Allyson Watterson has been missing since December 22nd, 2019. The 20 year-old woman was reportedly last seen by her boyfriend, 21 year-old Benjamin Garland. Benjamin told police that he and Allyson were hiking in North Plains, Oregon when they got separated in a wooded area near Old Pumpkin Ridge Road. Benjamin and his father reported Allyson missing the following day.
While investigating Allyson's disappearance, authorities noticed that Benjamin had several active warrants for unrelated crimes. Just days after reporting Allyson missing, Benjamin was arrested and charged with failure to appear on five separate occasions, possession of a stolen vehicle, theft, fraudulent use of a credit card and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. He later pleaded guilty to these charges and was sentenced to three years in prison.
Benjamin has not been named as a suspect in Allyson's disappearance, but police initially appeared to doubt his story. Days after Allyson's disappearance, the Washington County Sheriff's office said that they did not find any evidence to suggest that Benjamin and Allyson had actually gone hiking on December 22nd. When asked about this by reporters, Sheriff's Deputy Brian van Kleef stated "we've never been able to verify this narrative."
However, in March 2020, an anonymous tipster alerted authorities about "seeing something" near Pumpkin Ridge Road. When authorities went to the area, they reportedly found items that were confirmed to belong to Allyson. Authorities have not confirmed what items were found, but Allyson's mother told reporters that the items were Allyson's backpack and ID card. It's unclear if investigators now believe that this evidence suggests that Benjamin and Allyson actually did go hiking that day--or if they think the evidence was planted there after-the-fact. A wider search of the area was conducted after the items were found, and reportedly no other clues were found.
Allyson remains missing today. There is a $10,000 reward in place for information leading to her whereabouts. If you have any information that could help the investigation, please contact the Washington County Sheriff's Office at 503-629-0111.
UPDATE (June 22nd, 2020): Allyson's remains have been found.
A property owner in North Plains was clearing out brush on Saturday, June 20th, when the gruesome discovery was made. Allyson was found in an area close to where she was reportedly last seen. At this time, authorities have not yet announced whether or not they believe Allyson was murdered. However, the area where she was found is not easily navigated and investigators do not believe she ended up there by chance. One investigator working the case told reporters, "people aren't just going to go on a walk and end up in this area. It's just not going to happen." This case is currently unfolding and more updates are expected.
Rest in peace, Allyson.