Asha Degree was a happy, loved 9-year-old girl, who on a stormy February 14, 2000 disappeared in the predawn hours from her long-time home in Shelby N.C. Despite ground, air and K-9 searches, no one other than two motorists who later called in a possible sighting of Asha had any clues for authorities. It’s believed Asha left on her own accord and walked alone along Hwy 18, a full 1.3 miles from her home during a raging rain storm.
No one knows what happened to Asha from the moment she left her home.
I have a theory and I need your help.
But first, it’s important to know the facts of Asha’s case if we’re to bring her home. While the public won’t know all the details benefiting law enforcement, there is strength and knowledge in numbers. The more people involved, the more people talk; the more we talk, the closer we get to finding Asha.
It’s all about the six degrees of separation.
Here is what I’ve learned from perusing and studying countless news reports and accounts:
On Friday, February 11, 2000, Cleveland County schools were out. Asha and her older brother, O’Bryant, spend the day with their aunt, Alisha who lives down the street from the family home. Later that afternoon, both brother and sister attend scheduled peewee basketball practice at the Fallston Elementary School where Asha and O’Bryant attend.
On Saturday, February 12, 2000, both Asha and O’Bryant compete in basketball games at Burn’s Middle School; the girls’ played first. Asha fouled out of the game and the team experienced their first loss. Both Asha and her teammates took the defeat hard and it’s reported all the girls cried in disappointment and Asha complained about her leg hurting. Reassured by her mother that her leg ‘really didn’t hurt’ Asha quickly ‘recovered’ and was seen playing and laughing with her friends in short order.
After the boys’ game, the family goes home, with Asha being her normal, happy self.
Sunday, February 13, 2000, The family attended church services at Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in Waco. Afterwards, the family had lunch at an aunt’s house, then headed home. Asha was in good spirits having received her Valentine’s Day candy early from her grandmother, Joanne.
At about 9:00 p.m., a power outage occurred as a result of a car accident nearby.
Monday, February 14, 2000, Asha had been lying on the sofa wearing jeans and t-shirt before changing into her nightgown. At around 12:30 a.m., power was restored to the area and Mr. Degree reports seeing both children being asleep in their shared bedroom, though they occupied separate beds.
Harold retires to bed at 2:30 a.m.; it’s around this time, O’Bryant sees Asha dressed in her white nightgown with red trim and a teddy bear on its front, get up and use the bathroom, and return to her bed.
Shortly afterward, O’bryant reports hearing her bed squeak and believes Asha is just tossing in her sleep.
At 5:45a.m., Iquilla, Asha’s mom, awakes. The kids normally wake for school at 6:30 but mom gets up early and draws bathwater so the kids can bathe . Iquilla goes a few feet from bathroom to the kids’ bedroom to wake both O’Bryant and Asha but only sees her son under his covers and Asha missing– despite checking the entire house and both cars.
NOTE: There are differing accounts in the media about Iquilla’s wake time. Many reports state she awoke at 6:00 and still others say 6:15. I settled on Jet Magazine’s interview since it’s a first-person account by Iquilla herself.
Both parents are in panic mode after having called Asha’s paternal grandmother and aunt who live on the same street as the family. She also calls her own mother who prompts Iquilla to hang up and call 911. Police are called and at 6:40 the first officer arrives. Within one hour, tracking dogs are dispatched.
NOTE: Those quirky letters in my titles are a way you can keep reading the pages in order. I’m very challenged in the IT department and this alphabetical notion was the easiest way for me to help readers keep the flow and account details in order.
Page Poser: Have I left anything out that can be verified?