We’ve certainly come a long way since my first page but the end is near and I believe my last page will uncover to those who know Asha Degree, her family and those around her, who did this awful thing that’s left what’s surely a million too many hearts broken and so many questions without answers.
As I mentioned, I don’t have the information that law enforcement has; I’m limited to news reports; so exactly what Asha’s bookbag contained is not be complete, here.
Eighteen months after what I’m convinced by now, is Asha Degree’s abduction from her doorstep (or a very few steps beyond it), a 44-year-old Burke County contractor, Terry Fleming found her bookbag on August 3, 2001 while clearing a lot for the construction of a house and its roadway some 26+ miles away. The bookbag was literally dug up by the grader’s machine. In it, he found a paper with Asha’s name along with a phone number from inside the bag. Unaware of Asha Degree’s case, Fleming had an odd felling about the bookbag, and copied the information that he shared with his wife the next morning. His wife covered her mouth with a gasp saying, “Oh my God, Terry!”
Its location, condition and contents are telling and lend to what I believe is the identity of Asha Degree’s abductor(s).
Let’s look at the proximity of the bookbag to where Asha was last seen. The bag was some twenty-six miles north (on the west side of NC 18 and about six miles south of I-40 and Morganton) from where Asha was last seen and less than fifty yards off the highway in the Laurel Fork area. One might surmise that a true outdoorsman would venture deeper into a wooded area to bury the bag and I would agree.
If he wanted it to remain hidden. He could have even burned it.
I believe the perpetrator(s) wanted the bookbag found; hence, the bag was aptly placed. Too, it was doubly wrapped in two black trash bags, which are often more durable than white kitchen bags. The two heavier trash bags were strictly for preservation; surely the offender didn’t want its contents degrading.
Because this guy (or guys) is a ‘stager’ with the hair bow, marker and pencil, the three family photos along with the way Asha was made to walk along the highway, it’s only appropriate that he would barely hide Asha’s double-bagged belongings. He wanted them found and I’d hazard a guess that the bookbag was planted to thwart law enforcement from the true nature of the crime–in further defense of my known-abductor theory.
MOST IMPORTANTLY! The date the bookbag was found is eerily close to Asha Degree’s August 5th birthday. I’m not fond of coincidences where crimes and children are concerned, and this discovery may well be another intended ploy from the perpetrator(s).
Another consideration about the perpetrator is that he may have know the site was being improved, had seen Terry Fleming grading the site and buried the book bag knowing it would be found.
Page Poser: Do you find the bookbag discovery supports the known-offender theory or a stranger abduction? What questions do you want answered based on this finding?
The trash bag and its contents were sent for forensics to the FBI where the results of testing will certainly be kept from public eyes. But I can only wonder if the bookbag had soil similar to the shed’s where investigators believe Asha was. Certainly the muddied bookbag would have soil composition from the shed (if the bookbag wasn’t cleaned first).
Photo source: Thecharleyproject.