Asha Degree, 9, disappears on Valentine’s Day

New details and possibly a new witness have emerged in the troubling case of a beautiful little girl, 9-year-old, Asha Degree.   Asha vanished from Shelby, North Carolina, and the FBI is asking for help to identify a car that could very well crack the case of missing Asha.

Sixteen long years have passed since the 9-year-old seemingly disappeared into thin air. Just before she went missing, Asha was seen walking along Highway 18, only a t10-minute walk away, just a mile from her family’s Shelby home.

Her father last saw Asha asleep in bed at 2:30 a.m., on the morning of February 14, 2000. Hours later, a driver spotted her walking down North Carolina Highway 18 in Shelby, not far from her home.

School supplies identified as belonging to the little girl were discovered in a barn shortly after she went missing.  Twenty miles from her home, Asha’s school book bag was also found, sixteen months later.  The book bag had been wrapped in trash bags and buried.

New details about the car that could have picked her up have developed when a “new witness” came forward.

FBI Spokesperson Shelley Lynch revealed, “They believe they may have seen someone matching Asha’s description get into a distinctive vehicle the morning she was seen walking on Highway 18 in the Shelby area,” revealed FBI Spokesperson Shelley Lynch.

An FBI poster now features age progression photos and pictures of cars like the one the witness has described: a dark green, 1970s Lincoln Mark IV or Ford Thunderbird with rust visible around the wheel well.  The FBI also re-organized the case and is re-examining files, putting a new team of detectives in place to work the case.

“We do believe that she’s still alive,” her mom says.  Both parents still believe she is alive and still regularly retrace what they think may have been her last known route.

“She’s the first thing on my mind when I wake up in the morning and the last thing on my mind when I go to sleep at night. She’s my child,” Asha’s mom continued. I will never give up on her. I will never forget about her, and if we don’t keep hope and keep her name out why would anybody else do it.”

There is a $25,000 reward for information related to Asha’s disappearance.

If you know anything about Asha’s disappearance the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office asks you to please contact them at (704) 484-4822.

[Photo: National Center for Missing & Exploited Children]