh Elise just did a great overview of the case if anyone is interested;

    https://youtu.be/eYvbQvVMM4k
     


  2. aThousandYearsWide

    aThousandYearsWide Well-Known Member

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    I believe some sick perv played off her latest basketball game loss. They lured her in with the ruse that they would give her lessons to get better, hence why she packed her basketball uniform. She also had a more formal outfit in her bag, which makes me think that it was for Valentine's Day (also her parents anniversary). My thought is whomever picked her up from her house started being inappropriate with her and she fled the car (which would be why she was jacketless if she left in a car, and also why she would be seen walking down a highway in pouring rain).

    The identity of the offender is difficult to say because Asha was sheltered and didn't have internet, wasn't allowed to answer the phone, etc. she was closely watched from accounts I've read, and the only places she could have met someone was church, basketball practice, school, or from her bus stop to her house. Of course there still is the possibility of a family friend, neighbor, or relative. She is described as shy so it had to be someone she trusted. I'm thinking it was someone that knew her family well. They likely had her pack a bag for the very reason to make it seem she ran away to throw off investigation.

    I've walked through the route from her home to the location of the last sighting on google maps and I don't think she walked all that way. It is a rural road which would have made it practically pitch black and Asha was afraid of the dark. I was the same age as Asha when she went missing and I remember being afraid to walk in my backyard at night. It was heavily wooded and so was the highway Asha went missing on. The woods at night are scary when you're a kid, you feel like something will reach out and grab you. I don't think she'd walk along it unless she was in "fight or flight" and in danger.

    And the whole Whipping Boy book theory, I was reading that same book at the time. The kids that run away in the book had someone with them, another child. Maybe interviewing her friends would bring something to light. Maybe if there was another child planning it as well they were too scared to come forward at the time. A 9 year old would probably think they were going to jail for the rest of their life. Just my 2 cents on that theory, but unlikely, but not impossible.

    Contents of the book bag
    Clothing:
    • Favorite Jeans with Red Side Stripe
    • Long-Sleeved White Nylon Shirt
    • Red Vest with Black Trim
    • Black Overalls with Tweety Bird
    • Black & White Long-Sleeved Shirt
    • Basketball Uniform

    Other Items Included:
    • Lime Green Tweety Bird Purse
    • Black Shoes
    • Asha’s Wallet
    • 3 Family Photos
    • House Key
     
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  3. aThousandYearsWide

    aThousandYearsWide Well-Known Member

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    That is a good point! I never thought about that. There was a storm that night that caused a blackout in her area.
     
  4. aThousandYearsWide

    aThousandYearsWide Well-Known Member

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    I found an old post I had on a reddit thread for her case

    Theory 1: What if she actually did leave on her own accord?

    We will never know what she might have been thinking; although, her actions before poofing into thin air don't fit with this assumption. However, it may have been a spur of the moment decision she made while she was laying in bed unable to fall back asleep. (Maybe started thinking about The Whipping Boy?)
    circumstances that could suggest this:
    • The door was locked after she left An opened door would point to abduction.
    • the route she took was the same as her bus Although the road is the only route into town, most linked roads were residential.
    • she was reading a book about running away at the time I reading the Whipping boy in my class at the same time, which looking back is eerie. I remember thinking at 9 years old the book being borderline inappropriate and dark. In my mind the book could easily be misinterpreted by children. "oh, I didn't get my way or I don't like the way you treated me, so I'll run away and have a good time, and come back later".
    • she was upset about losing her basketball game days prior people make irrational decisions when they are upset, especially children. Her family may have said she got over her lost game hours later, but it was probably still on the forefront of her mind.
    • clothing was missing from her room In particular her basketball uniform, why this is significant to me is because of her being upset about losing her last game. Maybe she wasn't able to sleep because she couldn't stop thinking of that game [her brother heard that she was awake possibly tossing and turning. Maybe she never went back to bed?]. In her 9 year old mind state, maybe she decided to go practice at a basketball court nearby, (Since she was assumed to be following her bus route, maybe her bus passed a court close by?). Since she brought extra clothes maybe she decided to stay there until she considered herself good enough?
    • Could parent's anniversary have any significance? A thought is maybe she forgot about her families anniversary or forgot to get a present and ventured out to get one? She woke up and spur of the moment was like "I'm going to do this, and they will be so surprised!" I remember determination being strong at that age, if the determination for a task was strong enough, it was easy to not think about the possible limitations.


    Theory 2: She was coerced by someone to leave and meet them.
    This is likely possible because of how her book bag was found. The fact that it was both buried and wrapped in trash bags suggest foul play and that her disappearance wasn't voluntary, and if not, not completely voluntary.
    My personal thoughts on why she would leave with someone is that it was likely someone she trusted. Sources I've read say she was closely monitored, but what about the people she'd be around when she wasn't around her family (like bus drivers, schools staff/janitors, neighbors she passes walking to the bus stop [her brother could confirm that one], church members, friend's parents, basketball coaches, etc.) Family would most certainly have their guard down around people they trusted (which is horrifying to think the family knows who did it and has no clue) like family or close family friends.
    Also worth mentioning: was she allowed to answer the phone? I remember a case where a pedophile would call little girls to ask to take them shopping for gifts for their mother's. I can't remember the little girl's name but can picture her face. Maybe this same thing happened to Asha?
    (The case I'm mentioning here is the 1989 murder of Amy Mihaljevic .)
    Circumstances that could suggest this:
    • Her brother remembers her being awake at a certain time Although, it's not consistent with her actions before bed if she were waiting for someone, unless that's why she was waiting in the living room.
    • the items in her bag are interesting (The fact of how many clothes and the family pictures). My thought on this was she was promised something from someone, like a sleepover, and what I personally think, that someone who knew of her lost basketball game promised to give her lessons to get better (her basketball uniform was packed). This person could be linked to her basketball game/team in some way. Saw her upset, maybe she left to go to the bathroom and the person talked to her on the way there. The person told her they would give her lessons and to pack a bag, told her what to bring, the clothing suggests it was to be a few days. "Oh and don't tell your parents, it's a surprise, they'll be so happy when you win your next game". The pictures indicate to me, the person maybe told her to bring them to make a collage or artwork out of them for her parents anniversary/Valentine's present since she'll have to miss it to have her 'lessons'.
    • her being on the highway in unbearable conditions without a jacket My thought is she left in a car, because she didn't bring a jacket. Maybe whoever was inappropriate with her on the way to wherever they were going, and she bolted from the car. Maybe the whole no jacket thing was because where she was going it wasn't needed. My thought goes with the whole coercion with 'basketball lessons' theory I have. Maybe it's a school staff member who coerced her with the promise of camping out in the school gym to practice? Since the next day was a school day, maybe the extra clothes were for school the next day?
    • the location of the book bag The fact it was buried in the opposite direction and many miles distance away from where she was last seen.
    • the state of how the book bag was found Highly suggests second-party involvement. Ever hear that if the killer knew their victim they cover them when they are disposed of? Would this also ably to the victim's items? I also think it could have been planted to be found later, the killer likely wanted it to be found. It seems odd to bury something in an area that is undiggable without tools for the hell of it or for safe keeping. Some have suggested they buried them because it was risky to keep something with her name on it where they were living. This suggests they likely live with someone (roommate, wife/husband, family), and also that they don't have kids (if they really wanted to keep the bag as a trophy, they could just put the bag in the attic hidden with their kids stuff. Think about it, if they have kids, a book bag along with everything else in storage wouldn't seem so out of place). They definitely wanted to stir with the investigation by placing it there. Maybe the case wasn't featured in the media for a while and they were getting a rise out of hearing about their own crime. Maybe the whole runaway theory took his responsibly for the crime away, he wanted people to know he did this without outing himself.


    Theory 3: Maybe it was an inside job? (least likely) Don't actually think her family had anything to do with this
    (the least likely, because the family was immediately ruled out as suspects) But think about it, this has happened in other cases. A child is accidentally killed and the parents/siblings/etc panic and quickly dispose of their remains in fear of it not seeming like an accident. They think irrationally and manically, like the police will never believe the whole "she bumped her head in the right place" story and "I'll be going to prison and everybody will disown me for thinking I killed my own child/sibling". The disposing of her and making it seem like she ran away seems like a better outcome then prison.
    Circumstances that could suggest this:
    • her front door was locked Maybe she never made it out of the house in the first place. They really should have fingerprinted the door maybe? Dusted for footprints to see if she ever walked out the door. This theory would suggest the witnesses were mistaken. They reported it many hours after-the-fact and false reports like that can happen.
    • family members were the last "confirmed" to have seen her In particular her father and brother. If either did it, I'm sure it was accidental. Her brother did hear her shuffling around or something. Maybe she hit her head? Maybe the father (being the last conscious to have seen her) carried her from the couch to her bed, and accidentally hits her head on something. She passes out and he changes her into her pajamas and checks on her later? If it were a family member I'd think it were the father. Just because he was the last to see her, door was locked, had a car to dispose of evidence, last to be awake in the house, and I didn't read anything about the wife remembering when he came to bed. Circumstantial only, not because I think he did anything. Usually the parents remain suspects for a while if something in the case seems fishy, so I wonder why they were immediately ruled out.
    • the state of how the book bag was found (Pretty much same as in last theory.) The bag was concealed, possibly suggesting the person who buried it knew the victim. (Also could be conserving the bags contents.) If Asha was accidentally killed, they'd have to stage the run away theory by packing the bag (her favorite clothes were packed, information a parent would know), and making sure it was eventually found, so they'll never be suspected.
    • the items found near the shed seem staged Turner Upholstery is the first business on the route that has a long driveway where they could drive in and plant the items without being noticed.
      (I'll say this again, I don't actually think her family had anything to do with this)
    Theory 4: She was abducted from her house.
    (No evidence that points to this.) Maybe the abductor gave her directions, like to pack a bag (making it seem a runaway case, a 9 yr old though?).
    The fact the door was locked after she left stumps me the most. It indicates she likely left on her own, unless someone ordered her to lock it, or she never left the house to begin with.
     
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  5. aThousandYearsWide

    aThousandYearsWide Well-Known Member

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    Also from my reddit post, questions I have on the case
    • Was the book bag located anywhere near her school or any other noteworthy locations? Theorizing someone relating to her school/basketball team/prior game was involved. The school she had her last game at? I have looking up the schools and both Asha's school and the middle school she had her basketball game at were located in the opposite direction Asha was last seen.
    • How exactly were the parent's completely ruled out so early in the case? Don't think they are responsible, but it's always important to consider every avenue. The book bag contents would make most sense if this were the case. Parent's know their children's favorite clothes, also a parent might be aware of the book she was reading in school. The picture thing could be an adults view on what a child might think if they were running away. She seemed very close to her family; thus, contradicting the runaway theory altogether.
    • Was she allowed to answer/use the phone? Ever heard of the Amy Mihaljevic case? Could something similar have happened to Asha?
    • Did she have any close friends she'd have sleepovers with/visit their house often? Opens up more suspect possibilities. A friend's family would be people she'd be around often.
    • Did she have a creepy uncle or family member with anything off about them? I know some family members lived close by; was anyone staying over at any of their homes that night? A teenage cousin's friend (who is now a registered sex offender)? Did the family members all share spare keys just in case their children forget theirs one day? Also what about the neighbors? If Asha did have a sketchy family member, this would make sense to someone coercing Asha with a surprise party for her parents. A family member would know her parent's anniversary and also be in attendance at the party. Asha wouldn't know anything was up if her uncle/aunt/cousin was orchestrating the party. Also worth mentioning, Asha had lunch at her aunt's house after church the day she went missing. Who all was there, and was anyone left alone with Asha? The only thing that doesn't add up with it being family is why did she end up supposedly all the way near Turner Upholstery if family lived down the street? A possible way to divert the investigation from pointing in their direction?
     
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  6. aThousandYearsWide

    aThousandYearsWide Well-Known Member

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    More from reddit. A description of her route, the highway, and possible explanation to why the witnesses waited to come forward..

    The highway thing is horrifying to me; I actually have done a walk through on google maps of her 'assumed' route, from her street to Turner Upholstery. I was just curious if she passed by any businesses. The highway is a two lane road in an extremely rural area. She would have passed (assuming she walked the whole way) by country residences, cornfields, livestock, and a church; there was also a lot of open field-type areas so it wasn't all woods she was walking by.

    About the fact that only two drivers saw her, I've gone to several concerts in Charlotte (45 mins from Shelby) and would drive back home all night instead of getting a hotel. Along the way I've taken very similar rural highways, and they'd be pretty much vacant; occasionally you'll see one or two other cars if any. I'd say in bad weather the number of cars likely decreases. When you think of highways you'll usual think of major highways, like I pictured Asha walking on at first, but keep in mind this was a rural two-lane highway and not likely as busy as huge highways to begin with.

    Regarding the two drivers that witnessed Asha walking along the highway, I have read a lot of questions to why they didn't report their sightings until after seeing the news reports; these rural roads go on and on seemingly forever and in my experience driving on them at 2-4am you start seeing things. I don't know the drivers schedule's or anything, but for me driving that late and tired, the mail boxes started looking like people or figures. So maybe they were towards the end of their graveyard shifts and were getting tired, questioning if what they saw was even there. The fact two different people separately reported seeing her is telling. It means that it was likely her on the highway or someone fitting her description. But why? Until we get a confession or a new person comes forward we may never know.
     
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  7. aThousandYearsWide

    aThousandYearsWide Well-Known Member

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    I've been doing a little research.
    • The route she assumingly took that night is exactly 1 mile which would have taken someone approximately 20 mins depending on walking speed.
    • Of note is that the route in question is the same as her bus route to school, and her school is 5 minutes in the other direction of her house (45 min walk, 2.3 miles).
    • Her book bag was found in an construction sight off Highway 18 near Morgantown which is about 30 minutes or so away from where she was last seen.

    (pointing out the obvious)The book bag being double wrapped points to someone being directly involved in her disappearance. Either they coerced her to leave or she left and met with foul play.

    Here's what we do know:
    Feb 11th She spent all day at her Aunt's house, and later had basketball practice
    Feb 12th Had her first game of the season in which her team loses
    Feb 13th She spends time at a relatives house (probably her aunts) and attends church with her family
    Feb 14th She's missing sometime between 2:30 (dad checks on her) and 3:45 (when she is sighted by a motorist)

    Here is a list of people who could be involved (by people she'd be around and likely could trust):
    • Basketball coach or someone who was at her game
    • School janitor/someone who worked around/or nearby her school
    • Bus driver
    • a friend's parent or older sibling
    • a neighbor (someone who may she her daily on her walk home from her bus stop)
    • a friend of her parents/relative (could one of her relatives, let's say an adult cousin, had invited a new boyfriend or friend to her aunt's house?)
    • Someone from her church
    • and unrelated to her, a person who saw her and acted on opportunity
     
  8. aThousandYearsWide

    aThousandYearsWide Well-Known Member

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    Construction site not sight.
     
  9. John.121

    John.121 New Member

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    So she was at church the day before she went missing. I'm in the UK so i'm not familiar with how US churches work but i know here the churches usually have other activities and events going on with them (especially in the black community). Sunday School and stuff like that. I'd be interested to know if she was involved in anything at her church where she attended without the parents. Maybe she met someone at one of these 'clubs'/events/after school activities and was groomed by them. Packing photos of her family makes me think she was told to come somewhere and they'd make a special card or special present for her parent's anniversary or something.
     
  10. dotr

    dotr Well-Known Member

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    Bumping.
    http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/article132471894.html
    February 13, 2017
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     

    Attached Files:

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  11. Sweetgrits

    Sweetgrits New Member

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    I've allways wondered why her backpack was wrapped in plastic before being buried. If someone was trying to hide it then why plastic. It would deteriorate quicker without that protection. Was someone deliberately trying to preserve it and why? This case is local for me and I think of Asha.
     
  12. dotr

    dotr Well-Known Member

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    Somehow this case makes me imagine that Asha was taken and kept as a kind of child bride, I am hopeful that she may actually be alive.
    The items belonging to her were wrapped and seemly placed to be found intact and perhaps to throw off an investigation.
    Wouldn't a random child killer just burn, keep or throw those items in the trash?

    Asha seemed to be somewhat prepared to leave her home, maybe the abductor made sure that she would be seen walking along the highway?
    Asha apparently was a quiet and shy girl which may have made her very compliant and of continued desirability to the perp?

    Valentine's Day is pivotal to the kidnapping/coercion " relationship "scenario about which i am speculating.
    Maybe somebody, somewhere might notice a young woman with a resemblance to Aisha, accompanied by an older man who owns, or once owned a 1970's Lincoln Mark IV or Ford Thunderbird, dark green, with rust around the wheel wells?
    Speculation, imo.
     
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  13. John.121

    John.121 New Member

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    I'm not sure how heavy i buy into her book bag being wrapped in plastic as being a big significance as far as what happened to her. Maybe the abductor just wrapped it in plastic because of the rain at the time he took her? At that point he's still trying to gain her trust and be on her good side. So if she gets in his car and says "look all my stuff got wet" he says "don't worry here we'll put this plastic over it to keep it dry" or something like that.

    After whatever happens to her he buries the backpack later on but doesn't bother to take the wrapping off it.
     
  14. aThousandYearsWide

    aThousandYearsWide Well-Known Member

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    Sometimes killers plant evidence to deliberately be found. The zodiac killer would send in letters to the newspaper and the BTK killer would also send letters, but stash them in secret places to be found. Attached to some letters would be personal affects of the latest victim (driver's license etc.) He eventually got caught because of this when he sent in a floppy disk which got traced back to him.

    Whoever buried her book bag seemed to want it to be found. In some accounts I've read that where it was buried in the construction site, heavy duty tools were needed to bury it (it was unearthed by a grader machine). I wonder if they interviewed any of the construction crew workers.
     
  15. aThousandYearsWide

    aThousandYearsWide Well-Known Member

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    I never even though about church activities, thank you! I had the same idea about why she had the pictures with her. Someone else speculated that since she packed multiple changes of clothes that maybe one was for school the next day. Could they have been making Valentine's at school for their families?

    Back to church, I live in North Carolina (not saying all churches here are the same or anything) but when I was a kid my church would have the beginning of the service for the whole family, then mid-service they would call all the children to the front and we were all walked to Sunday school.

    Another good question would be what days she has basketball practice. She also had her uniform in her book bag.
     
  16. aThousandYearsWide

    aThousandYearsWide Well-Known Member

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    I like that, sometimes in these cases it is hard to say what is and isn't significant. I wonder if they got a timeline for when construction was going on in that location, because it could potentially tell us likely when whoever decided to bury it.
     
  17. urlildove

    urlildove New Member

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    I agree, I think it's interesting if you consider how many killers, especially of children, take souvenirs. Could also point to an accidental killing that someone took a lot of effort to cover up.
     
  18. dotr

    dotr Well-Known Member

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    This is a fantastic link, imo. much food for thought!
    https://findingashadegree.wordpress...e-clothes-asha-was-wearing-what-they-tell-us/
    Why would Asha perhaps be requested to wear white and not bring a coat?
    Some speculation, imo.
    -Ahsa's coat was hanging up in an area where others would hear her take it.
    -If Asha was taken to a warm climate by plane for example, she would not stand out and appear to be dressed as one of the locales.
    -Someone was waiting with a new coat for Aisha to wear.
    -Some religions/groups, encourage the exclusive use of white clothing.
     
  19. hiiw

    hiiw New Member

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    I have been following Asha's case for some time now. Something about it has really stuck with me - it just seems impossible that 17 years after her disappearance, LE still haven't been able to make any arrests.

    I thought this quote from the 13/02/2017 Charlotte Observer article was interesting:
    http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/article132471894.html

    Gives me hope that investigators are still meeting on a weekly basis. That suggests to me that the agencies involved have more information than they are able or willing to reveal to the general public. Hopefully this means that they have some leads on people known to the Degree family (JMO, but I do believe the theory that Asha was abducted by someone she knew and trusted).

    The car is interesting, especially the detail about rust around the wheel wells. If this witness saw the vehicle on the night of Asha's disappearance, how would they have been able to see the car well enough in the dark and rain to notice the rusting? Why does this detail stick with them 17 years on? Do they know more than they are divulging, or indeed, does LE know more about this vehicle than they are willing to reveal? Lots of interesting questions surrounding this new information. I can only hope that someone, somewhere, knows the whereabouts of this vehicle.

    Possibly entirely unrelated, but sparked my interest: in Europe, there is a law detailing the right to be forgotten which came into effect a few years ago. When googling "Asha Degree", the following message is displayed at the end of the search results:
    This then leads to a page detailing the law, as follows (extract only):
    Now, this is probably a stretch, but I do wonder who (if anyone) has requested articles surrounding Asha's case be removed from google search results in Europe? The motivation for this is unclear, as the case is a North American one. I'm unsure as to whether Google simply displays this message in search results pertaining to any missing person case, but I thought it was interesting enough to share.
     

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