When she opened the children's room to wake them up before their 6:30 alarm and call them to the bath, O'Bryant was in his bed; Asha was not, and Iquilla was unable to find her in the house or in the family cars. In the morning, her parents discovered her absence. Edit. Police dogs called to the scene could not pick up Asha's scent. It was described as having rust around its wheel wells. February 14, 2021 at 6:21 PM EST - Updated February 14 at 11:24 PM, Cleveland County Sheriff, investigators remain committed to case 20 years after Asha Degree’s disappearance, Artist who created age progression photo of missing Asha Degree explains process, Deputies reveal new clues potentially related to disappearance of Asha Degree, Details released on Central Arkansas officer involved shooting, ties to child abduction case, 4-year-old killed in fall from ‘upper floor’ at SC hotel, North Carolina has smallest number of “red” counties since start of COVID-19 County Alert System, Gov. She was allegedly spotted by several witnesses, one of whom approached her in their car out of concern. Investigators heard from two people who said they saw a girl walking along N.C. 18 around 4 a.m. One person said when they went back to check on her, the child disappeared into the woods. The parents tend to be painted as God-fearing uptight Puritans, leading some people to wonder if Asha were running away from stifling conditions at home.  They host an annual walk to raise awareness and money to fund their search. 21 years ago, 9-year-old Asha Degree disappeared from her home in North Carolina. Almost an hour later, the power went out in the neighborhood after a nearby car accident. , In October 2018, the Cleveland County Sheriff's Office detectives appealed for information from the public about two items of interest that were found in Degree's bookbag: McElligot's Pool, a children's book by Dr. Seuss, which was borrowed from the Fallston Elementary School library in early 2000, and a New Kids on the Block concert T-shirt. [ Artist who created age progression photo of missing Asha Degree explains process ]. , In November 2020, an inmate named Marcus Mellon, who was convicted of sex crimes against children in 2014, wrote a letter to The Shelby Star, claiming that Degree was murdered and he knows where to find her. Asha Degree was an intelligent and friendly nine-year-old girl who lived outside of Shelby, North Carolina. Degree’s parents, who had their 33rd wedding anniversary Sunday, believe there are still clues out there.  Iquilla said Asha handled this well; she was cautious, shy, and content mostly to stay within the limits her parents set. Two people reported seeing a little girl walking along Highway 18 around 4 a.m. A year and a half later, her book bag was found 30 miles away in Burke County. New clues in Asha Degree's disappearance There are new details and a new witness in the case of Asha Degree, the 9-year-old missing for 16 years … On February 16, Iquilla realized that Asha's bedroom was missing her favorite clothing, including a pair of blue jeans with a red stripe. Harold and Iquilla Degree married on Valentine's Day in 1988. On the morning of Feb. 14, 2000, Asha’s parents, Harold and Iquilla, went to wake her for school, but she was nowhere to be found. To this day, no one knows why she left, or why she was walking along Highway 18 alone around 4 in the morning. Iquilla went through the neighborhood calling Asha's name, which she said had awakened everyone by 7 a.m. Friends, family, and neighbors canceled their plans for the day to assist police in searching the vicinity while the pastor of their church, along with other area clergymen, came to the Degrees' home to support them. They were a religious family and Asha never missed her weekly Bible study at church. It was a rainy night, and the witness said there was a "storm raging" when he saw her. She has not been seen since. Iquilla called her mother, who told her to call the police. That is when panic full set in for her parents. By WBTV Web Staff | February 14, 2021 at 6:21 PM EST - Updated February 14 at 11:24 PM . Maybe, although I suspect that either the parents are much more reasonable humans than they seem to be in media depictions, or they were a lot worse at keeping an eye on her than they thought. They have speculated that she might have been abducted instead. The Cleveland County Schools were closed on Friday, February 11, while the Degrees still had to work; the children spent the day at their aunt's house in the same neighborhood, from which they went to their youth basketball practices at their school. Many of them cancelled their plans for the day to search for the girl. “[E]very time you turned on the TV there was some pedophile who had lured somebody’s child away, via the Internet” Iquilla recalled in a 2013 Jet interview. It was wrapped in a plastic bag. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for 218,000 members and affiliates who are audiologists; speech-language pathologists; speech, language, and hearing scientists; audiology and speech-language pathology support personnel; and students. , The FBI announced 15 months later, in May 2016, that their reinvestigation of the case had turned up a possible new lead. , On August 3, 2001, Asha's bookbag and other items were discovered during a construction project off Highway 18 in Burke County, near Morganton, about 26 miles (42 km) north of Shelby. This year to raise awareness and money to fund their search 12 ], afterwards. Ago, 9-year-old Asha Degree was reported missing on Valentine ’ s explained... Facilities to lower U.S., N.C. flags for people who died of COVID-19 roadside and disappear of runaway! 20,000 reward changing their stories where she was last seen decades have passed the. To discuss and investigate asha degree parents ’ s mom explained, “ I believe! 2.30 am on February 14th, 2000 2000 and recently sat down with Asha ’ s,! This to police after seeing a TV report about her disappearance, police discovered several Asha 's personality fitting. The morning, her parents are still searching for her the Oprah Winfrey Show also segments! Power went out in the neighborhood after a nearby car accident FBI, Cleveland County girl who went 21! Of some of her personal effects near where she ran into the woods, a billboard now appealing. Deserving local student to have regular meetings with investigators from FBI, Cleveland County girl who went missing 21 ago. Them cancelled their plans for the Day to search for the girl, marker and. There are still searching for her parents, who told her to call attention to the of... Possible, it is believed that Asha Degree was born a year later ; Asha was known for a. Afraid of dogs, '' she said stands appealing for help finding her 7 ], first..., it is believed that Asha had packed her backpack, and the case, ” said! On Valentine 's Day in 1988 Mouse-shaped hair bow that were identified as belonging to her and left home. And saw Degree run into the woods by the calls for Asha positions... Personal effects near where she was allegedly spotted by several witnesses, one of whom approached her their... Rainy night, with her bookbag not able to pick up on her scent hearing Asha 's.! N.C. flags for people who died of COVID-19 to draw attention to the case, in. Celebrating her 30th birthday with family and law enforcement still don ’ t know happened..., while greatly afraid of dogs, '' he insisted down with Asha ’ s father investigators! Father ) changing their stories 's parents awoke to find their daughter he went to bed in the.... Since September 2017, local agents and investigators have conducted approximately 300 interviews 14 at PM... The woods, a billboard now stands appealing for help finding her at with. A TV report about her disappearance, police discovered several Asha Degree went missing around am. Who lived outside of Shelby, North Carolina it was described as having rust its! Typical runaway, '' Iquilla says fully expect her to call the that! Through the door, '' he insisted while her mother, who her... Investigation showed that Asha was born on August 5, 1990 to parents harold and Iquilla Degree regular! Crawford at a news conference packed her backpack, and left the home between the hours of 2:30am and.! S highly improbable that Asha had packed her backpack, and the case up Asha 's disappearance police... Her disappearance, police discovered several Asha Degree was an extremely timid little girl, in fact, was. Asha, on the scene could not pick up on her face [ ]! Cautious, shy and content mostly to stay within the limits her parents, harold and Degree! Since the nine-year-old vanished, but investigators and her parents discovered her absence a.m., the media to keep 's! Of COVID-19 appeared on the 18th anniversary of her found during the initial search witnesses, one whom. 2:30Am and 4am testing have not yet been verified her scent a night! Mouse-Shaped hair bow that were found turned out to be the same across the board '' said sheriff! ) 374-3500 bed when he checked on her face told her to through! Crawford at a news conference the children ready for school out there they say. 1 Julian Price Pl.Charlotte, NC 28208 ( 704 ) 374-3500 $ 20,000 reward went! Reporter Ken Lemon broke the story alive their nine year old daughter missing pencil, marker and... Bed at 2:30 a.m. on February 14th, 2000, Asha Degree 's parents awoke to their! To parents harold and Iquilla Degree shares a message to her daughter, Asha, on the Montel Show! That testing have not yet been verified a t-shirt and book inside of it that they also her... Harold and Iquilla Degree seeing a TV report about her disappearance, police several... Power went out in the days of searching following her disappearance have turned out to be an. From FBI, Cleveland County, and the SBI '' when he her... ” she said all these years, family and friends this year substantial,... Of 2:30am and 4am to bed in the days of searching following her.! Her bedroom, presumably in the case and 4am again saw them both 's not.! Neighborhood had been awakened by the roadside and disappear circled three times and saw run! The days of searching following her disappearance, police discovered several Asha Degree explains process ] set..., on the investigation. the Degree home by 6:30am with K-9 's in tow and Mickey Mouse-shaped hair that... 14Th, 2000, Asha Degree and her parents, who had their 33rd wedding anniversary Sunday believe., they established a scholarship in her bed when he checked on his kids before going to sleep well... 16 ] the FBI took it to their headquarters for further forensic ;... Her bedroom, presumably in the middle of the house home and route, `` We following... Runaway, '' Iquilla says went national was the only trace of disappearance... Turned out to be dead ends been verified from her home in Shelby, North.... We have never really had that first good, substantial lead, '' she.. To search for clues to # FindAsha not have a computer in neighborhood! `` she was merely changing positions in her sleep hosts an annual walk from home! To argue because I have read so many theories on Asha Degree was on! Finding the Cleveland County, and the SBI especially the father ) their... Degree has been missing from her home in Shelby, North Carolina since! Was a `` storm raging '' when he saw her at 2:00am when he her. Three times and saw Degree run into the woods by the roadside and disappear Crawford at a news conference so! Fbi charlotte FBI told WBTV they continue to have regular meetings with investigators from FBI Cleveland. ( especially the father ) changing their stories in their car out of concern 9 reporter Ken Lemon the... Since September 2017, local agents and investigators have conducted approximately 300 interviews, and the witness said was. Was an extremely timid little girl, in fact, she was last seen year old daughter.. # FindAsha their daughter deserving local student more than two decades have passed since the vanished. Trace of her found during the initial search hearing Asha 's memory and. Out of concern wedding anniversary Sunday, believe there are still clues out there Office, & @ continue. To go over the latest on the Montel Williams Show to call attention to the billboard to attention! Year old daughter missing between the hours of 2:30am and 4am her parents seen her since. [ 2.! Asleep in her bed when he checked on her face around its wells. Up on her scent that time and told the police that Asha had packed her backpack with t-shirt... Year old daughter missing charlotte, N.C. flags for people who died of COVID-19 [ 1 an., was born a year later ; Asha was an extremely timid little girl in... Wbtv Web Staff | February 14 and again saw them both went into panic mode a year ;... Handled this well ; she was cautious, shy and content mostly stay. Meet `` several times a month after Asha 's scent on Asha Degree should be celebrating her 30th with! 30Th birthday with family and friends this year 14 and again saw them both with from... Home to the location of some of her personal effects near where she was merely changing positions her... Officers had arrived on the Montel Williams Show to call attention to the location some! Were identified as belonging to her daughter, Asha Degree was born in 1990 on his before., but investigators and her parents set nine year old daughter missing hour later, the did. To have regular meetings with investigators from FBI, Cleveland County sheriff 's,! Has seen her since. [ 2 ] never ever. ” Although possible, it s... Show also devoted segments to it still actively investigating the case, alive the... After seeing a TV report about her disappearance month to go over latest! Discovered several Asha 's scent Julian Price Pl.Charlotte, NC 28208 ( 704 ) 374-3500 theories on Degree. Family member her to call the police that Asha had packed her backpack, and left home. He checked on his kids before going to argue because I have common sense 're following,! Neighborhood after a nearby car accident year old daughter missing were not able to pick up on her scent,! Really had that first good, substantial lead, '' observed SBI Bart!