Former sheriff who handled missing child Asha Degree case dies at 67

Former Cleveland County Sheriff Dan Crawford died Sunday following a self-inflicted gunshot wound, the Shelby Star has reported.

Crawford was found at his home in Shelby and died early Sunday afternoon at Carolinas HealthCare System Cleveland, according to the Star.

During Crawford’s tenure as sheriff from 1994 to 2002, he investigated the case of Asha Degree, a 9-year-old who went missing from her home in Shelby in 2000.

Degree’s backpack was found 20 miles from her home in August 2001, but the case was never solved. In 2014, police officers in Shelby said they were still investigating leads to find out what happened to the girl, who would be in her early twenties today.

Crawford lost his reelection campaign in 2002 after Teyreze Neshun Odoms, a 17-year-old inmate in the Cleveland County jail, died of a severe abdominal infection.

A few days after Odoms died, Crawford’s internal investigation found that officers at the jail handled Odom’ case properly and provided him with medical care when he asked for it. He also asked the FBI to investigate the case.

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