I’ve already identified the runaway profile and clearly, Asha doesn’t belong in that realm. So, we’ll move along to Asha’s ‘world.’
In keeping with the adage, ‘Prior behavior is an indication of future behavior’ and how important this ideal is to learning what happened to Asha Degree and why and by whom, I’ll examine her life and how she related to the people around her.
Asha has two very attentive parents and is close to her older, 10-year-old brother, O’Bryant. Her mother, Iquilla exclaimed, ” . . . they were as thick as thieves,” referring to the siblings’ bond. While it’s hard to imagine with both parents working, Asha was fully supervised by trusting people; her brother even walked his little sister safely from school bus to class each morning. Both children rode the bus to and from school.
Extended family, Asha’s paternal Grandmother, Joanne Jackson and aunt Alisha Degree, lived on the same street and shared responsibility, keeping the siblings when school was out for the day. Asha’s father, Harold worked second shift at PPG and mom worked at Kawai International, a piano company.
After school, Asha, a fourth-grader at Fallston Elementary School, and O’Bryant were expected to do homework upon arriving home, as their parents insisted on academic excellence, checking homework for completion before allowing playtime.
Apparently, this arrangement was successful, as it’s reported by the school principal that Asha had only missed one day of school in September while achieving A/B honor roll status. The parents confirm that Asha loved school.
Both children participated in extracurricular activities and Asha was star point guard in peewee basketball. One or both parents attended all games, actively cheering the siblings on.
While Asha’s weekdays were filled with school and sports practice, her weekends were equally engaging with ball games and church where the family were active members of Macedonia Baptist Church, attending Sunday service. True to Asha’s structured and predictable family life, she’d gone to this same church–quite remarkably–since birth.
Asha had such a close-knit family life; she would never have left her happy home on her own.
Stepping into a world of the unknown and considering both her fears and being utterly shy of strangers, running away from the love and affection she has for her family is not plausible by any stretch of the imagination. This profile simply doesn’t fit any child running away in the dead of night.
Asha was not running away that fateful day, rather she was going to.
On the next pages I’ll narrow down the fields of the how, why and who I feel is responsible for Asha’s disappearance.
* Please note that I do not have inside knowledge and can’t benefit from what law enforcement knows; I can only piece together what’s available to us, the public and render an opinion. The media is subject to errors and/or omissions as directed by officials. Sometimes detectives leave out certain facts (‘hold backs’), as availing them to public eyes may be detrimental to the investigation. Rather than being frustrated with those inside ‘secrets’ I’m happy there is more to the case, perhaps quite a bit more.
Page Posers: From what you read here about Asha’s fears, does the runaway theory hold any weight in your mind? Do you think kids can overcome so many phobias suddenly and go unrealized by family members? Do you know your own child’s fears? If they’ve grown past them, how did they overcome them?