‘Only thing we got is hope’: Family still seeking clues on 21st anniversary Asha Degree went missing

Updated: Feb. 14, 2021 at 6:21 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Asha Degree should be celebrating her 30th birthday with family and friends this year.

Instead, her family still has hope of finding the Cleveland County girl who went missing 21 years ago.

Degree was reported missing on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, 2000, at the age of 9-years-old.

After all these years, family and law enforcement still don’t know what happened to her.

“We’ve done everything in our power to find our child and bring her home,” Iquilla Degree, Asha’s mother, told WBTV. “Even though she is 30 now, she is still our child, still the 9-year-old little girl that left.”

According to investigators, Degree reportedly left her bedroom, presumably in the middle of the night, with her bookbag.

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.

Degree’s parents, who had their 33rd wedding anniversary Sunday, believe there are still clues out there.

They also want closure.

“This is worse than death because, at least with death, you have closure,” Iquilla Degree said. “You can go to a gravesite, or if you have the urn at home, but for us, we can’t mourn, we can’t give up. The only thing we got is hope.”

The FBI told WBTV they continue to discuss and investigate Degree’s disappearance.

“We are definitely still actively investigating the case,” said Shelly Lynch, with FBI Charlotte. “We continue to have regular meetings with investigators from FBI, Cleveland County, and the SBI. We are actively investigating, following leads, generating new ones, conducting interviews, utilizing new advancements in technology that didn’t exist before.”

Throughout the years investigators found clues, including her backpack with a t-shirt and book inside of it. The items did not belong to Degree.

They also released photos of potential suspect vehicles, but none of them led to any arrests.

Experts from the National Center of Missing and Exploited Children used photos from Degree’s childhood, and of her family members to create a new age-progressed photo.

If you know anything that could help investigators, call the FBI at 704- 672-6100 or the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office at 704 484-4822.

Copyright 2021 WBTV. All rights reserved.