The Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office announced two “new possible clues” Monday in the search for Asha Degree, who was 9 when she disappeared from her Shelby home in February 2000.
The first clue is a library book from Fallston Elementary School in Cleveland County, Cleveland County Det. Jordan Bowen said in a video posted by the sheriff’s office.
The book, “McElligot’s Pool” by Dr. Seuss, shows a fish chasing a worm on a hook on its cover.
“If you, or someone you know, had this Dr. Seuss library book around the time of Asha’s disappearance and lost track of it, call us,” Bowen said in the video.
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Library records at the Fallston Elementary School Media Center don’t go back to the year of Asha’s disappearance, Bowen said.
Bowen described the second clue as a concert T-shirt from New Kids on the Block, which formed in the 1980s and is currently on tour.
The sheriff’s office had a broad request for people who recognize the shirt, asking for calls from anyone who had the shirt or knew someone who did at any time.
They declined in a news release to give more information about the two clues.
The investigation into Asha’s disappearance has been open for more than 18 years. In September 2017, an FBI team with special experience in missing children cases joined the investigation.
At the time of that announcement, officials said investigators were working on the assumption that Asha is alive.
Asha’s family last saw her around 2:30 a.m. on Feb. 14, 2000, when she was asleep in her bedroom, officials have said. About 90 minutes later, drivers on N.C. 18 in Shelby saw her walking on the side of the road, officials said.
Her parents reported her missing around 6:30 that morning.
In 2001, her backpack was found buried along N.C. 18 in Burke County, with some belongings still inside, officials said.
In May 2016, the FBI announced it was looking for an early 1970s Lincoln Mark IV or Thunderbird, based on a tip that someone who looked like Asha may have gotten into a car like that on N.C. 18, around the time she disappeared.
A $45,000 reward is available for information on the case, according to the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office video. Anyone with information on the library book, the shirt or other details can call 704-484-4822.