Finding Asha Degree, Shelby's Sweetheart

Home » Part Two ~ Debunking the Runaway Myth: Asha & Her Family’s Profile » The Storage Shed: the ‘Three Things’ Once Again

The Storage Shed: the ‘Three Things’ Once Again

Please be reminded that I do not have all the information that law enforcement has, so I’m relying on news articles for accuracy (see the links below).

The owner of Turner Upholstery, Debbie Turner discovers three items near her tractor’s wheel, just inside the shed’s door.  Turner saw these items the evening before (on Tuesday, the day after Asha’s disappearance) but didn’t relate them to Asha’s disappearance. Candy wrappers, also discovered by searchers, were described by Asha’s friends as being like those in Asha’s Tweety Bird purse. Asha’s basketball team was given the treat bags filled with candy as part of a Valentine’s celebration.  Searchers found the wrappers near Turner’s home and along the highway where Asha was last seen.

These items have been confirmed as belonging to Asha: a pencil, marker and Mickey Mouse hairbow.

Like the family photos, I do not believe their number–the ‘three things’–to be random; I’m convinced these items were staged and their number was to ensure they would be identified as being Asha’s. A single pencil is not enough of  an identifier and the marker with the pencil may not ‘qualify’ with their being common among us all.  But the reasoning behind the Mickey Mouse hairbow is that it makes a great identifier. Had the hairbow been a simple and nondescript, say a brown hairband, it could have been stepped on, dismissed or even thought to belong to Turner, herself.

Again, this practice is the product of adult thinking with forethought and scripting.

Another supporting factor is the notion these items were important enough to Asha to have in her bookbag, especially the Mickey Mouse bow, as she usually kept her hair in pigtails. It’s more logical that Asha would have left these items in her bag while in the shed, rather than fumble around in the dark or daylight, pulling unrelated things randomly from her bookbag.

Because the bow and writing instruments were small and unrelated, Asha would likely have had to go deeper into her bag to retrieve them. If the items were in her Tweety Bird purse, there’s no reason for them to be picked out at all. In any event, all this movement would have created a disturbance to the dirt where Asha had been. The heavy rain would have produced–and preserved–Asha’s scent, sealing it in mud where she stood, sat or squatted, and we would see shoe prints from her sneakers quite readily; at the very least, the search and rescue tracking dogs would have picked her scent out.

Also, that shed and its contents are dusty, and there is no disturbance of the dust–anywhere. Asha was not in that shed. The items were planted.

Another consideration supporting the idea Asha did not seek shelter in the shed is its proximity to the road. The shed is located down a long driveway that would certainly be so dark an area Asha couldn’t have possibly made her way to the shed, rest and then travel further down the highway to where she was last seen or vice versa.

The shed itself was filled to capacity; a large tractor being its biggest contributor and it’s likely Asha would have created a disturbance in one small space. Too, there’s quite a bit of gravel-like rocks that when stepped on would leave a ‘record’ of anyone smoothing out a spot to rest or stand. The sneakers, recovered later, would have evidence of the shed’s gravel material, but we’re left wondering what was found in the sneaker’s tread.

It’s important to note that at no time did any dog from either K-9 team pick out Asha’s scent.

No scent from Asha’s home. No scent down her street. No scent down the 1.3 miles of highway. No scent at the storage shed.

No scent period.

If Asha had found shelter in that shed, trained search dogs would have alerted, particularly near the tractor, where most certainly, Asha would have touched or brushed up against it.

They didn’t.

They didn’t because Asha wasn’t in that shed.

NOTE: It was reported that candy wrappers similar to what Asha was known to have from the Valentine party after  her ball game were found, though no written report establishes their exact position. I believe these wrappers were one more effort to plant a false lead.

Update: It stands to reason that search dogs would have been commissioned to check every outbuilding in the VERY area Asha was last seen. Why didn’t the dogs find the hair bow and other belongings? Why did the owner of the shed find those items a day later and not have been asked to search her out buildings? This incompetence resulted in the items not being reported until THREE days later? I can’t entertain possibilities other than these items were planted. It’s not a possibility that Asha would have been milling around the same area for three days and not be discovered by dogs.   

If this report by The Shelby Star is accurate(and I believe it most certainly is), it saddens me that law enforcement didn’t search the shed at all on Monday or Tuesday morning after two witnesses put here in the very area:  “Searchers discovered candy wrappers near Debbie Turner’s home at 2053 Highway 18 on Thursday. After searchers talked with Ms. Turner, she said she had found the hair bow, pencil and more candy wrappers in her out building on Tuesday, but didn’t think they pertained to the investigation.” ~The Shelby Star.

(Why didn’t law enforcement search her property and speak to Ms.Turner on Tuesday morning?)

“The candy wrappers were important because Asha’s friends at school told officials Thursday morning that there had been a Valentine’s party Saturday night after Asha’s peewee basketball game and she had received Valentine’s Day treat bags, said Cleveland County Sheriff Office Detective Wayne Thomas.

“Her friends also told officials about other items that Asha had in her Tweety Bird purse before she was missing.” ~ The Shelby Star

On the next page, I’ll talk about Asha’s bookbag being found eighteen months after her disappearance and what it means to Asha’s case and the perpetrator.

Page Poser: What do you think about the dogs not finding any scent from Asha? What are you left wondering after reading and seeing the shed? If you’re affiliated with a K-9 search and rescue team, please lend your input–even if you disagree. Remember, finding Asha Degree is a collective effort!

ABOUT THIS TRACTOR IMAGE: by Jeff Melton, The Shelby Star

Notice the tractor, where Turner points out the location of Asha’s hair bow,  marker and pencil. The rain and dirt would have bonded with Asha’s sneakers, preserving her scent and creating tracks or a disturbance. None was found. Moisture works at preserving scent, encapsulating it. Not one dog hit on any scent anywhere.

ABOUT THE GOOGLE MAPS IMAGE: The red marker shows the long driveway leading to the Turner Upholstery storage shed. It’s at least 150 feet OFF the highway (Fallston Road). Note how isolated the area is. Are we to believe Asha found her way to that shed in the dark, in the pouring rain without the aid of any light?  There are too many indicators leading away from the ideal that Asha walked on her own accord. Note the off-road tractor trails, an easy way to travel and remain hidden via vehicle.

Debbie Turner (below) points to the area where she found items on Tuesday that are believed to belong to Asha Degree, the nine-year-old girl missing from her home just north of Shelby, since Monday morning (photo by Jeff Melton). Source: The Shelby Star

asha degreeASHA storge shed

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8 Comments

  1. buzz says:

    Ok, I am having trouble commenting… I’m not sure if my thought regarding her walking posted… I don’t know how a woman wcould hear of a young girl’s recent disappearance then, only a day or so later, find a young girl’s belongings, even something as small as a marker & bow, inside her rural shed, & not immediately think it might be related. I would be like “WTH?” to discover a girl’s hairbow & marker in my shed, (& I HAVE a young daughter) even if I hadn’t heard of any disappearances or runaways, because that is unusual.
    .

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    • findingasha says:

      Hi Buzz, I’m NOT playing mind games but my thoughts about the shed, the owner and the delay of reporting some strange items belonging to a little girl was intentionally left out. I have some not-nice ideas on that very thing: was the hundreds of searchers, the hollering, the bright yellow ribbons and flyers everywhere, the high-profile day & night news reports– both newspaper and TV– and the hoards of search and rescue TRAINED dog teams and the thump thump, thump of the helicopter with heat-seeking devices and low flying airplanes not a BIG enough CLUE that somethings going on? And a person NOT thinking, ‘Hey this don;t look right!’ is the proper response to the finding on TUESDAY MORNING! You are very attentive, Buzz. The odd things about the pencil and the hairbow is they were VERY unique with an Olympics promo on the pencil and a Mickey Mouse hair bow. Hmmmm. Something is WAY off here.

      If I was LE and a child was last seen running/walking with barely any clothes on for the weather, I’d be searching every barn, house, shed, outbuilding in the vicinity first thing. Note the aerial view of that shed and the highway. Not far AT ALL but one would HAVE TO know its existence–especially in the pitch black. Remember, this is a RURAL area. Dark, Dark, Rainy night. Something is SO NOT RIGHT.

      Take a look and think about that barn/shed. Thanks so much for your insight; you’re a real thinker and ‘dissector.”

      Like

    • findingasha says:

      Sorry about the troubles. I had to switch to ‘approve first’ before you can see the comments. I shared your sentiments on the other comment you left. Think about the images and what I said and let me know what you think.

      Like

  2. buzz says:

    Ok, doesn’t look like the walking comment posted here & it will not post on the previous page at all. -Would she have had to cross the highway to be able to walk against the flow of traffic? If so, it makes sense that she would not do so. I wouldn’t look too much into the terrain, she would have seen the ditches & stuff from riding the bus & children her age could navigate that, even in the rain (although the rain & dark combo…?). We also don’t know that she DIDN’T stumble/trip/fall/slip during her time walking. As a child (& adult) I’ve walked several miles in many a storm without a jacket, even in the winter- it’s my experience that kids don’t really think things through well & aren’t worried about such things as catching cold. I just wouldn’t personally chalk it up to impossible that she could/did make that walk. I do wonder how well her family knew the Turner’s & may have to look more into this Debbie character.

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    • findingasha says:

      From my research, I strongly believe Asha left her home wearing her teddy bear night gown and a pair of sneakers. it;s here here the story gets sticky and tricky. Thee timeline repported in the papers suggets Asha left out of her house AFTER 2:30 a.m. ad was seen by witnesses 1.3 miles away at 3:30. There’s a consideration I don;t think has been looked into and I’m working with an expert on. Asha wouldn’t have had enough time to make it that far without the aid of a light. My adult son went out as an experiment in an area he’s 15-years familiar with and that distance couldn’t be made by him; it was just to dark to see one foot in front of the other–and there were a few street lights along the way. He wound up using his cell phones bright light and was stopped by a cop wondering what he was doing! now, add rain and fog into the picture and the torrential downpour wold have left a child soaked to the core and water dripping from her eyelashes. You are right that we don’t know the particulars: did she fall? did she hurt herself? why didn’t ONE dog pick up her scent ANYWHERE? Yes, rain washes a lot away but Asha’s scent wasn’t in that shed and she sure wasn’t ambling along the highway eating candy and throwing wrappers down while shivering mightily , carrying a fully-laden, soaked backpack and wiping rain from her face. I studied up on wet/cold hypothermia and seasoned hikers couldn’t make a trek like that in 32-34 degree temps (i have the official weather data for that day). It doesn’t make sense.

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    • findingasha says:

      Oh, Asha didn’t cross the street but you know I don’t believe she made that trek; I believe she was driven to where she was last seen.

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  3. CBJH says:

    My husband was a K-9 officer for years and we had two Belgian Malinois. Many of the working K-9 are trained in drugs, biting and tracking freshest human scent. I did go with him to training and really did not see any German Shepherds or Malinois that were trained in taking the scent of an item from a person and tracking this. That is usually done by bloodhounds who have exceptional sense of smell. Some working K-9’s may be trained to locate decomposition. My point is that tracking freshest human scent is tricky because it can be anyone. So if a guy robs a bank and runs in to the woods the K-9 officer requests no one chase the guy because the dog could hit on the cop chasing the guy rather than the perp. If there were people all over the woods, the shed the dog could have hit on someone else’s scent. If they did have dogs trained to search the specific scent of the person the dog should be able to hit on the items even if they were planted. Those dogs are that good. I do not know what kind of dogs were used but wanted to share this.

    Also your blog is wonderful. I have always thought someone that knew the family was involved. Reading this I started thinking one way to manipulate a 9 year old in to leaving in the middle of the night is a lie that plays upon worst fears like your mom is sick but she does not want anyone to know. I know how we can help them.

    A few years ago I was doing a ride-along in Salisbury and the SBI was there because they had a report someone saw Asha in Salisbury. It ended up being a probably case of mistaken identity as her age-enhanced photo looked very similar to someone who lived in the neighborhood and the girl that reported was new to the area. I was hopeful that maybe, just maybe, she would be found alive and hopefully okay.

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    • You have valid points, here. I do know that scores of search and rescue teams volunteered, and some had bloodhounds–as well as rottweilers and shepherds. I do believe a lie played into Asha leaving–if only to place a bag outside her window. I don’t believe having looked into her personality that she would be comfortable riding in a vehicle, even with a known person. If you follow the link on my source page for The Shelby Star, you can see the images of the search teams and their dogs.

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