FBI Releases Age Progressed Photo of Asha Degree 20 Years After Her Disappearance

CHARLOTTE, NC – It’s been 20 years since a Shelby girl disappeared from her home. Despite all that time, investigators are not giving up the search for Asha Degree. On Friday, the FBI released a new age-progression photo of her to try and generate new leads.

“Twenty years is too long to live with this burden,” said Cleveland County Sheriff Alan Norman.

Norman spoke with passion during a news conference.

“I want to bring her home and it’s my responsibility to bring her home. And to bring closure,” said Norman.

The nine-year-old vanished on Valentine’s Day 2000 from her Shelby home.

“This is worse than death. Because at least with death you’ve got closure,” said Iquilla Degree, Asha’s mother.

We spoke to her in 2018 while she was doing her annual walk along Highway 18 where she was last seen.

“Shes’s the first thing on my mind when I wake up, the last thing on my mind when I go to sleep,” said Degree.

She hasn’t given up hope, and neither has law enforcement.
“It is not sitting on a shelf. I know you sometimes think, twenty years that maybe people are not working on a case every day, but we are,” said Shelley Lynch, a spokesperson with the FBI.

Officials say they’ve received 45 tips just this year. Last year police said they’re looking for someone who may have checked out the book Mcelligot’s Pool from Fallston Elementary school back when Asha disappeared.

They also want to talk to anyone who may have had a New Kids on the Block T-shirt.

As clues continue to come in, the answer to where Asha Degree is remains illusive.

“We believe that someone in our community has those answers and the information that we’re looking for to help bring her home,” said Norman.