The Mysterious Disappearance of Asha Degree

The Mysterious Disappearance of Asha Degree

Background and Disappearance

On a quiet February night in the year 2000, the Degree family from Shelby, North Carolina, faced the unthinkable. Nine-year-old Asha Degree vanished from her home, triggering a mystery that has baffled local authorities and the nation for over two decades. Asha was a shy, well-behaved fourth-grader with a love for her family and basketball. However, on February 14, Valentine’s Day, she disappeared under extraordinarily mysterious circumstances.

The Last Known Sighting

The timeline leading up to Asha’s disappearance was typical for the Degree family. The children attended school, returned home, and went to bed as normal. However, in the early hours of the morning, while a storm raged outside, Asha packed her backpack with several of her belongings and left her family home on foot. The last sightings of Asha were by motorists, who reported seeing a young girl walking along Highway 18 around 4 AM. Concerned, one driver attempted to approach her, but Asha reportedly ran off into the darkness and was not seen again.

The Investigation

Asha’s parents discovered her missing that morning and immediately contacted the authorities. What followed was a massive search operation that included the FBI, state and local police, and droves of volunteers. Investigators found very little initially but discovered Asha’s hair bow, pencil, and marker along the route she was believed to have taken. Subsequently, her backpack, still packed, was found buried in a plastic bag over 26 miles away from her home – but this discovery did not occur until 18 months after her disappearance.

Theories and Speculation

Multiple theories have surfaced over the years as investigators have grappled with Asha’s mysterious case. Some theorize that she may have left home to go on an adventure, inspired by a book she had read at school, and subsequently met with foul play. Others speculate that she was groomed by an unknown individual who managed to coax her out of her home. The lack of firm evidence has only served to deepen the sense of mystery and tragedy that surrounds her case.

Continuing the Search

Over the years, the case of Asha Degree has seen periodic media resurgence, with new age-progression images released and renewed appeals for information. The FBI and local law enforcement agencies have never closed her case, hoping that new advancements in technology or a sudden break could lead to unraveling the mystery. The Degree family continues to hold out hope for Asha’s return, marking her disappearance each year and maintaining a visible presence in the community.

How the Public Can Help

The public is urged to come forward with any information they feel may be pertinent to Asha Degree’s case. No detail is too small, and all leads are investigated thoroughly. Tip lines remain open, and there is a standing reward for information leading to an arrest or the discovery of Asha. People can also help by sharing her story and keeping her memory alive, in the hope that one day her family might finally find some answers.

Contact Information

If you have any information regarding the disappearance of Asha Degree, please contact the following:

  • FBI’s Charlotte Field Office: (704) 672-6100
  • Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office: (704) 484-4888
  • National Center for Missing & Exploited Children: 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678)


The disappearance of Asha Degree is a heartbreaking mystery that continues to perplex and disturb both her local community and those who hear her story. The strength and resilience of her family have kept her case in the public eye, with the hope that one day Asha may be found and the truth revealed. It is a poignant reminder of the fragility of our sense of security and the vital importance of community vigilance in keeping our children safe.

Article last updated on April 2nd, 2023

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