Billboards are a simple and clever way to advertise on busy highways by targeting motorists.
It is a marketing tool that attracts businesses in need of closure and grieving families. Three billboards outside the 2017 film Missouri Ebb cover this theme. The fictional Mildred Hayes details her daughter’s unsolved murder by placing billboards around town to shame the local police department into action.
Director Martin McDonagh came up with the idea while traveling in Texas, where he saw a huge roadside sign placed by the anguished parents of a murdered woman. McDonald can’t remember the exact location of the signs, but they bear a striking resemblance to the case of Kathy Page of Vito, Texas.
Since the film’s release, many families have raised their appeals, hoping that the raging traffic below will provide an answer. Here’s Asha Degree’s murder on a billboard.
A permanent billboard stands on Highway 18 in Shelby, North Carolina, with the words “Have You Seen Asha Degree?” next to a photo of a missing nine-year-old girl.
Asha had packed a bag and left her home on a stormy night in February 2000. She was last seen walking alone on the highway at around 3 am, but when a motorist tried to stop and help her, she fled into the nearby woods.
Since then, her book bag and other possessions have been discovered in various locations, but no trace of Asha has ever been found.
The sign also shows an age-progressed picture of Asha, and every year her family makes the mile-long walk to the billboard in her memory. It is the same route that Asha took on the night she vanished.