Finding Asha Degree, Shelby's Sweetheart

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Questions I Get Asked


It occurred to me if we’re going to find Asha via the power of many minds, that I need to post the questions I’m asked. I answer as honestly as I can but I can’t say who I suspect is responsible. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, ask questions and provide feedback!

I’m working on obtaining weather conditions for the early, dark and rainy-cold morning of Asha’s disappearance. I’ll post that as soon as available.

If ANYONE can provide the 3/14/2000 episode of Montel Williams’ talk show, I’d sure appreciate  it!


I have read your entire website and I think that your known-abductor theory makes sense. What I don’t understand is: Why would Asha’s abductor leave the bookbag to be discovered?

**Great question, these inquiries are why we need the power of many minds to find Asha. I can only speculate. It’s easy to think of whoever took Asha as a monster but in reality, this guy (yes, I said ‘guy’ based on what I believe) is the one at the neighborhood store. As much as I don’t want to call him human, he is. He has idiosyncrasies’ like everyone else. His behavior as a ‘planter’ is the reason that bookbag was buried, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he knew that area was going to be developed, so he planted it. There is no reason to bury that bookbag unless to revisit it. Because this person (I believe) is local, it’s doubtful he would risk the time and the possibility of being seen unearthing the bookbag. He most likely planted it like he did the hair bow and other items–to throw off law enforcement. As humans, we do, and repeat what’s comfortable and what makes sense to us. We hide things in the same places: above or below; in front or behind; inside or outside.

Does part of him want to be caught? Does he just want attention? I can’t think of what he could possibly have to gain by leaving clues.

**No, I don’t think he wants to be caught;  he’s a local and knowledgeable about back roads– and dirt roads, specifically. I believe he’s very good at putting things behind him and presenting himself as the good guy. He has the tendency to ‘zone out;’ he’s the one in the pics not smiling when everyone is celebrating.  His way of not getting caught is in staying in plain sight; he’s a ‘helper,’ and he most likely lives within 5 miles of his former, year-2000, residence. The idea behind planting clues was, he wanted everyone to  believe Asha stopped in the shed to take a break. How else could he convince everyone that Asha was out there walking along in a torrential downpour than to plant ‘evidence’ supporting just that?

 It’s hard for me to imagine that an abductor would take the chance of having Asha walk near a busy highway just to have her “seen” by passers-by.  That is such a huge risk. 
**Great question. Actually, that area of the highway is flat terrain which is a big plus for an abductor. Yes, this person that I suspect is known to the family and this was well thought out and most likely, obsessed over for some time. So, it’s critical that his plot include a runaway scenario and he have time to be where he should be when she is discovered missing. For this reason, I believe the offender lived within 10 miles of the spot Asha was last seen and took off-road routes from the highway and his home. Since he knew he had to be where he normally is at 6:30 a.m. (the time Asha as discovered missing), he can’t have lived far from that spot of highway.
 What if a cop had passed by?  
**Because the area where Asha was walking along was so flat, the perp could see for a good distance and actually choose when she was to be seen and how many cars passed. He could even select what vehicle he would expose her to.
 What if a mom in a car forced hubby to stop immediately after seeing a young child beside highway?
**This highway is so rural with trees at either side and then the heavy downpour of rain, there is NO WAY Asha could have  made that distance in the time frames given; one can’t see their steps in front of them. I’m working with a prominent weather service for the exact conditions/visibility on that day.
 **How does the family know exactly what was packed in that book bag?
Because of the size of Asha’s home and their socio-economic status (like most of us, not affluent/rich), it’s most likely that Asha didn’t have a ton of clothes nor a place to put them; although, she was alway appropriately dressed (and for the weather, too, making the notion she ran off with NO coat less plausible;  children do what they live). The clothing that went missing was Asha’s favorite/most likely  missed outfits– and her ball uniform. I elaborate more about her clothing in my posts. I pose a very interesting theory on the clothing, as well.
**  Were all those items recovered when the book bag was found?
I don’t know that, sadly.
**  I have a 9 year old.  I would have no clue what was missing if she packed a bag.  Not exactly anyway.
The inference by law enforcement is that Asha packed the bag over the course of several days; they know something I don’t. Again, her home is very small, so things that go missing are usually missed. I live in a large house, so I’d have trouble with that, too.
**Why would a perpetrator have her pack a bag anyway if the plan was to abduct and (kill) her?  3 outfits?  Why wouldn’t he ask her to bring something outside for the “surprise” party, and then just grab her and whisk her away to never be seen again.  Why all the “set-up”?  
Because he IS known/close to the family, he had to go with a setup. Law enforcement looks at family first, then widens the net to include friends, then acquaintances. If it was believed (in his mind, anyway) Asha did run away, he’d be off the hook.
**Why have her walk beside the highway? 
He needed her to be seen so it would be believed that she was ALONE and had left on her own.
**Why any of that if she was never gonna be seen again. 
Because he IS known to the family, the set up/runaway situation had to happen as a way to convince law enforcement that she ran on her own.
** Why walk her around all over the place in the rain, to the shed, etc.. just to kill her??
This guy is what I call a “planter;” he plants evidence to suit his set up. That shed was off a VERY dark, VERY LONG, driveway (dirt and gravel). If Asha had been in that shed, her muddy shoe prints would have been found or at least her scent picked up by the dogs. The mud would have preserved her scent; she was NEVER in that shed. Plus, it was way too dark out there. She couldn’t have made her way to it in the dark rain (with NO coat; more telling that this wasn’t planned by her).
**Has anyone who was close to the family at that time, just kind of faded away?  Disappeared?  No longer close to the family??
No one has moved that I’m aware of. The person I believe did this is still local.
**Everything screams to me that the father was involved.
He  passed a polygraph and still lives with his wife in a virtual ‘Asha shrine.’ Her pics are everywhere in that house.
**  He just happened to check on her LAST at 2am in the morning? Coincidentally on the night she disappears.  My hubby is never up at that time in the morning randomly checking on our kids.  I may be.  But I’m a mom.
Actually, their bedroom is cater-cornered to theirs. All he had to do was look up on his way to bed. The bathroom is right there, too. We are talking about a tee-tiny house.
**The brother heard a squeaking of the bed?  And he remembered what time that was?  
No, he didn’t know what time it was. The father said he saw them in bed when he finally went to his room at 2:30. He worked the night shift, so his sleep habits were different.

My Quote:

“Among the items reported as missing from Asha’s home were her black and beige bookbag. It’s believed that Asha packed the items …”

***What stands out to me is the house key. If she were indeed running away (which I’ve always doubted), why would she need her house key?

Asha’s and O’Bryant’s house keys were most likely secreted in the bottom of both siblings book bags. It probably just stayed where it was in the book bag, but there in case of an unexpected need. (My own sons had the same key situation; it was a good idea, I conceded to this practice when my Dr. appointment ran overtime and I panicked coming home and found both boys sitting on our stoop–in the rain. Talk about guilt!

***Also, the amount of clothing she took as well is sticking out. She brought only a few outfits and these outfits were specific.

Yes, this person (this ADULT person)  had intimate knowledge of Asha’s wardrobe.

*** I’ve had my own thoughts on this case and the whole contents on the bag.

The outfits were critical: one being a redshirt/vest (Valentine’s Day and parents  anniversary date). Too, her favorite lime Tweety Bird purse and matching, themed overalls. I believe she was directed by an adult as you mentioned who knew her dress habits–he had to know her outfits . 

Love the website and your theories!!

THANKS but we ALL need our minds to figure this out and bring Asha home. The  more  interest, the greater we can come come up with a solution. 

**My gut tells me there is a cover up.
What happened I think, is, the police didn’t thoroughly investigate everyone. There has been almost as many investigators working this case as years, and things get diluted over time by too  many eyes. Every year, it seems a different investigator takes the case and probably just ‘waits’ for new material to come in when the best stuff is in the file based on who I believe the abductor is. I’m not condemning the department; it’s just the way things are.
The person who did this is nearby; it’s a matter of time . . .
Thanks for your thoughts,


  1. Jordan says:

    After reading your FAQ and about the bag being packed with outfits, corresponding with the disappearance on the parent’s anniversary, I’ve developed a bit of a theory and would love your thoughts on it. Someone of her age, and being so close with her family, would probably want to give a gift but not have the money to really do so. Would it have been possible someone known to her lured her away under the pretext of taking her photos as a gift? That would explain the multiple outfits, her favorite, and her uniform, along with the date. It would e plain why she didn’t tell anyone and stuck out in the middle of the night… It would ruin the “surprise”. Maybe she thought about it on her own, or maybe the idea was planted by the abductor. But I agree it’s someone known to the family. Someone she would trust to help her. And if my theory holds any credence, someone with a camera. Good luck in your search for answers! My prayers are definitely with this family.


    • findingasha says:

      Hi Jordan,
      Your theory about a photo session is entirely plausible. I noticed the Degrees are family-photo folks; there is no shortage of them about the home. I believe–like you–her abductor (s) planted a nice gathering or a very attractive, big event where Asha would have played a major role in keeping it secret. I don’t believe Asha would have been comfortable leaving the boundaries of her yard with all her phobias (fear of dogs, the dark, separation anxiety, storms, strangers, etc.).

      While I hate being critical, I don’t believe law enforcement delved deep enough into Asha’s world as I explain on this blog. I can’t be convinced Asha went out on some ‘grand adventure.’

      I do believe a camera/photo session was involved here. I also agree Asha was duped, to put the theory mildly. This is why I’m seeking out locals knows someone who knows Asha.

      Thank you for your well-described input, Jordan. Please keep Asha’s case on your mind and comment–even if your thoughts don’t agree with mine! 🙂 ~Wendy


  2. J W says:

    Reading all of this begs the question – “Why Asha?”

    Here’s my thinking: If the abductor (and I agree with you, that there WAS an abductor, and she knew him) wanted a child or a little girl, SURELY there were children at Asha’s school who weren’t so carefully attended to and watched. To pick Asha, whose life was so family-oriented, means that this person didn’t care if her family started hunting for her. That suggests to me that it was an all-encompassing obsession with Asha alone, and that any child wouldn’t have done.

    I also want to ask you a very unpleasant question: do you think this person still has Asha? Or do you think she was killed shortly after the abduction?


    • Hi JW, It IS frustrating not knowing: the who, why, when, where of it all is mind-numbing. Perps are selfish-times-ten. All we can do is guess, but for your last question, I’m a believer in hope and it’s not a stretch to say that Asha will return based on other abduction cases with happy endings. Let’s hope!


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