FALLSTON, NC (WBTV) - A community in Cleveland County quietly marked an anniversary they had hoped would not be on the calendar again this year. Valentines Day, 2000, is when 9-year-old Asha Degree slipped out of her parents home and vanished.
“Everyone still talks about it,” said store clerk Amy Causby on Thursday.
Investigators are still working the case and hoping to drum up more leads.
“This is a solvable case,” said Sheriff Alan Norman.
Norman has assigned one investigator to handle the case full-time to sift through leads that still come in and constantly review what they already have. He says progress has been made and they have a lot of pieces to the puzzle - but they still need some critical information to tie it all together. He would not elaborate on what that information might be, only that he believes there is someone in Cleveland County who has it.
“We want them to please come forward.”
When it happened in 2000, search teams combed the area south of Fallston where Asha disappeared. She left the home sometime after 2:30 a.m. and took a backpack with her. Several intense searches turned up nothing, though some drivers later said they thought they saw her walking along a highway around 4 a.m. that day.
In August the next year, her backpack was discovered 30 miles north in Burke County. It was next to a creek along Highway 18. Nothing else was found.
The FBI has joined in the effort as well and Norman says he is optimistic the case will be figured out.