What Sparked My Interest in Missing Persons

When I was about nine years old, me and my dad walked into a shop downtown. I don’t quite remember where but I do remember they served food there. They had missing person’s posters on the gumball machines near the register. I just remember how puzzling it was for me, because the girl I saw and I were the same age. I couldn’t imagine what it would feel like to be lost; not to mention, how scary that would be for a nine year old. She looked so familar, like I had played with her on the playground before; although, it wasn’t possible because she wasn’t from the same town.

Asha Degree circa 2000
Asha Degree circa 2000

Her name was Asha Degree and she’s still missing, and under extremely strange circumstances. She went missing on February 14, 2000 from Shelby, North Carolina. She was reported missing after she wasn’t found in her bedroom when her mother went to wake her up for school around 6 am. She apparently packed up her book bag and Tweety bird purse, and left during the early morning hours. She was last seen in her bedroom around 2 am when her father was checking on her. There are several theories to why she went missing, and authorities believe she left on her own accord. One theory is that she was sleepwalking, which is less likely being she packed a bag; another theory is that she was meeting someone. Who though? We don’t know.

There are inconsistencies with her missing during the night at all being she was afraid of the dark and she was afraid of dogs. She’d have to pass a couple neighbor’s houses on the way out to the highway she was last seen, who kept their dogs in the yard. The most probable theory is that she ran away because of a book she was reading in her fourth grade class, The Whipping Boy. I was reading the same exact book at the time of her disappearance. In the book, two children run away after the occurrence of some misfortune. Asha had lost her first basketball game the day before and was pretty upset about it, which may be her reason for running away but we may never know.

Throughout the years, strange evidence has surfaced, but Asha Degree has never been found. The night of her disappearance, truckers saw her walking by the highway, and anytime they tried to stop she’d run into the woods. Some of Asha’s school supplies and her Mickey Mouse hair bow was found near a tool shed off the highway, three days after her disappearance. Her book bag with her name and number was found double wrapped in trash bags and buried off the highway, 18 months after her disappearance. This evidence indicates that she is probably deceased. Whatever her fate, I hope her family gets some closure. This is a case I’d love to see solved. Cases like Jaycee Lee Dugard’s and the Cleveland three gives us hope to Asha’s safe return.

If you have any information regarding Asha Degree’s case call the Cleveland County Sheriff’s department at

704-484-4822

To read more information on this case:

The Charley Project

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