New FBI push to find Asha Degree, missing for 12 years

Published: Feb. 14, 2012 at 3:48 PM EST|Updated: Mar. 15, 2012 at 2:48 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Federal investigators are working to bring new attention to the case of a missing girl, 12 years after she disappeared.

On February 14, 2000, 9-year-old Asha Degree left her home in Shelby, NC in the middle of the night and never came back.

Asha's family last saw her asleep in her bedroom around 2:30 am.  An hour and a half later, she was seen by drivers walking along North Carolina Highway 18 in Shelby.

Her parents reported her missing by 6:30 am.  More than a year later, Asha's book bag was discovered buried along NC 18 in Burke County.

The Charlotte Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigations announced on Tuesday that it is planning a multi-platform media campaign, using media publicity, digital billboards, online promotion, and the use of social media in the search for new tips to find Asha.

Asha's parents, Iquilla and Harold Degree spoke with WBTV Tuesday.  Valentine's Day is actually their wedding anniversary.  They've been married 24 years, but despite hitting that milestone, they aren't celebrating.

"We celebrate every other day of the year besides this day," said Iquilla. "This day is all about her."

Iquilla said even after 12 years, she never gives up hope of seeing her daughter alive.

"We don't believe she's dead. We're looking for a person, ok? There's other people looking for remains, but we're looking for a person," she said.

A photo of Asha as a 9-year-old child and an age-progressed photo of what she would look like at the age of 19 will be featured on digital billboards across the Charlotte area. The picture will also be sent out on various FBI social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter.

The FBI is investigating Asha's disappearance in partnership with the Cleveland County Sheriff's Office and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation.

Additionally, the Cleveland County Sheriff's Office Cold Case Unit will be reviewing Asha's case in the near future.

Sheriff Alan Norman has a daughter who's about the same age as Asha, who is 21 this year.

"It's extremely important for me to see that that family has closure," said Norman. "I cannot imagine what this family has been through for the past twelve years."

Anyone with information regarding this case should call FBI Charlotte at 704-672-6100 or the Cleveland County Sheriff's Office at 704-484-4787.

Copyright 2012 WBTV. All rights reserved.