Shelby, NC

22 years ago, a 9-year old girl vanished on Valentine’s Day and never came home.

Akhil Aravind

Asha Jaquilla Degree, a nine-year-old, went missing from Shelby, North Carolina, on 14th February 2000. She is the daughter of Harold and Iquilla Degree.

Asha was studying in fourth grade at the nearby Fallston Elementary school. She and her brother, O'Bryant, were in their Aunt’s house on February 11 since Cleveland schools were closed and the Degree’s had to work. From there, the children went to the basketball practice in the school.

The next day, Asha’s team lost their first game of the season, and, like her teammates, she was upset about it. Her parents said that she seemed to have gotten over it later.

Asha’s brother told the investigators that he heard the bed squeak in the middle of the night on February 14th and dismissed it thinking she was just shifting in bed. This could be when she packed her bag with clothes and personal items and left the house.

A truck driver and a motorist reported seeing her between 3:45 and 4:15 a.m on the North Carolina Highway 18. The motorist said that he had turned the car around because it felt strange to see a small child on the road at that hour. She ran into the woods when she saw him going towards her, and no one has seen her since then.

Asha Degree’s backpack was found buried between two trash bags 18 months later (August 2001).

“I wouldn’t wish this on nobody, not even my worst enemy. This is worse than death”, said Asha’s mother.

Sadly, this is the Degree’s 22nd Valentine’s Day without their daughter.


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