SHELBY -- The murder arrest of a man in South Carolina could be a needed break to end a nearly decade and a half cold case in Shelby.
Donald Ferguson was charged early Wednesday with the murder of a Greensboro girl Shalonda Poole in 1990.
Now investigators are looking into whether Ferguson could be connected to the Asha Degree cold case dating back to 2000.
"The individual was arrested in Spartanburg County which means in all probability he had to come through Cleveland County numerous times," said Sheriff Norman.
Ferguson was arrested this week and charged in the 1990 murder of 7-year-old Shalonda Poole in Greensboro.
Now Cleveland County and Greensboro authorities are exchanging notes to see if Ferguson is possibly connected to the 2000 disappearance of then 9-year-old Asha Degree.
"We do hope that it opens a door. That's one of the main reasons for national databases and all sorts of things," said Capt. Mike Richey.
Degree was last seen walking on a stretch of Highway 18 in Shelby on Valentine's Day 2000.
Along with a missing person's billboard, Degree's family walks that route in her honor every February 14, never giving up hope.
"We want to bring closure to the Degree family, whether it's to bring back Asha back home, or to bring closure like what has happened with the Greensboro incident," said Sheriff Norman.
Cleveland County Sheriff Alan Norman said an investigator from his office will spend the next week pinpointing exactly where Ferguson was around that date in 2000.
"We're looking back to see where this individual would have been 14 years ago, where he resided, where he worked," said Sheriff Norman.
Sheriff Norman said they still get tips on the Asha Degree case, but he's hopeful this latest link could bring some kind of closure to another North Carolina family.
As of Thursday, Donald Ferguson remained in a Spartanburg County jail awaiting extradition back to Greensboro.