Asha Degree vanished from her Shelby, North Carolina, home before dawn on Valentine’s Day in 2000. Her parents had tucked her into bed without issue the night before. After midnight, when a nearby car accident left the family’s neighborhood without power, Asha’s father went to check on her and found her still sound asleep.
The events that followed left local police and the FBI at a loss. Asha shared a room with her older brother, O’Bryant. He told investigators he heard her bed squeak in the middle of the night but chalked it up to Asha shifting in the night.
After packing her black backpack with a T-shirt and school library book, Asha stepped outside and walked into the rainy night. Two drivers reported seeing her on the side of North Carolina Highway 18 around 4 a.m. One even turned around to see if she was okay, but Asha ran off into the woods. She has never been seen again.
“After 20 years, I still believe my daughter is alive,” Iquilla Degree said in 2020. “I do not believe she is dead. And I know someone knows something. I’m not crazy enough to think that a nine-year-old can disappear into thin air without somebody knowing something.”
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