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 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