Finding Asha Degree, Shelby's Sweetheart

Home » If Asha’s Case is Solvable, Why Hasn’t It Been Solved?

If Asha’s Case is Solvable, Why Hasn’t It Been Solved?

After reviewing Asha’s family structure, her personality ( fears, close family ties, etc.) and the days’ events, I’ve come to the steadfast determination that Asha’s abductor is someone she knows.

I know you may be thinking, ‘Law enforcement knows better and they know more than any ‘armchair detective.’

While that may be true, the problem with Asha’s case is it’s been handed from detective to detective–almost on a yearly basis. And that’s not good.

What happens is a phenomenon called, diffusion of responsibility, wherein a group of people are more likely to believe that ‘someone else’ would have already acted upon a discovery if one did, indeed exist. Conversely, if one person was responsible for Asha’s case they would more likely act upon new evidence. So, any tip or evidence introduced earlier, is assumed another detective would have seen and acted upon it.

I know that sounds complex (I tend to be wordy), so here’s an easy visual of sorts that actually happened to me:

A storm caused the power to go out in my entire neighborhood. I assumed since my neighborhood is huge, that surely someone else had already reported the outage, so I didn’t call it in. After several hours, power still hasn’t been restored, so I called the power company to complain. I was shocked to learn that nobody bothered to  report the outage, as everyone else assumed that everyone else called the power company!

Law enforcement isn’t incompetent nor are they lackadaisical, purposefully pushing paper here and there; it’s just the way things work and human nature.

One such case in point, is the comic book murder:

Barbara George’s 1990 murder occurred in her and her husband’s store, Comic World in Detroit, Michigan. It went unsolved for 18 years. One crucial piece of evidence–filed the very day after her murder–sat in her case file unnoticed until a new cold case department was formed and a detective was handed the file.

It turns out a witness stated that George’s husband,  Michael, was in the comic book store and instinctively answered the phone when the witness called. A few minutes later, Barbara George was reported murdered. In the files, it was later compared to that witness statement and determined, that Michael George had lied, saying he was at his mother’s house napping. He couldn’t have been napping on his mother’s couch and in the store answering the phone at the same time. This discretion along with other circumstantial evidence, proved the husband’s guilt and he was finally brought to justice and is currently serving a life sentence, no parole.

Are we to assume all the detectives handling George’s case were incompetent? Certainly not. Clearly, diffusion of responsibility was at work, here. Every detective assumed the prior officer had reviewed and deemed the witness’s statement pointless.

It happens.

Asha’s disappearance needs to be reviewed–from page one, forward–by several sets of new eyes who are assigned solely (if even for a few weeks) to Asha’s case.

And, most importantly, everyone needs to be re-interviewed.

Why?

Because the perpetrator has 15 years of pent-up remorse and/or anxiety, and is more fragile, having had so many years invested in harboring the worst secret he’ll ever keep. We all have our breaking points–the straw that broke the camel’s back, if you will–and it’s no secret that some criminals are glad to finally be unbridled from their most profound of mistakes. And he doesn’t want to be viewed a callous monster.

In my opinion, the time is right to approach all that knew Asha Jaquilla Degree. Her world was small and there aren’t many folks to vet.

Page Poser:  What are your thoughts about approaching all potential witnesses and calling for a new set of dedicated eyes? 


13 Comments

  1. Michelle says:

    I never considered an alternative reason for her disappearance other than her leaving the house in the middle of the night. Did her brother hear/see anything during the night she went missing?

    Like

    • findingasha says:

      Asha’s brother, O’Bryant (from news reports), is said that he saw Asha get up at 2:30 a.m.
      to use the bathroom and then return to her bed still dressed in her white nightgown with
      red-trimmed bib and a teddy bear design on the front. So, she was not dressed for leaving
      her home/yard. I believe Asha was still in her nightgown and wearing her white sneakers.

      See my “Nightgown on the Stoop” page for my theory.

      I appreciate your caring about Asha enough to comment!

      Like

  2. Roxanne says:

    I’ve driven at 4am to 5am in a rainstorm before and visibility is almost impossible. I just don’t understand how two motorists actually saw her that morning. I know white clothes would be pretty visible, but how can they be sure they saw Asha that morning and not someone else. Did anyone asked the brother of Asha talked about anything suspicious since they shared a room?

    Like

    • findingasha says:

      You’re right to question the visibility factor. One motorist cited the weather as being in the midst of a ‘torrential downpour’ when he spotted a girl dressed in missing clothing Asha owned. But since my posting, I’ve learned a few things about the witnesses and what was reported that don’t make sense, so I’m working on that. It’s been 15 years and I’m finding many folks have passed away. I’m getting closer, though! Asha’s brother was puzzled and traumatized. He was sure if there was anything bothering Asha and/or she planned on leaving the house–at all–he would have bee told. The siblings were very close. I’m with you about the driving in a rainstorm. There were no highway lights and lots of gulleys, high grasses and ruts. There’s no way Asha would have made her way that distance walking in that time frame. I’m working on a more specific timeline and have two new sources of ‘witnesses’ including some very critical detail with how this case was handled. Keep thinking; we all need to help figure this tragedy out!

      Like

  3. Glenn says:

    After reading all of your posts and everything else I can find, I believe the abductor has to come from the school, or perhaps the bus driver …

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    • findingasha says:

      I do believe the person(s) are close by as you mentioned, but in-person communication had to happen without others seeing. It’s here where I wish law enforcement had really pursued. Thanks for your thoughts and sharing your insight. If you happen upon any info I may have left out, I’d love to share it here. ~Wendy

      Like

  4. Glenn says:

    Actually, I now think the church might be a worthwhile avenue of enquiry, also.

    Like

    • findingasha says:

      It’s a possibility, Glenn. I don’t believe that law enforcement did enough scouting, interviewing or looking into Asha’s disappearance–period.

      Like

      • Glenn says:

        I just can’t get the case out of my head. I believe there are only two real possibilities: the school, and the church … and the perpetrator MUST come from one of those two places.

        I wish you’d divulge the new piece of information you’ve recently received!

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Nicole says:

    Hello! I recently came across your blog and I have to say that it is very detailed and well written! I am from the Shelby, NC area and I remember when this story broke. Even as a young girl, my heart went out to the Degree family.

    I do not agree with the theory that she ran away. I believe that someone that she knew and trusted (perhaps someone who worked for the school or maybe from church?) lured her away from her home with the promise of something. I do not believe that her disappearance is a random occurrence. Whoever was responsible took a lot of time planning this. I’m not trying to bash the local law enforcement, but they have not exhausted all of their resources to find Asha. I feel that they at least owe it to the Degree family to re-examine evidence, re-interview people, retrace steps to connect some dots somehow, someway to figure out what happened. I have become more intrigued by this case as an adult but it’s hard to find more information since very little is public knowledge. I can’t believe that it’s been almost 16 years and there are no new leads, no new evidence… nothing but a cold trail. I really hope and pray that Asha is found safe. I can’t wait to see what new information you will present next!

    Like

    • findingasha says:

      Thank you, Nicole for you insightful comment! I sent you a private email and may have skimmed some off
      this comment. Sometimes I’ll receive info or input that’s very specific and must keep it from the blog
      for obvious reasons.

      I do hear the law enforcement promises every now and again on Feb. 14th where they will re-examine this
      or that, but there’s no indication of it, or they would have (most likely) found a resolution. Asha’s
      world was markedly small, and the event so unlike her, Asha’s disappearance was not (did I say, “NOT?”)
      a product of a shy, happy, obedient, good student, under 12 y/o, girl with so many phobias, loved her
      family, running off for adventure during a torrential storm with no outerwear.

      I want to see what LE has to say this year. Very sad.

      ~Wendy

      Like

    • Mark says:

      I’m a bit late to the blog, but have always wondered about this case – glad to see someone is driving it. I’m from NC, but live in MN – where a 27 year case (Jacob Wetterling) was recently solved thanks to an outside blogger with a passion and fresh set of eyes, so keep up the good work and pressure.

      I agree, Asha’s abductor had to be someone she knew and trusted. Are there similar cases in the area? I find it strange that the FBI processed evidence without sharing ANYTHING – that screams to me that they’ve seen this before.

      Like

      • Gosh, wouldn’t it be great if we all worked to bring Asha home and were successful at that! I appreciate all pointers, challenges and ideas. If I miss the value in something I hope someone else does. 🙂

        What I gathered from the FBI, is there are so little evidence they have to keep what they do have under tight wraps–but that’s just MY OPINION, and I could be wrong.I do know any similar cases were examined, but if anyone has a question about a specific case, I’m interested!

        Now,, since there is little or no ‘evidence’, I believe we are left with psychological profile of all involved.

        I want to keep positive and bring Asha home where she belongs!

        Thanks so much, Mark. Keep pondering!

        Like

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