Family, friends gather to pray as search for missing Shelby girl nears 20 years

Nearly 20 years since Asha Degree's disappearance

FALLSTON, NC (WBTV) - Friday, Feb. 14 will mark 20 years since the disappearance of Asha Degree.

Asha was 9 years old at the time of her disappearance on Valentine’s Day. Authorities say she left her home in Cleveland county sometime after 2:30 in the morning with a backpack and vanished.

That backpack was found in Burke County next to a creek. Nothing else was found.

On Saturday, Asha’s family, friends and investigators gathered to pray for the missing girl from Shelby.

The FBI is involved in the search to find her and say they will keep working to find out what happened to her.

“This is a solvable case,” said Sheriff Alan Norman.

Last year, Norman said he 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 was being 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.”

In 2000, search teams combed the area south of Fallston where Asha disappeared. 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.

The FBI has joined in the effort as well and Norman says he is optimistic the case will be figured out.

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