Asha Degree /// 475 /// 476

DO YOU KNOW THIS GIRL??? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

80 comments

  • Kim Clark
    Kim Clark Texas
    Could she have made plans to meet/runaway with someone from the sleepover? Perhaps that’s how she had the NKOTB t-shirt and book?

    Could she have made plans to meet/runaway with someone from the sleepover? Perhaps that’s how she had the NKOTB t-shirt and book?

  • Casey
    Casey Shelby NC
    Thank you for bringing awareness to Asha and her story. I played on her basketball team as a forward. That Saturday, when we lost our first game of the season, it was hard on us all. And like Captain said, sports were taken way more seriously then in 2000. We had banquets with MVP players, and it wasn’t about just playing to play. It was more than that... But enough of that.... I remember going to school Monday and hearing about what had happened. Whispers in the cafeteria. Teachers huddling in the corners crying. We still had practice that night. The coaches thought it would bring some kind of normalcy. But I remember sitting there crying wondering where she had gone and why. For weeks there was meetings with the guidance counselor, our coaches, and teachers. Over the years, all those little pieces of evidence that have been found or tips that have been placed, I get anxious and nervous over the fact there might finally be some answers. But there’s not. A few years ago, when the special missing children unit took on her case, 2 detectives came to my home and interviewed me out of the blue. I actually wrote down everything that happened after that. The questions they asked and the people they inquired about, so I wouldn’t forget it. Over time, memories can become muddled. You only grasp bits and pieces like you’re in a foggy field and you can only see objects here and there. I didn’t want to forget anything. On another side note, my dad took a similar route to work then. Every day around 5am. He told me that it was raining heavily and very cold. The visibility was poor. So when the truckers seen her, I have no doubts they would’ve thought she was a young woman instead. These are all just tidbits of information I remember. I was only 9 as well. I have followed her case since then and have read journalists, blogs, podcasts, and I often pull out my old newspaper clippings and basketball photos. I keep her memory alive and hope and pray there are answers soon.

    Thank you for bringing awareness to Asha and her story. I played on her basketball team as a forward. That Saturday, when we lost our first game of the season, it was hard on us all. And like Captain said, sports were taken way more seriously then in 2000. We had banquets with MVP players, and it wasn’t about just playing to play. It was more than that... But enough of that.... I remember going to school Monday and hearing about what had happened. Whispers in the cafeteria. Teachers huddling in the corners crying. We still had practice that night. The coaches thought it would bring some kind of normalcy. But I remember sitting there crying wondering where she had gone and why. For weeks there was meetings with the guidance counselor, our coaches, and teachers. Over the years, all those little pieces of evidence that have been found or tips that have been placed, I get anxious and nervous over the fact there might finally be some answers. But there’s not. A few years ago, when the special missing children unit took on her case, 2 detectives came to my home and interviewed me out of the blue. I actually wrote down everything that happened after that. The questions they asked and the people they inquired about, so I wouldn’t forget it. Over time, memories can become muddled. You only grasp bits and pieces like you’re in a foggy field and you can only see objects here and there. I didn’t want to forget anything. On another side note, my dad took a similar route to work then. Every day around 5am. He told me that it was raining heavily and very cold. The visibility was poor. So when the truckers seen her, I have no doubts they would’ve thought she was a young woman instead. These are all just tidbits of information I remember. I was only 9 as well. I have followed her case since then and have read journalists, blogs, podcasts, and I often pull out my old newspaper clippings and basketball photos. I keep her memory alive and hope and pray there are answers soon.

  • Melissa Gayan
    Melissa Gayan Georgia
    Thank you for helping to keep Asha's story in the news. I lived in the Charlotte Metro region when Asia disappeared. It was horrible. Her father has been questioned ever since by armchair detectives. It's so unfair, you know he had to have been vetted by law enforcement. Keep up the good work!

    Thank you for helping to keep Asha's story in the news. I lived in the Charlotte Metro region when Asia disappeared. It was horrible. Her father has been questioned ever since by armchair detectives. It's so unfair, you know he had to have been vetted by law enforcement. Keep up the good work!

  • Taylor
    Taylor Los Angeles, CA
    What if she had a penpal who sent her that picture and they made plans to meet up? Maybe someone older was pretending to be her age to lure her out of her home.

    What if she had a penpal who sent her that picture and they made plans to meet up? Maybe someone older was pretending to be her age to lure her out of her home.

  • Georgia
    Georgia Canberra, Australia
    I wonder if the photo of the little girl that was found was someone Asha was corresponding with as a pen pal? But maybe the person writing to her was not a child at all but an adult posing as a child (ie. a grooming situation)?

    I wonder if the photo of the little girl that was found was someone Asha was corresponding with as a pen pal? But maybe the person writing to her was not a child at all but an adult posing as a child (ie. a grooming situation)?

  • Lisa Ketchum
    Lisa Ketchum Mississippi
    Someone groomed this child. Idk if it was a neighbor or some other person, but I find it maddening that we don’t at least have a poi after all this time. I hope the cops do have a focus.

    Someone groomed this child. Idk if it was a neighbor or some other person, but I find it maddening that we don’t at least have a poi after all this time. I hope the cops do have a focus.

  • Jenn
    Jenn New Jersey
    I always lean toward the theory that a family member or friend was grooming her. I dont know if I'd go as far as to say Asha was a latchkey kid, however, it's apparent that her mother and father instilled alot of responsibility into her (having the key to the house, going to school by bus). Those actions alone lead me to believe she was smart enough to know through having to do these things, that you don't talk to strangers, or get into their vehicles. At the very least only her parents instilled that into her, or at best she's also he learning this in school with her peers. The only way I could see a smart and responsible child like Asha, feeling brave and secure enough to venture out into the darkness during a thunderstorm was if she knew who the person was that made the plans for her. And not just anyone like a teacher or sports coach either, a family friend she's seen her parents/family interact with on multiple occasions. I also believe there's a strong possibility that she's had multiple one on one interactions with this person. If she was educated on stranger danger, and knew the do's and don'ts, then she was at a high comfort level, high enough to obey specific instructions from this individual and hide them from her parents. Why? because in reality the person most definitely is no stranger to her, especially if she watches her mother, father or extended family interact with them. Just having that mental imagine of someone her age, so small and innocent, walking along a cold, dark highway alone during a storm makes me feel so sad and anxious. There is no way the person responsible wasn't a family friend/member, and I can bet they somehow involved themselves in the search/ made themselves available to the family as someone who can help and was concerned.

    I always lean toward the theory that a family member or friend was grooming her. I dont know if I'd go as far as to say Asha was a latchkey kid, however, it's apparent that her mother and father instilled alot of responsibility into her (having the key to the house, going to school by bus). Those actions alone lead me to believe she was smart enough to know through having to do these things, that you don't talk to strangers, or get into their vehicles. At the very least only her parents instilled that into her, or at best she's also he learning this in school with her peers.

    The only way I could see a smart and responsible child like Asha, feeling brave and secure enough to venture out into the darkness during a thunderstorm was if she knew who the person was that made the plans for her. And not just anyone like a teacher or sports coach either, a family friend she's seen her parents/family interact with on multiple occasions.

    I also believe there's a strong possibility that she's had multiple one on one interactions with this person. If she was educated on stranger danger, and knew the do's and don'ts, then she was at a high comfort level, high enough to obey specific instructions from this individual and hide them from her parents. Why? because in reality the person most definitely is no stranger to her, especially if she watches her mother, father or extended family interact with them.

    Just having that mental imagine of someone her age, so small and innocent, walking along a cold, dark highway alone during a storm makes me feel so sad and anxious. There is no way the person responsible wasn't a family friend/member, and I can bet they somehow involved themselves in the search/ made themselves available to the family as someone who can help and was concerned.

  • chris
    chris fl
    The Captain asked whether Asha's direction on foot that morning took her toward the school (Nic said no). I was hoping the dear Captain would follow that up asking if she was headed toward wherever the sleepover was held. I'm sure the investigators thoroughly investigated the youngsters who attended, but something really simple might've drawn her back -- a rooster crowing the dawn, early morning livestock feeding, etc. Also, like Kim pointed out above, a runaway pact could've been hatched there, though it seems investigators would've subsequently sniffed that out. Also, kids are absolutely cruel to each other. Somebody could have said something at the sleepover, or she could have been ridiculed so intensely it really threw her. Sadly, like the case of Brandon Swanson (ep. 332-334), the most likely outcome is she became disoriented, and the elements overcame her. I checked the weather there that morning, and it got as low as 33. The next day's low was 32. (Feb. 14 & Feb. 15, 2000; Charlotte NC; almanac.com). Hypothermia seems most likely to me with kidnapping another possibility. Finally, Nic was way too hard on the Captain when Nic shut down the sleepwalking discussion. Like Nic, I'm not a fan of that theory, but be nice to your dear friend and our Captain, Nic!

    The Captain asked whether Asha's direction on foot that morning took her toward the school (Nic said no). I was hoping the dear Captain would follow that up asking if she was headed toward wherever the sleepover was held. I'm sure the investigators thoroughly investigated the youngsters who attended, but something really simple might've drawn her back -- a rooster crowing the dawn, early morning livestock feeding, etc. Also, like Kim pointed out above, a runaway pact could've been hatched there, though it seems investigators would've subsequently sniffed that out. Also, kids are absolutely cruel to each other. Somebody could have said something at the sleepover, or she could have been ridiculed so intensely it really threw her.

    Sadly, like the case of Brandon Swanson (ep. 332-334), the most likely outcome is she became disoriented, and the elements overcame her. I checked the weather there that morning, and it got as low as 33. The next day's low was 32. (Feb. 14 & Feb. 15, 2000; Charlotte NC; almanac.com). Hypothermia seems most likely to me with kidnapping another possibility.

    Finally, Nic was way too hard on the Captain when Nic shut down the sleepwalking discussion. Like Nic, I'm not a fan of that theory, but be nice to your dear friend and our Captain, Nic!

  • Donnie Peeler
    Donnie Peeler FALLSTON NC
    Ok..here's my thoughts...first I host the Crack House Chronicles podcast and we covered this case a while back and its constantly on my mind cause it's from right here where I live. My only problem with with whole case is...Asha, a 9 year old gets up in the night and leaves. I don't see it happening. Most kids when they go to sleep are OUT! It's even impossible at times to wake them up for school. Especially since she had a busy weekend, she would have been exhausted! I know its tough to say but I feel something happened in that tiny duplex that night/early morning hours and she didn't leave on her own.

    Ok..here's my thoughts...first I host the Crack House Chronicles podcast and we covered this case a while back and its constantly on my mind cause it's from right here where I live. My only problem with with whole case is...Asha, a 9 year old gets up in the night and leaves. I don't see it happening. Most kids when they go to sleep are OUT! It's even impossible at times to wake them up for school. Especially since she had a busy weekend, she would have been exhausted! I know its tough to say but I feel something happened in that tiny duplex that night/early morning hours and she didn't leave on her own.

  • Megan
    Megan Louisiana
    I agree with the above comment. I was wondering if she was meeting up with a pen pal or a girl that she thought she was "saving" from something or someone and was abducted in the process of reaching her destination.

    I agree with the above comment. I was wondering if she was meeting up with a pen pal or a girl that she thought she was "saving" from something or someone and was abducted in the process of reaching her destination.

  • Sharon Cameron
    Sharon Cameron Nebraska
    I have listened to other podcasts about Asha Degree. One item of interest that you didn’t mention was what they believe she was wearing. She dressed carefully and nicely, not what you’d wear going out into a storm. But what you’d wear if you we’re going to meet up with someone special or who is important enough to you to look nice.

    I have listened to other podcasts about Asha Degree. One item of interest that you didn’t mention was what they believe she was wearing. She dressed carefully and nicely, not what you’d wear going out into a storm. But what you’d wear if you we’re going to meet up with someone special or who is important enough to you to look nice.

  • Sonya
    Sonya Texas
    The strange thing about the NKOTB shirt is that was not from her time...by 2000 they were not really popular anymore.

    The strange thing about the NKOTB shirt is that was not from her time...by 2000 they were not really popular anymore.

  • christa
    christa NC
    #1 question I have right out of the gate: how did she, a 9 year old, make sure to wake up to leave the house at 0230ish hours in the morning to "meet" anyone (I'm addressing the "meeting someone/running away" theory here) ... certainly there was not an alarm set that sounded because the brother didn't mention hearing one but mentions hearing her moving around. So she suddenly wakes up in the middle of the night and makes a decision to run away/meet someone? nah! but this is a strange one!

    #1 question I have right out of the gate: how did she, a 9 year old, make sure to wake up to leave the house at 0230ish hours in the morning to "meet" anyone (I'm addressing the "meeting someone/running away" theory here) ... certainly there was not an alarm set that sounded because the brother didn't mention hearing one but mentions hearing her moving around. So she suddenly wakes up in the middle of the night and makes a decision to run away/meet someone? nah! but this is a strange one!

  • Julie Armintrout
    Julie Armintrout Pequot Lakes MN
    I think there is a possibility that she met someone, perhaps at a basketball game, who lured her with a picture of a little girl. Maybe suggesting that they meet up so she could meet this girl.

    I think there is a possibility that she met someone, perhaps at a basketball game, who lured her with a picture of a little girl. Maybe suggesting that they meet up so she could meet this girl.

  • Jenni
    Jenni Lexington, KY
    I am wondering if Asha had a secret "pen pal" - she and her brother were the first ones home, and alone. Possibly the mail ran in the meantime and Asha would check the mail and get her letters without anyone knowing. Possibly she was lured out by some creep who used that photo pretending to be Asha's friend or even they told her it was her long lost twin sister (they look similar). Possibly the creep told her if you meet me this time, this place and you will meet her. They picked her up, either sold her into sex trade or murdered her. Far fetched? Maybe, but less far fetched than sleep walking. Great coverage, guys! Cheers!

    I am wondering if Asha had a secret "pen pal" - she and her brother were the first ones home, and alone. Possibly the mail ran in the meantime and Asha would check the mail and get her letters without anyone knowing. Possibly she was lured out by some creep who used that photo pretending to be Asha's friend or even they told her it was her long lost twin sister (they look similar). Possibly the creep told her if you meet me this time, this place and you will meet her. They picked her up, either sold her into sex trade or murdered her. Far fetched? Maybe, but less far fetched than sleep walking. Great coverage, guys! Cheers!

  • Jessica
    Jessica Nova Scotia
    Could the picture been from a pen pal? I know growing up at school we would have pen pals with other schools. Sometimes they would send their picture. I agree, that the picture of the girl holds a great significance to the case.

    Could the picture been from a pen pal? I know growing up at school we would have pen pals with other schools. Sometimes they would send their picture. I agree, that the picture of the girl holds a great significance to the case.

  • Laura
    Laura Long Island
    That photo looks like a school photo. Had her school recently done school photos? If so, did anyone look into the photog and his/her assistant?

    That photo looks like a school photo. Had her school recently done school photos? If so, did anyone look into the photog and his/her assistant?

  • Sharon Cameron
    Sharon Cameron Nebraska
    It would be interesting to know if LE sent a copy of that child’s photo to all the company’s that took school photographs. In our area the same company comes back yearly. This case reminds me of Delphi in that don’t sit on information till it’s of no redeemable use because people memories fade or people die

    It would be interesting to know if LE sent a copy of that child’s photo to all the company’s that took school photographs. In our area the same company comes back yearly. This case reminds me of Delphi in that don’t sit on information till it’s of no redeemable use because people memories fade or people die

  • Mackenzie
    Mackenzie Texas
    Sleepwalkers can do things but it is generally actions that would be typical for them. Normal movements like going to the kitchen or bathroom. And if Asha was sleepwalking, there are only two possibilities. She would have woken up at some point and sought out help. Or she would have died in an accident and her body would have been found.

    Sleepwalkers can do things but it is generally actions that would be typical for them. Normal movements like going to the kitchen or bathroom.

    And if Asha was sleepwalking, there are only two possibilities. She would have woken up at some point and sought out help. Or she would have died in an accident and her body would have been found.

  • Rileyv
    Rileyv Iowa
    Did Asha have a pen pal? I was thinking about how I had one when I was her age and we exchanged pictures. Maybe the girl in the picture was a pen pal and they made plans to meet? Another thing I was thinking about is the sleepover. It was stated there were a lot of people there. Were they all kids? And if they were, do we know the age range? It's possible someone there somehow convinced her into meeting them somewhere. Maybe they used the picture to convince her by maybe saying they needed to find the girl in it. I do like the sleep walking theory. I had a family member who would sleep walk and bake at the same time so it's possible. One more thing, saying kids her age have no sense of direction.. at that age I knew which way I needed to go to get to surrounding towns I'd been to so it's possible she did know where she was going.

    Did Asha have a pen pal? I was thinking about how I had one when I was her age and we exchanged pictures. Maybe the girl in the picture was a pen pal and they made plans to meet?

    Another thing I was thinking about is the sleepover. It was stated there were a lot of people there. Were they all kids? And if they were, do we know the age range? It's possible someone there somehow convinced her into meeting them somewhere. Maybe they used the picture to convince her by maybe saying they needed to find the girl in it.

    I do like the sleep walking theory. I had a family member who would sleep walk and bake at the same time so it's possible.

    One more thing, saying kids her age have no sense of direction.. at that age I knew which way I needed to go to get to surrounding towns I'd been to so it's possible she did know where she was going.

  • Slatts McCracker
    Slatts McCracker Syd, Australia
    I don’t believe in the sleepwalking theory, but I need to back the Captain up a bit here. Remember, she doesn’t have to have been sleepwalking for the entire walk. It’s possible she was sleepwalking initially, woke and was then disoriented. That may explain her alert reaction to the truck driver. Also, there are various forms of sleepwalking with varying degrees of consciousness. Again though, sleepwalking cannot explain everything in this case. Don’t worry Nic, you nailed ‘Wollongong’... Cheers

    I don’t believe in the sleepwalking theory, but I need to back the Captain up a bit here.

    Remember, she doesn’t have to have been sleepwalking for the entire walk. It’s possible she was sleepwalking initially, woke and was then disoriented. That may explain her alert reaction to the truck driver. Also, there are various forms of sleepwalking with varying degrees of consciousness.

    Again though, sleepwalking cannot explain everything in this case.

    Don’t worry Nic, you nailed ‘Wollongong’...

    Cheers

  • Sam F
    Sam F
    I have same question as Kim above: could she have conspired with or met someone at the sleepover who could have enticed her to run away? By all indications there were a lot of people at this sleepover, it doesn’t seem unreasonable that a bunch of young teen/pre-teen kids would talk about going on an adventure or running away. Alternatively, could there have been a friend of a family friend at this gathering that enticed her? It just seems like she would have not done this on her own impetus. Without internet access, where else would someone have had enough time and access to her to convince her to leave?

    I have same question as Kim above: could she have conspired with or met someone at the sleepover who could have enticed her to run away? By all indications there were a lot of people at this sleepover, it doesn’t seem unreasonable that a bunch of young teen/pre-teen kids would talk about going on an adventure or running away. Alternatively, could there have been a friend of a family friend at this gathering that enticed her? It just seems like she would have not done this on her own impetus. Without internet access, where else would someone have had enough time and access to her to convince her to leave?

  • Carole
    Carole Colorado
    I think someone in the family did away with her. Then they placed articles in the shed and thru her book bag out around the highway she was supposedly seen walking after they knew thats where people were looking.

    I think someone in the family did away with her. Then they placed articles in the shed and thru her book bag out around the highway she was supposedly seen walking after they knew thats where people were looking.

  • Aine Walsh
    Aine Walsh
    I hope they have checked all of the school district employees. They had access to library books, access to Asha in order to groom her. Her backpack had items that did not belong to her, the person grooming her could have been giving her gifts, maybe they even gave her a photo of another little girl, claiming it was his child to gain Asha’s trust. It was obviously someone who had access to Asha prior to her going missing, a district employee, older student at her school, friend’s parent. My heart aches for her parents 😔

    I hope they have checked all of the school district employees. They had access to library books, access to Asha in order to groom her. Her backpack had items that did not belong to her, the person grooming her could have been giving her gifts, maybe they even gave her a photo of another little girl, claiming it was his child to gain Asha’s trust. It was obviously someone who had access to Asha prior to her going missing, a district employee, older student at her school, friend’s parent. My heart aches for her parents 😔

  • Lemon
    Lemon UK
    Hi Nick & Capn’ A few things occur to me: A) The mystery photo....it seems entirely possible that this hasn’t been mentioned in years because LE found out who it was of & why Asha had it. It may not have been remotely mysterious once they had the explanation & they have no reason to bring attention to it anymore. It would be helpful if they just said that, of course, but it’s not really been a major part of online discussions & speculation so maybe they felt no need. B) The New Kids on the Block t shirt/nightie.... I read somewhere that the photo LE supplied of it was actually taken off Ebay..and was not a photo of the actual item in the bag. This is odd. Either the nightie was too degraded/dirty to be useful in identification or (and this is complete speculation) the nightie itself wan’t actually in the backpack. Maybe a photo of Asha wearing it was. An alarming thought. C) When Asha got up in the night there is no suggestion that she had set an alarm to wake her up. O’Bryant would surely have heard it if she had. Did they even have a clock in their room? If Mum woke them up every morning herself, then probably not. It therefore seems unlikely that she was heading out for an appointment...how would she know she’d wake up at the right time? I think it far more likely that someone woke her up from outside...maybe throwing pebbles at the window or tapping on it (wasn’t it a single storey house?) Possibly the perp didn’t know she shared with her brother & it’s sheer (bad) luck that only Asha heard and woke up. The fact that she didn’t put her coat on is highly significant. Nine is very young, but not too young to know to put a coat on when going out on a cold, rainy night. This strongly suggests she didn’t intend to be out for very long at all & fully intended to sneak back in very shortly. She may not actually have intended on going any further than her garden. I think someone had to have lured her out somehow. It’s extremely rare for a child of that age to run away, even rarer to do it in the middle of the night. It’s also statistically rare for a stranger to abduct a child from the street...so three very rare events occur within one hour or so? No. I don’t buy it. I think she’d had a conversation a day or so earlier with an older male who promised her an amazing secret Valentine/anniversary gift for her parents. “Don’t tell anyone..I’ll bring it to your house when everyone’s asleep”. He shows up, taps on the window or throws pebbles, she grabs her backpack to hide the “gift” in and nips out to meet him in the garden. I think she must have gotten away from him at some stage, which accounts for the sightings, but he later found her again. The double bagging iof the backpack suggests he wanted to go back for it at some stage but couldn’t store it at his home or anywhere near it & I have an awful feeling there may have been more in it than LE are willing to say, such as photographs. These are just some thoughts of mine. An awful case & I really hope her family receive some answers one day.

    Hi Nick & Capn’
    A few things occur to me:

    A) The mystery photo....it seems entirely possible that this hasn’t been mentioned in years because LE found out who it was of & why Asha had it. It may not have been remotely mysterious once they had the explanation & they have no reason to bring attention to it anymore. It would be helpful if they just said that, of course, but it’s not really been a major part of online discussions & speculation so maybe they felt no need.

    B) The New Kids on the Block t shirt/nightie.... I read somewhere that the photo LE supplied of it was actually taken off Ebay..and was not a photo of the actual item in the bag. This is odd. Either the nightie was too degraded/dirty to be useful in identification or (and this is complete speculation) the nightie itself wan’t actually in the backpack. Maybe a photo of Asha wearing it was. An alarming thought.

    C) When Asha got up in the night there is no suggestion that she had set an alarm to wake her up. O’Bryant would surely have heard it if she had. Did they even have a clock in their room? If Mum woke them up every morning herself, then probably not. It therefore seems unlikely that she was heading out for an appointment...how would she know she’d wake up at the right time? I think it far more likely that someone woke her up from outside...maybe throwing pebbles at the window or tapping on it (wasn’t it a single storey house?) Possibly the perp didn’t know she shared with her brother & it’s sheer (bad) luck that only Asha heard and woke up.

    The fact that she didn’t put her coat on is highly significant. Nine is very young, but not too young to know to put a coat on when going out on a cold, rainy night. This strongly suggests she didn’t intend to be out for very long at all & fully intended to sneak back in very shortly. She may not actually have intended on going any further than her garden.

    I think someone had to have lured her out somehow. It’s extremely rare for a child of that age to run away, even rarer to do it in the middle of the night. It’s also statistically rare for a stranger to abduct a child from the street...so three very rare events occur within one hour or so? No. I don’t buy it.

    I think she’d had a conversation a day or so earlier with an older male who promised her an amazing secret Valentine/anniversary gift for her parents. “Don’t tell anyone..I’ll bring it to your house when everyone’s asleep”. He shows up, taps on the window or throws pebbles, she grabs her backpack to hide the “gift” in and nips out to meet him in the garden. I think she must have gotten away from him at some stage, which accounts for the sightings, but he later found her again.

    The double bagging iof the backpack suggests he wanted to go back for it at some stage but couldn’t store it at his home or anywhere near it & I have an awful feeling there may have been more in it than LE are willing to say, such as photographs.

    These are just some thoughts of mine. An awful case & I really hope her family receive some answers one day.

  • D
    D London, UK
    I agree the identity of the girl in the picture could be a very important clue. I wonder if instead of the apparent urgency of Asha's departure being about herself it was rather about this girl, as in, maybe Asha thought she needed to save this girl from something. It's just baffling that she would leave in such dire weather conditions if everything was ok in her life. If she was lured, maybe this is how she was lured.

    I agree the identity of the girl in the picture could be a very important clue. I wonder if instead of the apparent urgency of Asha's departure being about herself it was rather about this girl, as in, maybe Asha thought she needed to save this girl from something. It's just baffling that she would leave in such dire weather conditions if everything was ok in her life. If she was lured, maybe this is how she was lured.

  • Megan
    Megan NC
    Schools only use a handful of companies to do school pictures and each company would use those classic school picture backdrops for one year before changing them.....that could help identify the unknown girl in picture.

    Schools only use a handful of companies to do school pictures and each company would use those classic school picture backdrops for one year before changing them.....that could help identify the unknown girl in picture.

  • Gigi
    Gigi Brisbane
    Does the Captain keep mentioning sleepwalking just to bug Nic? Ha! It’s a very unlikely possibility that she slept walked her way out. This case is a real head scratcher. I may have missed something but how did all those items end up in that old tool shed? This case reminds me a lot of another one you did where a little girl left her home for no apparent reason too. I hope they find her. They may be able to solve it then.

    Does the Captain keep mentioning sleepwalking just to bug Nic? Ha! It’s a very unlikely possibility that she slept walked her way out.
    This case is a real head scratcher.
    I may have missed something but how did all those items end up in that old tool shed?
    This case reminds me a lot of another one you did where a little girl left her home for no apparent reason too.

    I hope they find her. They may be able to solve it then.

  • Nicole
    Nicole Los Angeles
    Those were my thoughts- Were all of the children at the sleepover and at her school questioned for this purpose of learning ANYTHING? Any connection to the family with the shed where her initial belongings were found? Hopefully her parents and brother have all submitted their DNA to all sites so if she was kidnapped and is still out there, DNA/ancestry may lead them all to each other. This one is tough!!!

    Those were my thoughts- Were all of the children at the sleepover and at her school questioned for this purpose of learning ANYTHING? Any connection to the family with the shed where her initial belongings were found? Hopefully her parents and brother have all submitted their DNA to all sites so if she was kidnapped and is still out there, DNA/ancestry may lead them all to each other. This one is tough!!!

  • Sarah Lapre
    Sarah Lapre
    it seems possible to me that she did start out sleepwalking, then woke at some point out in the dark and rain and got scared. maybe someone saw her from the road heading down toward the shed, and they followed here there. gave her that picture to say "see? I have/know a little girl just like you-you can trust me to take you home" and then of course, did not do that.

    it seems possible to me that she did start out sleepwalking, then woke at some point out in the dark and rain and got scared. maybe someone saw her from the road heading down toward the shed, and they followed here there. gave her that picture to say "see? I have/know a little girl just like you-you can trust me to take you home" and then of course, did not do that.

  • Jessica Sheehan
    Jessica Sheehan Massachusetts
    Has anyone checked with lifetouch (or whoever did the school pictures in North Carolina in 2000) to see if they can locate the girl in the picture?

    Has anyone checked with lifetouch (or whoever did the school pictures in North Carolina in 2000) to see if they can locate the girl in the picture?

  • B
    B WI
    I wonder if that picture could have been in the library book? I would be surprised that no one would recognize the picture though, but who knows how hard they circulated it at school. Do we know if the book was found in the shed or the backpack?

    I wonder if that picture could have been in the library book? I would be surprised that no one would recognize the picture though, but who knows how hard they circulated it at school. Do we know if the book was found in the shed or the backpack?

  • Mango
    Mango UK
    As the mother of a 9 year old girl if she did, indeed, leave the house in these circs it can only be at the behest of someone she trusts in the way a child trusts a parent. The answer to this case lies within the (possibly wider) family.

    As the mother of a 9 year old girl if she did, indeed, leave the house in these circs it can only be at the behest of someone she trusts in the way a child trusts a parent. The answer to this case lies within the (possibly wider) family.

  • B
    B WI
    Do we know if Asha had any money? Maybe she was going to get her parents a surprise anniversary or valentine's gift? She knows her dad stays up late, goes to stores later at night, so she may not thing it's weird to get up super late/early to go to the store. I can't imagine the storm wouldn't deter her, but kids can make pretty weird decisions sometimes. I also don't think it's too crazy to think she could have been sleepwalking. Taking her bag and getting dressed would be routine for her going to school. I'm not sure her reason for leaving is the key to this case. I think at some point she realized it was scary and she made a bad decision, she was lost and then decided to go to the shed for shelter or to take a break. I also worry that the CB radio announcement of a woman/girl on the road could have brought out a predator to go searching for her.

    Do we know if Asha had any money? Maybe she was going to get her parents a surprise anniversary or valentine's gift? She knows her dad stays up late, goes to stores later at night, so she may not thing it's weird to get up super late/early to go to the store. I can't imagine the storm wouldn't deter her, but kids can make pretty weird decisions sometimes.

    I also don't think it's too crazy to think she could have been sleepwalking. Taking her bag and getting dressed would be routine for her going to school.

    I'm not sure her reason for leaving is the key to this case. I think at some point she realized it was scary and she made a bad decision, she was lost and then decided to go to the shed for shelter or to take a break. I also worry that the CB radio announcement of a woman/girl on the road could have brought out a predator to go searching for her.

  • Alexis
    Alexis MA
    I don't recall you guys mentioning this on the show -- is it true that the power was out for part of the night? Does this call into question the idea that dad would have been watching tv into the middle of the night? (I don't think the parents are involved, I'm just wondering.)

    I don't recall you guys mentioning this on the show -- is it true that the power was out for part of the night? Does this call into question the idea that dad would have been watching tv into the middle of the night? (I don't think the parents are involved, I'm just wondering.)

  • True Crime Garage
    True Crime Garage
    @ Alexis - yes the power was off for awhile that night. It did go out and kick back on that night. I think the power going out certainly adds to the mystery as clocks could be wrong and people get times wrong. This should have been just any other night so times are not super important until Asha goes missing then you are rethinking everything! Cheers Nic

    @ Alexis - yes the power was off for awhile that night. It did go out and kick back on that night. I think the power going out certainly adds to the mystery as clocks could be wrong and people get times wrong. This should have been just any other night so times are not super important until Asha goes missing then you are rethinking everything!
    Cheers Nic

  • Blossom
    Blossom Cleveland
    My initial reaction upon hearing about this case is that Asha was being groomed by a predator, perhaps a teacher, a coach or other trusted adult, and that person convinced her to sneak out to meet up with them the night she disappeared.

    My initial reaction upon hearing about this case is that Asha was being groomed by a predator, perhaps a teacher, a coach or other trusted adult, and that person convinced her to sneak out to meet up with them the night she disappeared.

  • Jo-Jo
    Jo-Jo Las Vegas
    I understand the reason that the truck drivers got on their CB radios as it was storming and they wanted to let others know to watch out for her, but as a woman, this seems like enticing bait for the wrong person. It is quite possible that someone heard that there was a woman walking on the road in the rain in the middle of the night on the CB and picked her up. So that's one theory I have. There are so many strange variables in this case, though...the NKOTB shirt, the school photo of the unknown girl, the backpack double bagged and tossed...

    I understand the reason that the truck drivers got on their CB radios as it was storming and they wanted to let others know to watch out for her, but as a woman, this seems like enticing bait for the wrong person. It is quite possible that someone heard that there was a woman walking on the road in the rain in the middle of the night on the CB and picked her up. So that's one theory I have.

    There are so many strange variables in this case, though...the NKOTB shirt, the school photo of the unknown girl, the backpack double bagged and tossed...

  • Patricia
    Patricia OH
    So - I just finished reading a book about training a cadaver dog - What the Dog Knows by Cat Warren. Entirely fascinating. She goes through the entire process of training her pup to become a cadaver dog, including some of the science about dogs and scent. We don't really understand a lot about how dogs scent; there hasn't been a lot of money to throw at the research. But dog handlers can tell you that temperature has a big effect on how well a dog scents. If I remember correctly, when air is cold it doesn't move as much and the molecules of scent fall closer to the ground and are harder for a dog to gather enough scent. In the stories in the book, too early in the morning and a dog doesn't scent the graves they are trying to find, but once the day starts to warm up, the dogs clearly alert on the presumed location of the old family graves. Not that I'm an expert on tracking dogs, or anything really. But given the weather conditions you mention about the morning that Asha disappeared, I don't think it would be unusual for the dogs to not detect her. 

    So - I just finished reading a book about training a cadaver dog - What the Dog Knows by Cat Warren. Entirely fascinating. She goes through the entire process of training her pup to become a cadaver dog, including some of the science about dogs and scent.

    We don't really understand a lot about how dogs scent; there hasn't been a lot of money to throw at the research. But dog handlers can tell you that temperature has a big effect on how well a dog scents. If I remember correctly, when air is cold it doesn't move as much and the molecules of scent fall closer to the ground and are harder for a dog to gather enough scent. In the stories in the book, too early in the morning and a dog doesn't scent the graves they are trying to find, but once the day starts to warm up, the dogs clearly alert on the presumed location of the old family graves.

    Not that I'm an expert on tracking dogs, or anything really. But given the weather conditions you mention about the morning that Asha disappeared, I don't think it would be unusual for the dogs to not detect her. 

  • Alexis
    Alexis MA
    Thanks for the response, Nic. I think you guys did a great job laying everything out in the episode. I can really only think of two ways that things went down: 1) The scenario that you guys described, i.e. that she left on her own accord, and walked all the way from her house to the area where she was seen by the truckers. She got spooked and ran into the shed, maybe to take cover from the storm. From there I think she either left the shed later and was kidnapped by an someone in a crime of opportunity (unlikely) or was hit by a car and hidden/disposed of by the driver. I also wonder how closely the Turners were looked into - did they have a son or farmhand or someone else who may have found her in the shed early in the morning and seized an opportunity to do her harm? 2) A scenario in which she does leave the house on her own accord (confirmed by a neighbor seeing her walking near her home alone) but quickly met up with someone. Maybe someone groomed her or someone she trusted somehow lured her out of the house -- and maybe told her to meet them around the corner, and she got into their car but managed to escape them when she realized they were not trustworthy. Her escaping them could explain her being seen alone further down the road. Then maybe the person met up with her again and intercepted her. They could have taken cover in the shed and dropped some of her belongings, before disposing of her and the backpack later. I feel like the simplest answer is often the answer. The first scenario above seems to fit with the evidence/sightings the most, but it involves two things that I find so unlikely: that she would actually walk that far by herself in the dark and stormy weather, and that she just happened to encounter someone so evil to abduct or attack her. One of those on its own is unlikely, but both together seems very unlikely. Her sleepwalking for that long, and in a direction not familiar to her, doesn't seem plausible to me. It's interesting that the power was out at one point, and you're right that it could have affected the clocks. But even if she wasn't sure what time it is, that wouldn't explain her leaving the house on her own while her family is still sleeping. As you guys explained well, families have routines, and nothing about what she did indicates that she could have thought she was going about her normal day.

    Thanks for the response, Nic. I think you guys did a great job laying everything out in the episode. I can really only think of two ways that things went down:
    1) The scenario that you guys described, i.e. that she left on her own accord, and walked all the way from her house to the area where she was seen by the truckers. She got spooked and ran into the shed, maybe to take cover from the storm. From there I think she either left the shed later and was kidnapped by an someone in a crime of opportunity (unlikely) or was hit by a car and hidden/disposed of by the driver. I also wonder how closely the Turners were looked into - did they have a son or farmhand or someone else who may have found her in the shed early in the morning and seized an opportunity to do her harm?
    2) A scenario in which she does leave the house on her own accord (confirmed by a neighbor seeing her walking near her home alone) but quickly met up with someone. Maybe someone groomed her or someone she trusted somehow lured her out of the house -- and maybe told her to meet them around the corner, and she got into their car but managed to escape them when she realized they were not trustworthy. Her escaping them could explain her being seen alone further down the road. Then maybe the person met up with her again and intercepted her. They could have taken cover in the shed and dropped some of her belongings, before disposing of her and the backpack later.

    I feel like the simplest answer is often the answer. The first scenario above seems to fit with the evidence/sightings the most, but it involves two things that I find so unlikely: that she would actually walk that far by herself in the dark and stormy weather, and that she just happened to encounter someone so evil to abduct or attack her. One of those on its own is unlikely, but both together seems very unlikely.

    Her sleepwalking for that long, and in a direction not familiar to her, doesn't seem plausible to me. It's interesting that the power was out at one point, and you're right that it could have affected the clocks. But even if she wasn't sure what time it is, that wouldn't explain her leaving the house on her own while her family is still sleeping. As you guys explained well, families have routines, and nothing about what she did indicates that she could have thought she was going about her normal day.

  • Candice
    Candice Phoenix, AZ
    I just started the episode and I already have chills.....the opening description is so heart breaking. I had to stop when Nic said she was only 9, having a 9yr old daughter myself......

    I just started the episode and I already have chills.....the opening description is so heart breaking. I had to stop when Nic said she was only 9, having a 9yr old daughter myself......

  • Mia
    Mia Parts Unknown
    This definitely is a very bizarre case. She is afraid of the dark and of storms. I had heard that she was spotted walking with just a long sleeve shirt on. It’s raining and she is not even wearing a rain jacket or nothing? It does not make any sense that a 9 year old would be walking out on a highway in the wee hours of the morning. Surely someone has to know what happened. If she was lured out and murdered then who ever did it hasn’t opened their mouth and of course they are the smart criminals that never get caught. I do hope we find out what happened to this little girl. Her family needs to know.

    This definitely is a very bizarre case. She is afraid of the dark and of storms. I had heard that she was spotted walking with just a long sleeve shirt on. It’s raining and she is not even wearing a rain jacket or nothing? It does not make any sense that a 9 year old would be walking out on a highway in the wee hours of the morning. Surely someone has to know what happened. If she was lured out and murdered then who ever did it hasn’t opened their mouth and of course they are the smart criminals that never get caught. I do hope we find out what happened to this little girl. Her family needs to know.

  • Do we know .... since the backpack was double bagged, has it been swabbed for DNA? SOMEONE had to put it in the bags. I'm going to doubt it would have been Asha.

    Do we know .... since the backpack was double bagged, has it been swabbed for DNA?
    SOMEONE had to put it in the bags. I'm going to doubt it would have been Asha.

  • RACHEL
    RACHEL O-H-I-O
    I had the same exact thought as Lemon's point "c". How do you keep an appointment without a clock? As for the picture, I was a junior in High school in 2000, so clothing was a big part of my life. I know the photo is younger than I was at the time, but does anyone else think her outfit to be a bit dated for 2000? I dont think this was a contemporary photo. I entered kindergarten in 1989 and the outfit she is wearing in the photo as well as the background is more reminiscent of that era to me. And you know what else was popular then? NKOTB. I'm just wondering if this could be a case of a parent who lost a child and saw Asha and believed she bore a resemblance to their lost kid and conspired to kidnap her? Maybe furnishing her with their late daughters beloved shirt? This could explain why the mom does not believe Asha is deceased. Just because science cannot explain the bond between a mother and a child, doesn't mean it's not real. Amanda Berry's mom believed until she died that Amanda was alive, and she was <3 Of course I am a mother myself and so I am drawing on what I feel toward my kids. All speculation of course. But just my two cents anyway :) not married to the idea, just throwing it out there.

    I had the same exact thought as Lemon's point "c". How do you keep an appointment without a clock? As for the picture, I was a junior in High school in 2000, so clothing was a big part of my life. I know the photo is younger than I was at the time, but does anyone else think her outfit to be a bit dated for 2000? I dont think this was a contemporary photo. I entered kindergarten in 1989 and the outfit she is wearing in the photo as well as the background is more reminiscent of that era to me. And you know what else was popular then? NKOTB. I'm just wondering if this could be a case of a parent who lost a child and saw Asha and believed she bore a resemblance to their lost kid and conspired to kidnap her? Maybe furnishing her with their late daughters beloved shirt? This could explain why the mom does not believe Asha is deceased. Just because science cannot explain the bond between a mother and a child, doesn't mean it's not real. Amanda Berry's mom believed until she died that Amanda was alive, and she was <3 Of course I am a mother myself and so I am drawing on what I feel toward my kids. All speculation of course. But just my two cents anyway smile not married to the idea, just throwing it out there.

  • Jibbity
    Jibbity Unknown Part
    Hi - file the following to the category of 8-9 year olds doing unexpected things, including lighting out in the middle of the night with a backpack. A few years back a friend of mine had a son that age who was really into a series of education software games called 'Oregon Trail' which I believe asked players to plan/plot their way across country to settle in Oregon...virtually. Well, this dad happened to wake up in the middle of the night to go to bathroom to find his son leaving out the front door with a backpack of carefully chosen items. When asked, the boy calmly said he was heading for Oregon by way of the Oregon Trail...literally. Who knew? The kid was and remains well-adjusted and stable, as was the family. He just happened to naively fixate on this particular idea in the way I think 8-9-year-olds can do, but was mature enough to take very practical steps to achieve his goal under the radar -- it was pure chance that he was fortunately caught at the last possible moment. It could have easily ended very badly, leaving the parents without any explanation and few clues as to why he left and where he was hoping to get to. As for Asha -- what struck me was her tenacity on the journey, given the weather conditions. Having camped with my young daughters in the rain -- in a dry tent, with plenty of supplies -- the most common reaction in the face of wet/stormy conditions is for children (and many adults) to want to go home: somewhere safe and comfortable. That Asha did not turn back and return home despite unusually bad weather, in my mind, suggests that 'home' perhaps was not safe or comfortable for her for some non-trivial reasons. In other words, I think she was more motivated to -leave- something rather than -arrive- somewhere specific.

    Hi - file the following to the category of 8-9 year olds doing unexpected things, including lighting out in the middle of the night with a backpack.

    A few years back a friend of mine had a son that age who was really into a series of education software games called 'Oregon Trail' which I believe asked players to plan/plot their way across country to settle in Oregon...virtually. Well, this dad happened to wake up in the middle of the night to go to bathroom to find his son leaving out the front door with a backpack of carefully chosen items. When asked, the boy calmly said he was heading for Oregon by way of the Oregon Trail...literally. Who knew? The kid was and remains well-adjusted and stable, as was the family. He just happened to naively fixate on this particular idea in the way I think 8-9-year-olds can do, but was mature enough to take very practical steps to achieve his goal under the radar -- it was pure chance that he was fortunately caught at the last possible moment. It could have easily ended very badly, leaving the parents without any explanation and few clues as to why he left and where he was hoping to get to.

    As for Asha -- what struck me was her tenacity on the journey, given the weather conditions. Having camped with my young daughters in the rain -- in a dry tent, with plenty of supplies -- the most common reaction in the face of wet/stormy conditions is for children (and many adults) to want to go home: somewhere safe and comfortable. That Asha did not turn back and return home despite unusually bad weather, in my mind, suggests that 'home' perhaps was not safe or comfortable for her for some non-trivial reasons. In other words, I think she was more motivated to -leave- something rather than -arrive- somewhere specific.

  • Kaitlyn
    Kaitlyn MD
    I find it really hard to believe that at 9 year old girl would leave her house in the middle of the night on her own accord. If she was to meet someone, she would have set at alarm which has never been mentioned. Even if she did set an alarm to meet someone, I find it really hard to believe she would have followed through with this. Any 9 year old that wakes up in the middle of the night will want to just go back to sleep esp if it is cold and raining outside. Could someone have abducted her and some of her belongings and made her walk at some point for some reason? The sleep walking theory is hard to believe but I almost think its more likely than her just leaving even to meet someone. This is probably one of the strangest cases I know of

    I find it really hard to believe that at 9 year old girl would leave her house in the middle of the night on her own accord. If she was to meet someone, she would have set at alarm which has never been mentioned. Even if she did set an alarm to meet someone, I find it really hard to believe she would have followed through with this. Any 9 year old that wakes up in the middle of the night will want to just go back to sleep esp if it is cold and raining outside. Could someone have abducted her and some of her belongings and made her walk at some point for some reason? The sleep walking theory is hard to believe but I almost think its more likely than her just leaving even to meet someone. This is probably one of the strangest cases I know of

  • Sidders
    Sidders Parts unknown
    Pineapple does go on pizza. Just not my pizzas.

    Pineapple does go on pizza. Just not my pizzas.

  • AMANDA
    AMANDA PA
    This case is so frustratingly heart-breaking bc Asha was only nine years old. The sleep walking angle is interesting bc my sister was a sleep walker and sleep talker as a child and young adult. She would walk around and talk and you would not realize at first that she was asleep. Very scary. However, the bookbag being found in double wrapped trash bags makes any innocent sort of explanation of her disappearance null and void. It is so intentional. The Nkotb shirt found in her bag is odd to me bc I was sort of a fan back in the day, but the were sort of "before my time" and I would be several years older than Asha. I def think she could have borrowed it from someone at the sleepover-- it was probably one of their mothers shirt. However, around 1998-2000 the band had a rebirth of sorts, to the extent of their videos being played on trl-- so, the tee shirt could have been a reproduction. The library book is odd and the photograph seems to be the key to everything. Are there any new technologies today that could help identify the young girl? I hope these episodes lead to answers for Asha's family.

    This case is so frustratingly heart-breaking bc Asha was only nine years old. The sleep walking angle is interesting bc my sister was a sleep walker and sleep talker as a child and young adult. She would walk around and talk and you would not realize at first that she was asleep. Very scary. However, the bookbag being found in double wrapped trash bags makes any innocent sort of explanation of her disappearance null and void. It is so intentional. The Nkotb shirt found in her bag is odd to me bc I was sort of a fan back in the day, but the were sort of "before my time" and I would be several years older than Asha. I def think she could have borrowed it from someone at the sleepover-- it was probably one of their mothers shirt. However, around 1998-2000 the band had a rebirth of sorts, to the extent of their videos being played on trl-- so, the tee shirt could have been a reproduction. The library book is odd and the photograph seems to be the key to everything. Are there any new technologies today that could help identify the young girl? I hope these episodes lead to answers for Asha's family.

  • G
    G UK
    Wow this case really is mind-boggling. To me both the sleepwalking/ left for whatever reason theories that implicate that she met a predator in an opportunistic attack seem unlikely. I understand kids (just like people) are not all the same, but for a 9yo girl from a decent family and stable upbringing to leave in the middle of the night and in those weather conditions she was definitely going to meet someone she knew well and she trusted. I also believe that the arrangement to meet must have been agreed on very close to the day. I can't imagine tell a 9yo a speflcific date and time and expect them to remember but would be much easier to say "we'll meet tomorrow". This person must have met her in the few days before her disappearance and the sleepover seems to be the obvious red flag. The photo of the girl adds to the mystery, again this could have been exchanged at the sleepover for whatever reason. In my opinion the police need to look at the people that were at that sleepover, and more than the kids/teenagers the adults that were in and around her for some time on that day. This person is someone that Asha had met before multiple times and was somewhat part of the family/friends /church /school circle, they will have access to their own vehicle and freedom to go missing for hours at night time.

    Wow this case really is mind-boggling.

    To me both the sleepwalking/ left for whatever reason theories that implicate that she met a predator in an opportunistic attack seem unlikely.

    I understand kids (just like people) are not all the same, but for a 9yo girl from a decent family and stable upbringing to leave in the middle of the night and in those weather conditions she was definitely going to meet someone she knew well and she trusted.

    I also believe that the arrangement to meet must have been agreed on very close to the day. I can't imagine tell a 9yo a speflcific date and time and expect them to remember but would be much easier to say "we'll meet tomorrow". This person must have met her in the few days before her disappearance and the sleepover seems to be the obvious red flag.
    The photo of the girl adds to the mystery, again this could have been exchanged at the sleepover for whatever reason.
    In my opinion the police need to look at the people that were at that sleepover, and more than the kids/teenagers the adults that were in and around her for some time on that day. This person is someone that Asha had met before multiple times and was somewhat part of the family/friends /church /school circle, they will have access to their own vehicle and freedom to go missing for hours at night time.

  • Molly
    Molly Ireland
    I found myself agreeing with the Captain a lot here. I can totally see the sleepwalking being a solid theory. For a few reasons: - Asha was sleep deprived from the previous night. Sleep deprivation can lead to sleep disturbances like sleep walking. I have a sleep walking relative and you wouldn’t believe the mundane stuff she does whilst sleepwalking. - I have young kids. They often make plans to wake during the night. For various reasons. A midnight feast, to try to see Santa etc. Not one of them has ever managed to stay awake to carry out their plan. Asha was tired and had a busy day. I can’t see her waking at an arranged time to head out and meet someone. - She wasn’t walking in the direction of school but where was that basketball game? I wonder was she trying to get back there during her sleepwalk? Or maybe, as someone else mentioned, trying to get back to the sleepover. Given that the parents have been ruled out as suspects, my theory is that Asha started out sleep walking. I cannot believe that little girl would have left that night for any other reason. The truck driver and his son spotted her and then put out a message over the radio to watch out for a female pedestrian. Did the wrong person hear that message and take advantage of the situation?

    I found myself agreeing with the Captain a lot here. I can totally see the sleepwalking being a solid theory. For a few reasons:
    - Asha was sleep deprived from the previous night. Sleep deprivation can lead to sleep disturbances like sleep walking. I have a sleep walking relative and you wouldn’t believe the mundane stuff she does whilst sleepwalking.
    - I have young kids. They often make plans to wake during the night. For various reasons. A midnight feast, to try to see Santa etc. Not one of them has ever managed to stay awake to carry out their plan. Asha was tired and had a busy day. I can’t see her waking at an arranged time to head out and meet someone.
    - She wasn’t walking in the direction of school but where was that basketball game? I wonder was she trying to get back there during her sleepwalk? Or maybe, as someone else mentioned, trying to get back to the sleepover.

    Given that the parents have been ruled out as suspects, my theory is that Asha started out sleep walking. I cannot believe that little girl would have left that night for any other reason. The truck driver and his son spotted her and then put out a message over the radio to watch out for a female pedestrian. Did the wrong person hear that message and take advantage of the situation?

  • Sarah
    Sarah PA
    The parents' comments about their anniversary made me think of Amy Mihalijevic -- did someone pretend to know the parents and make plans to take her to get them a present? We don't always know what is said to our children by other adults, whether we know them or not.

    The parents' comments about their anniversary made me think of Amy Mihalijevic -- did someone pretend to know the parents and make plans to take her to get them a present? We don't always know what is said to our children by other adults, whether we know them or not.

  • MB
    MB Idaho
    So I was looking into Donald Ferguson. the little girl that he killed, Shalonda Poole went missing 7/24/1990 when she walked away from her home in the early hours (6AM). We know this because she was last seen on her porch at 6AM by her twin who shared a room with her and told her to come back inside and Shalonda refused. That was the last sight of her and her body was found later that day behind the elementary school. I was just thinking that this little girl was probably in a nightgown, being it was so early in the monring. Wondering if this little girl might be connected to the NKOTB nightee/t-shirt since it was from the 1989-1990 tour. Could this be the link between Asha and Ferguson?

    So I was looking into Donald Ferguson. the little girl that he killed, Shalonda Poole went missing 7/24/1990 when she walked away from her home in the early hours (6AM). We know this because she was last seen on her porch at 6AM by her twin who shared a room with her and told her to come back inside and Shalonda refused. That was the last sight of her and her body was found later that day behind the elementary school.

    I was just thinking that this little girl was probably in a nightgown, being it was so early in the monring. Wondering if this little girl might be connected to the NKOTB nightee/t-shirt since it was from the 1989-1990 tour. Could this be the link between Asha and Ferguson?

  • El
    El Parts Unknown
    When I was 6 years old I slept walked twice. The first time was out of my room, through a cluttered managers apartment, down a very narrow and steep stairwell, through a commercial kitchen in an inn, and into the inns inclosed front desk. I woke up in the area of the front desk and was so disoriented that I could not figure out what was going on for probably 10 minutes or so, and frantically ran around trying to understand what was going on. Had the door at the bottom of the stairs not been dead bolted I very easily could have gone outside instead of further into the inn. I find it very probable that she could have been on auto pilot while sleep walking. She would have normally grabbed her bag on any school day, and was thus just going through the motions while asleep. If that’s the case I find it probable that she could have turned the wrong way, and then woken up at some point while walking down the road away from her house. Confused like I had been, she very easily could have started going even more in the wrong way in a panic, getting more turned around. She very easily could have been awake when the trucker saw her and she ran, the confusion of it being dark, she not knowing where she is, and a stranger talking to her spooking her into thinking she was in danger. I’m not saying it has to be what happened, but as someone who slept walked as a child and knows just how disorienting it can be once you wake up, I don’t think it’s nearly as improbable as it was made out to be.

    When I was 6 years old I slept walked twice. The first time was out of my room, through a cluttered managers apartment, down a very narrow and steep stairwell, through a commercial kitchen in an inn, and into the inns inclosed front desk. I woke up in the area of the front desk and was so disoriented that I could not figure out what was going on for probably 10 minutes or so, and frantically ran around trying to understand what was going on. Had the door at the bottom of the stairs not been dead bolted I very easily could have gone outside instead of further into the inn.

    I find it very probable that she could have been on auto pilot while sleep walking. She would have normally grabbed her bag on any school day, and was thus just going through the motions while asleep. If that’s the case I find it probable that she could have turned the wrong way, and then woken up at some point while walking down the road away from her house. Confused like I had been, she very easily could have started going even more in the wrong way in a panic, getting more turned around. She very easily could have been awake when the trucker saw her and she ran, the confusion of it being dark, she not knowing where she is, and a stranger talking to her spooking her into thinking she was in danger.

    I’m not saying it has to be what happened, but as someone who slept walked as a child and knows just how disorienting it can be once you wake up, I don’t think it’s nearly as improbable as it was made out to be.

  • Alison
    Alison Montreal
    There are privacy laws that protect library users information BUT if LE had a warrant they could have accessed records pertaining to the book found in the book bag. What intrigues me is that LE have come out years later and stated that the book was not checked out in Asha’s name, this leads me to believe that they did access records and possibly know more than they’re saying. Of course, they could have totally bungled accessing the records OR did not go about accessing them in a legal way- perhaps a librarian confirmed that the book was not checked out under her name and the police left it at that? Given how little attention LE gave to the photograph found in the shed I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t pursue book records properly or thoroughly. Then again, there’s the possibility that the book was missing, incorrectly checked out or even stolen from the library, making the book as evidence an intriguing albeit dead end sort of clue. I guess I just can’t shake the feeling that it holds some importance.

    There are privacy laws that protect library users information BUT if LE had a warrant they could have accessed records pertaining to the book found in the book bag. What intrigues me is that LE have come out years later and stated that the book was not checked out in Asha’s name, this leads me to believe that they did access records and possibly know more than they’re saying.
    Of course, they could have totally bungled accessing the records OR did not go about accessing them in a legal way- perhaps a librarian confirmed that the book was not checked out under her name and the police left it at that? Given how little attention LE gave to the photograph found in the shed I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t pursue book records properly or thoroughly. Then again, there’s the possibility that the book was missing, incorrectly checked out or even stolen from the library, making the book as evidence an intriguing albeit dead end sort of clue. I guess I just can’t shake the feeling that it holds some importance.

  • Anna
    Anna Sweden
    Molly, I agree with you 100%! Reading about the things people, and especially children, have done sleepwalking, makes me believe that Asha left her house sleepwalking. The idea that someone would make an agreement to meet with a 9-year old child at 4 in the middle of the night makes no sense at all. She was a latch key-child after all and not in the company of a parent or an adult all the time during the day. Sleep walking explains why she didn't take a coat. Maybe she met a predator passing by on the road or more likely, she succumbed to hypothermia, maybe after an accident of some sort. It was cold and raining after all. She was a small child, only 27 kg, if she curled up somewhere seeking shelter from the cold it's no wonder she hasn't been found. She might have lost the backpack on the road, someone passing by found it and got rid of it by throwing it away, maybe not even knowing that it belonged to a missing child. Thank you, Nic and Captain for an excellent podcast, I really enjoy listening to you!

    Molly, I agree with you 100%! Reading about the things people, and especially children, have done sleepwalking, makes me believe that Asha left her house sleepwalking. The idea that someone would make an agreement to meet with a 9-year old child at 4 in the middle of the night makes no sense at all. She was a latch key-child after all and not in the company of a parent or an adult all the time during the day. Sleep walking explains why she didn't take a coat. Maybe she met a predator passing by on the road or more likely, she succumbed to hypothermia, maybe after an accident of some sort. It was cold and raining after all. She was a small child, only 27 kg, if she curled up somewhere seeking shelter from the cold it's no wonder she hasn't been found. She might have lost the backpack on the road, someone passing by found it and got rid of it by throwing it away, maybe not even knowing that it belonged to a missing child.

    Thank you, Nic and Captain for an excellent podcast, I really enjoy listening to you!

  • David
    David Ohio
    I have a hard time believing a 9 year old kid would leave their house in the middle of the night in bad weather to meet anyone. It just does not make sense to me. My big question is do we have proof that the first truck driver called out on his cb radio that he had seen a pedestrian on the road? If they have proof that it was recorded or heard by someone else then I have no other option than to believe the parents/family had nothing to do with it. So I question the trucker’s validity. Do we have the cb radio call as proof? The second trucker saw it on the news then called the police. I know for some reason people like to make things up to insert themselves in the case.

    I have a hard time believing a 9 year old kid would leave their house in the middle of the night in bad weather to meet anyone. It just does not make sense to me. My big question is do we have proof that the first truck driver called out on his cb radio that he had seen a pedestrian on the road? If they have proof that it was recorded or heard by someone else then I have no other option than to believe the parents/family had nothing to do with it.
    So I question the trucker’s validity. Do we have the cb radio call as proof?
    The second trucker saw it on the news then called the police. I know for some reason people like to make things up to insert themselves in the case.

  • Faye
    Faye HOOSIER HEARTLAND
    Such a sad and odd case. I also wonder about a penpal catfish situation as others have mentioned. That could account for the mysterious photograph. Another case to mull over at the local VFW. I will hoist another one for you , fellas.

    Such a sad and odd case. I also wonder about a penpal catfish situation as others have mentioned. That could account for the mysterious photograph. Another case to mull over at the local VFW. I will hoist another one for you , fellas.

  • Luciana S
    Luciana S
    @Christa, the Prosecutor’s Podcast covered this case recently. They talked about how it was possible she never went to bed that night. Perhaps she was supposed to meet someone earlier, but she had to wait to leave until her dad went to bed. She forced herself to stay awake because she knew she had to meet someone, and didn’t want to fall asleep. I cannot say for certain that this is what happened, but it is possible. Sadly, there are so many questions and so few answers with Asha’s case. I hope we have answers one day soon.

    @Christa, the Prosecutor’s Podcast covered this case recently. They talked about how it was possible she never went to bed that night. Perhaps she was supposed to meet someone earlier, but she had to wait to leave until her dad went to bed. She forced herself to stay awake because she knew she had to meet someone, and didn’t want to fall asleep. I cannot say for certain that this is what happened, but it is possible. Sadly, there are so many questions and so few answers with Asha’s case. I hope we have answers one day soon.

  • Danielle
    Danielle PA
    Just finished listening to the podcast and this case is intriguing. I am going with the sleepwalking theory. sleepwalking is more common among children, sleepwalkers often have blank expressions, are difficult to awaken and go through motions that are routine, such as in this case grabbing her bag and the motion of walking. She most likely got spooked or woke up when the truck driver tried to make contact with her. She ran into the field, eventually made her way to the shed for shelter. At some point got hungry, ate the candy leaving wrappers behind. At this point she would have been awake, soaking wet, scared, and very cold, bordering hypothermia. Perhaps wandered out of the shed and along her route was picked up by a predator or was injured by a driver on the highway. They tossed her bag in the opposite direction of where she was walking most likely because they were heading in that direction in the early morning hours when they encountered her.

    Just finished listening to the podcast and this case is intriguing. I am going with the sleepwalking theory. sleepwalking is more common among children, sleepwalkers often have blank expressions, are difficult to awaken and go through motions that are routine, such as in this case grabbing her bag and the motion of walking. She most likely got spooked or woke up when the truck driver tried to make contact with her. She ran into the field, eventually made her way to the shed for shelter. At some point got hungry, ate the candy leaving wrappers behind. At this point she would have been awake, soaking wet, scared, and very cold, bordering hypothermia. Perhaps wandered out of the shed and along her route was picked up by a predator or was injured by a driver on the highway. They tossed her bag in the opposite direction of where she was walking most likely because they were heading in that direction in the early morning hours when they encountered her.

  • Elizabeth
    Elizabeth Uruguay
    Kudos for your hard work, Nic and Captain! I appreciate your thorough research. This case is another sad head scratcher. Some thoughts: I find it hard to believe that an adult was grooming her and just left her to walk alone for miles on a stormy night to finally meet with him somewhere, instead of waiting nearby. Now, another child or teenager that’s different. I thought it was a curious coincidence that at school she had recently read a book about children runaways. Could the trigger be the basketball loss? Valentine’s? Someone at the sleepover? Something else that I kept thinking is what if she was fleeing from something she saw, heard or was done or attempted on her that night. One would imagine his family was thoroughly investigated before being cleared but I just can’t help but think about a scenario like that. Even just catching some hurtful words in an argument , she being in a frail emotional state after that game, could have perhaps triggered her desire to leave. Now from then on one would have to think that some opportunistic scumbag happened to cross paths, just by chance, and I know it sounds contrived. I hope her family gets an answer some day soon. Keep it up , guys!

    Kudos for your hard work, Nic and Captain! I appreciate your thorough research.

    This case is another sad head scratcher.
    Some thoughts:
    I find it hard to believe that an adult was grooming her and just left her to walk alone for miles on a stormy night to finally meet with him somewhere, instead of waiting nearby. Now, another child or teenager that’s different. I thought it was a curious coincidence that at school she had recently read a book about children runaways. Could the trigger be the basketball loss? Valentine’s? Someone at the sleepover?
    Something else that I kept thinking is what if she was fleeing from something she saw, heard or was done or attempted on her that night. One would imagine his family was thoroughly investigated before being cleared but I just can’t help but think about a scenario like that. Even just catching some hurtful words in an argument , she being in a frail emotional state after that game, could have perhaps triggered her desire to leave. Now from then on one would have to think that some opportunistic scumbag happened to cross paths, just by chance, and I know it sounds contrived.

    I hope her family gets an answer some day soon.

    Keep it up , guys!

  • Nathan Gealta
    Nathan Gealta
    I keep coming back to the picture of that little girl. First of all, I didn't realize how little publicity that photo got until listening to your show. That is such an important lead... How did they not post that photo everywhere. I saw someone earlier mention school photographers. That's exactly what I was thinking. Except I think it could have happened during the basketball game. It is very common for companies to take individual and team photos. That could explain why no one seems to know this little girl. Maybe it's a stock photo the company uses to advertise or one that the photographer had been saving. I would love to know if they had team photos that week. It sounds like Asha was at the Jr. High a while as she and her brother both had games. If they were getting photos taken that day the photographer could have had access to her. Even if it happened weeks prior it could still explain how the person got to Asha. Usually the parents fill out a paper to order the pictures. He would have access to her phone number and potentially address. Maybe he called and talked to her when her parents weren't around. Clearly she was meeting someone. Maybe he gave her the photo and told her it was his daughter who really needed a friend and Asha wanted to help out. Maybe he told her it was a long long cousin or sister. (crazier... I know). Who knows what the ruse was but he could have convinced her to come meet this little girl. Hell, maybe he disguised his voice when he called and Asha thought she was going out to meet a little girl. Maybe he stole the library book from the school when he was there to take pictures and used that to build Asha's trust.... Alright now we're getting carried away. And at this point I'm rambling. I think a photographer being involved would explain where the photo came from. It would explain how the person had access to groom Asha. It would answer so many questions. I would love to know if the team had pictures taken that Saturday or in the weeks prior.

    I keep coming back to the picture of that little girl. First of all, I didn't realize how little publicity that photo got until listening to your show. That is such an important lead... How did they not post that photo everywhere.

    I saw someone earlier mention school photographers. That's exactly what I was thinking. Except I think it could have happened during the basketball game. It is very common for companies to take individual and team photos. That could explain why no one seems to know this little girl. Maybe it's a stock photo the company uses to advertise or one that the photographer had been saving.

    I would love to know if they had team photos that week. It sounds like Asha was at the Jr. High a while as she and her brother both had games. If they were getting photos taken that day the photographer could have had access to her. Even if it happened weeks prior it could still explain how the person got to Asha.

    Usually the parents fill out a paper to order the pictures. He would have access to her phone number and potentially address. Maybe he called and talked to her when her parents weren't around. Clearly she was meeting someone. Maybe he gave her the photo and told her it was his daughter who really needed a friend and Asha wanted to help out. Maybe he told her it was a long long cousin or sister. (crazier... I know). Who knows what the ruse was but he could have convinced her to come meet this little girl.

    Hell, maybe he disguised his voice when he called and Asha thought she was going out to meet a little girl.

    Maybe he stole the library book from the school when he was there to take pictures and used that to build Asha's trust.... Alright now we're getting carried away.

    And at this point I'm rambling. I think a photographer being involved would explain where the photo came from. It would explain how the person had access to groom Asha. It would answer so many questions. I would love to know if the team had pictures taken that Saturday or in the weeks prior.

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Missouri
    When Nic gave the description of the vehicle that was possibly involved he said "occupied two times, whatever that means". I was a police dispatcher for 20 years; "occupied two times" means there were two people in the car. It's a small detail but I just thought I'd answer that question.

    When Nic gave the description of the vehicle that was possibly involved he said "occupied two times, whatever that means". I was a police dispatcher for 20 years; "occupied two times" means there were two people in the car. It's a small detail but I just thought I'd answer that question.

  • Captain Tripps
    Captain Tripps Texas
    My heart goes out to the family of Asha. These cases were a loved one just vanishes are so heartbreaking: no one should have to go through that, especially not knowing what happened. Beyond the weird evidence, what I would focus primarily on is the fact that Asha was a little 9 year old who went out at approx 3 am into harsh conditions. It’s dark, it’s raining and thundering, it’s cold, and after a certain distance from her house she probably has no idea where she is exactly. This is BEYOND unusual. If she were abducted that would be different, but everything seems to point to her leaving of her own free will and the only sightings of her are her by herself. Was she lured away by someone? Even then I think it is highly unusual she would leave home in these conditions at someone’s suggestion. That’s some Charles Manson level of manipulation and control, and there’s zero evidence anyone even abducted her. This is just my hunch, but my sense is this was an accident brought on by some medical condition Asha had, perhaps sleepwalking (or something that affects the mind similarly) that wasn’t known about. I think there are some red herrings in this case that are throwing people off and making people think she was abducted. Some of this evidence, like the photograph of the unknown girl, may have absolutely nothing to do with Asha, or it might but it has an innocent explanation. I always think it’s a mistake to give too much weight to ‘pineapple’ evidence and it always sends people off into bizarro theory land. Imagine being a little kid sleepwalking and then waking up and finding yourself in a thunderstorm, in the pitch black, totally lost. Are you going to say “oh I must have been sleepwalking, let me go knock on someone’s door to get some help”? You might not even know what sleepwalking is if it’s never happened to you. Or are you going to be totally confused and afraid? Did someone kidnap you in your sleep and leave you here? Are they coming back to get you? To me this seems how Asha is acting. Confused, disoriented, and afraid. And I think that makes the most sense if she had been sleepwalking (or had some mental confusion brought on by a medical condition). One thing that stood out to me was how she was loud enough to wake her brother around 3am-ish. I actually planned to run away when I was a kid and waking up my brother, who I shared a room with, was a huge concern. He wakes up, he’s waking my parents and now I’m in doo doo.. Asha doesn’t seem to have this concern.. Im not saying this is what happened, but I would absolutely put this up there as a possibility. If this theory is correct it really would help narrow down the search area to something manageable. If it was me I would keep searching this area every now and then, and use it as a training grounds for a cadaver dog hoping one day you might stumble across her remains (this happened in another case). Even if there’s foul play there’s a good chance her body is out there in that area somewhere I think. A body can vanish really fast in areas like this/ just ask Ted Bundy. So you’re looking for bone fragments at this point.

    My heart goes out to the family of Asha. These cases were a loved one just vanishes are so heartbreaking: no one should have to go through that, especially not knowing what happened.

    Beyond the weird evidence, what I would focus primarily on is the fact that Asha was a little 9 year old who went out at approx 3 am into harsh conditions. It’s dark, it’s raining and thundering, it’s cold, and after a certain distance from her house she probably has no idea where she is exactly. This is BEYOND unusual. If she were abducted that would be different, but everything seems to point to her leaving of her own free will and the only sightings of her are her by herself. Was she lured away by someone? Even then I think it is highly unusual she would leave home in these conditions at someone’s suggestion. That’s some Charles Manson level of manipulation and control, and there’s zero evidence anyone even abducted her.

    This is just my hunch, but my sense is this was an accident brought on by some medical condition Asha had, perhaps sleepwalking (or something that affects the mind similarly) that wasn’t known about. I think there are some red herrings in this case that are throwing people off and making people think she was abducted. Some of this evidence, like the photograph of the unknown girl, may have absolutely nothing to do with Asha, or it might but it has an innocent explanation. I always think it’s a mistake to give too much weight to ‘pineapple’ evidence and it always sends people off into bizarro theory land.

    Imagine being a little kid sleepwalking and then waking up and finding yourself in a thunderstorm, in the pitch black, totally lost. Are you going to say “oh I must have been sleepwalking, let me go knock on someone’s door to get some help”? You might not even know what sleepwalking is if it’s never happened to you. Or are you going to be totally confused and afraid? Did someone kidnap you in your sleep and leave you here? Are they coming back to get you? To me this seems how Asha is acting. Confused, disoriented, and afraid. And I think that makes the most sense if she had been sleepwalking (or had some mental confusion brought on by a medical condition).

    One thing that stood out to me was how she was loud enough to wake her brother around 3am-ish. I actually planned to run away when I was a kid and waking up my brother, who I shared a room with, was a huge concern. He wakes up, he’s waking my parents and now I’m in doo doo.. Asha doesn’t seem to have this concern..

    Im not saying this is what happened, but I would absolutely put this up there as a possibility. If this theory is correct it really would help narrow down the search area to something manageable. If it was me I would keep searching this area every now and then, and use it as a training grounds for a cadaver dog hoping one day you might stumble across her remains (this happened in another case). Even if there’s foul play there’s a good chance her body is out there in that area somewhere I think. A body can vanish really fast in areas like this/ just ask Ted Bundy. So you’re looking for bone fragments at this point.

  • Christie
    Christie Canada
    The school picture in her book bag makes me think pen pal. We had them in school during that time and I remember being a picture of mine in one of the letters. Running away to meet your pen pal? Hmm. I'm sure the teachers would have thought to bring something like that up though.

    The school picture in her book bag makes me think pen pal. We had them in school during that time and I remember being a picture of mine in one of the letters. Running away to meet your pen pal? Hmm. I'm sure the teachers would have thought to bring something like that up though.

  • Diana
    Diana MD
    Great episode. The sleepwalking theory is moot unless the parents can verify that she would do this from time to time. Hard to believe it was the first time ever. Also, the scent tracking dogs not picking up anything is so strange. I think I remember reading that scents layer on top of each other... in that case her scent would have to be most recent. How well was the scene preserved as it was not considered a crime scene yet. How many people trampled over the pathways to the house before the dogs arrived? I hope something happens soon to give us answers to what happened.

    Great episode. The sleepwalking theory is moot unless the parents can verify that she would do this from time to time. Hard to believe it was the first time ever.
    Also, the scent tracking dogs not picking up anything is so strange. I think I remember reading that scents layer on top of each other... in that case her scent
    would have to be most recent. How well was the scene preserved as it was not considered a crime scene yet. How many people trampled over the pathways to the house before the dogs arrived?
    I hope something happens soon to give us answers to what happened.

  • Patrick
    Patrick FL
    Pretext - I am unfamiliar with this case outside of what was discussed in the podcast. This case immediately grabbed my attention due to the minimal focus on the family, specifically the father. We had to listen all the way to the end of the 2nd episode to understand why the family was cleared via polygraph test and not discussed heavily because they "passed the eyeball and earball test." However, the case takes a different turn when considering the following: 1. It was highly, highly unlikely she ran away given her age and the conditions outside at that time (cold and raining and the middle of the night). Equally as unlikely she was sleepwalking 2. The night of the crime the father was up until ~2:30AM watching TV, which almost overlaps with the time she was heard leaving an hour later if the son's assumed time was correct. In my opinion it is more likely the father grabbed Asha in her sleep, waking the son. He didn't say he saw anything, just heard her get out of bed and open the door. If the father loaded her in his car immediately then that would also explain why scent dogs couldn't detect anything when brought to the house. 3. I believe the random picture found in the shed is a red herring, backed loosely by the trucker's eye witness statements and also supported by the family stating the items found in the shed (pretty sure it was a '96 Olympics pencil) were hers. If the father was involved then his/their confirming to the officers that these items were Asha's would steer the investigation off course knowing they're not related. The Truckers originally thought the person on the side of the road was a woman that very likely could have been walking on the side of the road and not ID'd because everyone assumed it was Asha. We were also told the person on the side of the road was wearing light colored clothing and the clothes she was actually believed to be wearing that night were not discussed. 4. Where was the father's work at the PPG plant in relation to where her backpack was found? A quick google search shows the PPG plant/store in shelby to be just northwest of the town itself, requiring brief travel on NC-18 to reach this plant. If this is where he worked at the time (I may be incorrect) then he drove north on NC-18 to get to work and could have been familiar with the area. 5. This statement may be nulled by watching interviews of the family but the podcast only referenced from the mother, on behalf of their family. The one downside to this theory is lack of motive, which typically comes out early on as the family is investigated - whether it's financial troubles or marriage struggles between husband and wife. This is a sad crime to hear about and even worse that there is no closure but I hope for the best for Asha and her loved ones.

    Pretext - I am unfamiliar with this case outside of what was discussed in the podcast.

    This case immediately grabbed my attention due to the minimal focus on the family, specifically the father. We had to listen all the way to the end of the 2nd episode to understand why the family was cleared via polygraph test and not discussed heavily because they "passed the eyeball and earball test." However, the case takes a different turn when considering the following:

    1. It was highly, highly unlikely she ran away given her age and the conditions outside at that time (cold and raining and the middle of the night). Equally as unlikely she was sleepwalking

    2. The night of the crime the father was up until ~2:30AM watching TV, which almost overlaps with the time she was heard leaving an hour later if the son's assumed time was correct. In my opinion it is more likely the father grabbed Asha in her sleep, waking the son. He didn't say he saw anything, just heard her get out of bed and open the door. If the father loaded her in his car immediately then that would also explain why scent dogs couldn't detect anything when brought to the house.

    3. I believe the random picture found in the shed is a red herring, backed loosely by the trucker's eye witness statements and also supported by the family stating the items found in the shed (pretty sure it was a '96 Olympics pencil) were hers. If the father was involved then his/their confirming to the officers that these items were Asha's would steer the investigation off course knowing they're not related. The Truckers originally thought the person on the side of the road was a woman that very likely could have been walking on the side of the road and not ID'd because everyone assumed it was Asha. We were also told the person on the side of the road was wearing light colored clothing and the clothes she was actually believed to be wearing that night were not discussed.

    4. Where was the father's work at the PPG plant in relation to where her backpack was found? A quick google search shows the PPG plant/store in shelby to be just northwest of the town itself, requiring brief travel on NC-18 to reach this plant. If this is where he worked at the time (I may be incorrect) then he drove north on NC-18 to get to work and could have been familiar with the area.

    5. This statement may be nulled by watching interviews of the family but the podcast only referenced from the mother, on behalf of their family.

    The one downside to this theory is lack of motive, which typically comes out early on as the family is investigated - whether it's financial troubles or marriage struggles between husband and wife. This is a sad crime to hear about and even worse that there is no closure but I hope for the best for Asha and her loved ones.

  • Connie
    Connie CA
    The sleepwalking murder and driving cases are related to zolpidem, a sleep aid drug. I doubt Asha was on this type of medication.

    The sleepwalking murder and driving cases are related to zolpidem, a sleep aid drug. I doubt Asha was on this type of medication.

  • Anna
    Anna NE NC
    I haven’t finished the episodes yet but wanted to say It’s great to see so many comments, esp since she might still be alive, or at least whoever took her or prevented her from making it back home could still be alive. Even though this case isn’t connected to Ohio, I have to say living in NC there is a lot of conveyance between NC and Ohio, outside of the New England states I’d say that it is the second most popular region for vacationers coming up and down, or ppl traveling for work. Also, the Triad region (Raleigh Durham Chapel Hill) along with Charlotte/Mecklenburg are the most populous metro areas of the state and are connected by major hwys. A few years after this event a friend of mine moved to the Triad and was surprised to learn that North Carolina was the second most state for the amount of human trafficking goin on. It’s between NY and FL and has major interstates in terms of volume of trucking, and so forth. Also around this time there was a steady influx of people coming to work in NC from South and Central America and since many were undocumented and (perhaps afraid because of not being in the country legally), trafficking flourished as abductors figured such children could be taken without drawing much attention from authorities. Good on you TCG for highlighting this case!

    I haven’t finished the episodes yet but wanted to say It’s great to see so many comments, esp since she might still be alive, or at least whoever took her or prevented her from making it back home could still be alive. Even though this case isn’t connected to Ohio, I have to say living in NC there is a lot of conveyance between NC and Ohio, outside of the New England states I’d say that it is the second most popular region for vacationers coming up and down, or ppl traveling for work. Also, the Triad region (Raleigh Durham Chapel Hill) along with Charlotte/Mecklenburg are the most populous metro areas of the state and are connected by major hwys. A few years after this event a friend of mine moved to the Triad and was surprised to learn that North Carolina was the second most state for the amount of human trafficking goin on. It’s between NY and FL and has major interstates in terms of volume of trucking, and so forth. Also around this time there was a steady influx of people coming to work in NC from South and Central America and since many were undocumented and (perhaps afraid because of not being in the country legally), trafficking flourished as abductors figured such children could be taken without drawing much attention from authorities. Good on you TCG for highlighting this case!

  • Sara
    Sara KSA
    Someone mentioned above it seemed like she was getting ready for school. Her mom said that Asha went to bed quite early (6:30) that night. Is it possible after the normal number of hours of sleep her body woke her up thinking it was time for school? In February, it would likely be dark in the morning when she got up anyway. So maybe that in conjunction with power going off disoriented her and she thought she was late for school? She got up (was the power still out then? Hence no lights on?), got dressed, and left. But then became confused and got lost.... and then maybe some weirdo found her.

    Someone mentioned above it seemed like she was getting ready for school.

    Her mom said that Asha went to bed quite early (6:30) that night. Is it possible after the normal number of hours of sleep her body woke her up thinking it was time for school? In February, it would likely be dark in the morning when she got up anyway. So maybe that in conjunction with power going off disoriented her and she thought she was late for school? She got up (was the power still out then? Hence no lights on?), got dressed, and left. But then became confused and got lost.... and then maybe some weirdo found her.

  • Kelly
    Kelly Parts Unknown
    A couple of things hit me while listening that weren't really mentioned. Kids are mean...especially girls. I believe Nic mentioned that the sleepover was held at an older cousin's house. I could see some of the older girls messing around and putting ideas into her head, "This is a picture of your "sister"" "I know where she lives". Also, that next school day was Valentine's Day. Some kids get really anxious about events like this. "Will I get any Valentine's?" "What will I do if so-in-so (insert boy she may have liked's name) gives me a Valentine?" What if she didn't have any Valentine's to hand out? Also the basketball game, that from what Nic said, SHE lost. Could she have been worried about facing the "bullies" at school that day because she knew some would blame her for the loss? Did she worry about something so much that in her 9 year old mind it was better to run away than to face the issue at school that day? My mind tells me that most kids would fake sick to get out of going to school but who knows. The pen pal theory is interesting. We corresponded with girls from other Girl Scout troops during my years as a leader and that would explain why no one from the school or her circle of family or friends knew who the picture of the girl was BUT someone would have had to initiate the whole pen pal process, teacher, coach, scout leader...someone. Last thing, if she ran from a truck driver who was trying to help her, why would she then get into a 1970's Lincoln....unless she'd been out in the elements long enough that it was now worth the risk to her or she knew him/her. I hope her family gets some answers and I hope LE knows and did more than has been reported. It makes me very sad that I've not heard of this case before now.

    A couple of things hit me while listening that weren't really mentioned. Kids are mean...especially girls. I believe Nic mentioned that the sleepover was held at an older cousin's house. I could see some of the older girls messing around and putting ideas into her head, "This is a picture of your "sister"" "I know where she lives". Also, that next school day was Valentine's Day. Some kids get really anxious about events like this. "Will I get any Valentine's?" "What will I do if so-in-so (insert boy she may have liked's name) gives me a Valentine?" What if she didn't have any Valentine's to hand out? Also the basketball game, that from what Nic said, SHE lost. Could she have been worried about facing the "bullies" at school that day because she knew some would blame her for the loss? Did she worry about something so much that in her 9 year old mind it was better to run away than to face the issue at school that day? My mind tells me that most kids would fake sick to get out of going to school but who knows. The pen pal theory is interesting. We corresponded with girls from other Girl Scout troops during my years as a leader and that would explain why no one from the school or her circle of family or friends knew who the picture of the girl was BUT someone would have had to initiate the whole pen pal process, teacher, coach, scout leader...someone. Last thing, if she ran from a truck driver who was trying to help her, why would she then get into a 1970's Lincoln....unless she'd been out in the elements long enough that it was now worth the risk to her or she knew him/her. I hope her family gets some answers and I hope LE knows and did more than has been reported. It makes me very sad that I've not heard of this case before now.

  • Laurie
    Laurie Pennsylvania
    Thank you for covering this case. There are two major problems with this case. The first is whether or not she actually left her home on her own accord or not. The items found in the shed and/or the truck driver sightings do not absolutely prove that the person walking in the cold, rain at 4:00 am was Asha. Now, if we assume it was her, the question becomes what would propel a nine year old girl to leave under those conditions? I do not believe sleepwalking is a viable option for two reasons. One, her parents do not state that she was an active sleepwalker. Second, my youngest child was an active sleepwalker to the point that we installed an alarm on his bedroom door. I have conducted much research on young child/adolescent sleepwalking. So, that begs the question as to what would prompt her to leave her home? To that, I can only think of one possible option. Something occurred, most likely at the sleepover the previous night, for her to fear for her family's life. She might have awakened from a nightmare and thought her only way to keep them safe was to leave. Although, I feel this is highly unlikely. I am sorry but logically no 9 year old would leave alone (especially without communicating with someone)j under those conditions. No way she would wake up on her own to meet someone in the dead of night. In addition, the sleepover itself presents certain problems. Did police list and interview everyone who attended that sleepover including any possible parents who were there? Even those that dropped their child off? The podcast mentioned there were 15 year-olds and 9 nine year-olds. That is a huge age difference!! Could a teenager be involved in her disappearance? Maybe someone at the sleepover took her key out of her backpack? This should have been investigated further. These possibilities cannot be ruled out by the available information. Also, with so many family members living close by, were all of them cleared as suspects? Which leads me to the second biggest problem in this case: maybe we need to look at this as two separate crimes or see was taken from her bed by someone she knew. The first crime occurred before she left home and is what prompted her to leave. Then, she unfortunately became involved in foul play with a person who is unrelated to the first crime. In my mind, the other possible scenario is someone found a way in (perhaps using her key) and snatched her. That person took the backpack and later ditched it to make it seem like she ran away. Also, consider the location of the bag compared to the sightings of someone on the highway. Deciphering the red herrings from the truth is key in this case!! I would love to know if any prints were found on the garbage bags or backpack and if they were run through CODIS. The NKOTB t-shirt was from a tour in 1988. Was this tested for forensic evidence?? It could have come from the kidnappers car. Prayers to her family in such a sad situation.

    Thank you for covering this case. There are two major problems with this case. The first is whether or not she actually left her home on her own accord or not. The items found in the shed and/or the truck driver sightings do not absolutely prove that the person walking in the cold, rain at 4:00 am was Asha. Now, if we assume it was her, the question becomes what would propel a nine year old girl to leave under those conditions? I do not believe sleepwalking is a viable option for two reasons. One, her parents do not state that she was an active sleepwalker. Second, my youngest child was an active sleepwalker to the point that we installed an alarm on his bedroom door. I have conducted much research on young child/adolescent sleepwalking. So, that begs the question as to what would prompt her to leave her home? To that, I can only think of one possible option. Something occurred, most likely at the sleepover the previous night, for her to fear for her family's life. She might have awakened from a nightmare and thought her only way to keep them safe was to leave.

    Although, I feel this is highly unlikely. I am sorry but logically no 9 year old would leave alone (especially without communicating with someone)j under those conditions. No way she would wake up on her own to meet someone in the dead of night.

    In addition, the sleepover itself presents certain problems. Did police list and interview everyone who attended that sleepover including any possible parents who were there? Even those that dropped their child off? The podcast mentioned there were 15 year-olds and 9 nine year-olds. That is a huge age difference!! Could a teenager be involved in her disappearance? Maybe someone at the sleepover took her key out of her backpack? This should have been investigated further. These possibilities cannot be ruled out by the available information. Also, with so many family members living close by, were all of them cleared as suspects?

    Which leads me to the second biggest problem in this case: maybe we need to look at this as two separate crimes or see was taken from her bed by someone she knew. The first crime occurred before she left home and is what prompted her to leave. Then, she unfortunately became involved in foul play with a person who is unrelated to the first crime. In my mind, the other possible scenario is someone found a way in (perhaps using her key) and snatched her. That person took the backpack and later ditched it to make it seem like she ran away. Also, consider the location of the bag compared to the sightings of someone on the highway. Deciphering the red herrings from the truth is key in this case!! I would love to know if any prints were found on the garbage bags or backpack and if they were run through CODIS. The NKOTB t-shirt was from a tour in 1988. Was this tested for forensic evidence?? It could have come from the kidnappers car.

    Prayers to her family in such a sad situation.

  • Pamela
    Pamela Michigan
    I feel like the answer to this is probably with the other kids at the sleepover even if they potentially do not realize it. I keep thinking about the girls that wanted to meet "The Slender Man', and attacked their friend, not that Asha did anything violent, but possibly following a fantasy. When my children were little they left the yard to go find the North Pole and meet Santa. It is possible that Asha was participating in magical thinking , a quest or a dare and that she was potentially hit by a car or over come by the elements. Very sad story.

    I feel like the answer to this is probably with the other kids at the sleepover even if they potentially do not realize it. I keep thinking about the girls that wanted to meet "The Slender Man', and attacked their friend, not that Asha did anything violent, but possibly following a fantasy. When my children were little they left the yard to go find the North Pole and meet Santa. It is possible that Asha was participating in magical thinking , a quest or a dare and that she was potentially hit by a car or over come by the elements.
    Very sad story.

  • Paul
    Paul Rochester, NY
    I'm definitely in support of "we need to know who was at the sleepover and whether or not that route was investigated thoroughly." It seems like the most logical explanation, that someone from the sleepover, one way or another, made plans with her to meet her somewhere, somehow said something to lure her out of the house." A second question, I haven't done any internet sleuthing on this yet, but Nic, I think it was mentioned by you, that the picture of the mysterious girl has never been a point of focus in this case. I wonder if anything would come of putting this picture on a billboard in the Shelby/Charlotte area, with the tip line number.

    I'm definitely in support of "we need to know who was at the sleepover and whether or not that route was investigated thoroughly." It seems like the most logical explanation, that someone from the sleepover, one way or another, made plans with her to meet her somewhere, somehow said something to lure her out of the house."

    A second question, I haven't done any internet sleuthing on this yet, but Nic, I think it was mentioned by you, that the picture of the mysterious girl has never been a point of focus in this case. I wonder if anything would come of putting this picture on a billboard in the Shelby/Charlotte area, with the tip line number.

  • Bonnie
    Bonnie Chicago
    About the photo of the unknown girl found around some of Asha's things in the shed... Is it possible that this is a girl that Asha met while playing basketball? Perhaps someone from another team that she became friends with and they exchanged school pictures? That's my positive suggestion... A more nefarious one... Could someone have given this photo to Asha as a ruse, suggesting, perhaps, that this was some sort of "lost" half-sister or cousin? I feel like this could be a sort of bait used to get Asha to go out on her own late at night, an incentive that would make Asha throw caution to the wind. It could've even been a sob story in which Asha thought she was going to go and help "save" this other girl from a bad environment.

    About the photo of the unknown girl found around some of Asha's things in the shed...

    Is it possible that this is a girl that Asha met while playing basketball? Perhaps someone from another team that she became friends with and they exchanged school pictures?

    That's my positive suggestion...

    A more nefarious one... Could someone have given this photo to Asha as a ruse, suggesting, perhaps, that this was some sort of "lost" half-sister or cousin? I feel like this could be a sort of bait used to get Asha to go out on her own late at night, an incentive that would make Asha throw caution to the wind. It could've even been a sob story in which Asha thought she was going to go and help "save" this other girl from a bad environment.

  • Paula Lockard
    Paula Lockard VA
    I believe the answer lies in the details of the slumber party. 1) Asha's mom and dad picked her up early the next morning for church. She could have grabbed the library book by accident as she gathered her things and stuffed them in her backpack. The photo could have been tucked inside as a book mark. The book wasn't checked out in Asha's name and so it could have belonged to anyone at the party. 2) Asha leaving her home alone, in the dark, and during stormy weather, sounds like a dare that older girls would have come up with as an enticement to gain membership in a "club/clique". 3) Girls share clothes and shoes, etc. The T-shirt is likely something she swapped/traded with another girl at the party. 4) After she went missing, those girls who attended the slumber party would never have told that they were the ones who dared Asha to go out alone after dark for fear of getting in trouble. 5) She left home on a dare and was either hit by a car on the highway, or ran into a bad guy - wrong place, wrong time.

    I believe the answer lies in the details of the slumber party.
    1) Asha's mom and dad picked her up early the next morning for church. She could have grabbed the library book by accident as she gathered her things and stuffed them in her backpack. The photo could have been tucked inside as a book mark. The book wasn't checked out in Asha's name and so it could have belonged to anyone at the party.
    2) Asha leaving her home alone, in the dark, and during stormy weather, sounds like a dare that older girls would have come up with as an enticement to gain membership in a "club/clique".
    3) Girls share clothes and shoes, etc. The T-shirt is likely something she swapped/traded with another girl at the party.
    4) After she went missing, those girls who attended the slumber party would never have told that they were the ones who dared Asha to go out alone after dark for fear of getting in trouble.
    5) She left home on a dare and was either hit by a car on the highway, or ran into a bad guy - wrong place, wrong time.

  • Kathy
    Kathy Melbourne Australia
    Hi All I know back in the 90’s it was big to have pen pals where we exchanged photos, if she was part of a pen pal program she may have been writing letters to this girl. That’s just one thought I had . Cheers

    Hi All
    I know back in the 90’s it was big to have pen pals where we exchanged photos, if she was part of a pen pal program she may have been writing letters to this girl.
    That’s just one thought I had .
    Cheers

  • Wayne
    Wayne Richmond,VA
    I hate my idea but I get the feeling her dad was molesting her. She was running from that. I get the feeling what happened that night was the last straw for her.

    I hate my idea but I get the feeling her dad was molesting her. She was running from that. I get the feeling what happened that night was the last straw for her.

  • Jen
    Jen Richmond, VA
    I just don’t buy the pen pal theory. If she had one, her parents would know because they would be mailing letters for her. I agree with Captain in that sleep walking is plausible, but this is a very advanced episode of sleep walking for a 9 year old. I do end up falling in line with Nic, because of her sleep walking was this complex, there’d be a known history of it because I’m certain the family would have experienced it. I’m a sleep walker, and have been since childhood. Everyone in my family has witnessed it since we lived in close quarters. I think it’s safe to assume they’d have a similar experience as well. I also agree with Nic in that, if it was the family, the police would’ve discovered something to tie them in. Unfortunately, my theory is that someone lured her out. Someone who knew her and had really gained her trust. Could be an extended family member, someone from church, etc. Someone who was trusted enough that she was willing to leave in the middle of the night. Regardless, an incredibly sad case. I really feel for her family and wish them peace and closure eventually.

    I just don’t buy the pen pal theory. If she had one, her parents would know because they would be mailing letters for her.

    I agree with Captain in that sleep walking is plausible, but this is a very advanced episode of sleep walking for a 9 year old. I do end up falling in line with Nic, because of her sleep walking was this complex, there’d be a known history of it because I’m certain the family would have experienced it. I’m a sleep walker, and have been since childhood. Everyone in my family has witnessed it since we lived in close quarters. I think it’s safe to assume they’d have a similar experience as well.

    I also agree with Nic in that, if it was the family, the police would’ve discovered something to tie them in. Unfortunately, my theory is that someone lured her out. Someone who knew her and had really gained her trust. Could be an extended family member, someone from church, etc. Someone who was trusted enough that she was willing to leave in the middle of the night.

    Regardless, an incredibly sad case. I really feel for her family and wish them peace and closure eventually.

  • Victoria
    Victoria United KIngdom
    Was the wallet sized picture ever taken to the school to see if they could identify the child? School photos often come in that size and friends would share them amongst the group. Maybe the school (or surrounding schools) would recognize the girl. I also like the suggestion about looking into the photographer. The sleepwalking theory that Nic doesn't love; could she have started out sleep walking? In that state, it would make sense for her to dream she was getting ready for school. If she did then she would have grabbed a backpack and headed in the direction of the bus-stop or school. If she woke up on the walk, that could be terrifying and be why she ran into the fields around the highway where she was seen.

    Was the wallet sized picture ever taken to the school to see if they could identify the child? School photos often come in that size and friends would share them amongst the group. Maybe the school (or surrounding schools) would recognize the girl. I also like the suggestion about looking into the photographer.

    The sleepwalking theory that Nic doesn't love; could she have started out sleep walking? In that state, it would make sense for her to dream she was getting ready for school. If she did then she would have grabbed a backpack and headed in the direction of the bus-stop or school. If she woke up on the walk, that could be terrifying and be why she ran into the fields around the highway where she was seen.

  • True Crime Garage
    True Crime Garage
    Hi Victoria, Yes, I believe it was a wallet size photo. It looks like a school photo but it's shocking that the girl in the mystery photo was never identified. I'm with you - the sleep walking theory is not terrible but that's how I would believe it to have gone if true. Sleep walking and then wakes up to panic. Again though if she was sleep walking - what the hell is up with the photo. Until the photo is explained nothing else makes sense. Cheers Nic

    Hi Victoria,

    Yes, I believe it was a wallet size photo. It looks like a school photo but it's shocking that the girl in the mystery photo was never identified.

    I'm with you - the sleep walking theory is not terrible but that's how I would believe it to have gone if true. Sleep walking and then wakes up to panic. Again though if she was sleep walking - what the hell is up with the photo. Until the photo is explained nothing else makes sense.

    Cheers Nic

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