PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — At the end of the fifth day of searching for Allyson Watterson, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office announced in a Saturday evening press conference that they have suspended the search for the missing 20-year-old.
Incident Manager Tony Morris said they were not able to find her and stated that “the decision has been made to suspend active searching at this point.”
“To be clear, we will only search when we have something that has given us a reason to search. What that takes is something in our search area that is driving decision-making,” said Morris. “We were, today, searching out from items that we had interest in and that just ran out. We don’t have any more things that are pointing us in an area to search.”
Misty Watterson, Allyson’s mother, also spoke at the press conference. She thanked the sheriff’s office, as well as community partners, for their efforts in looking for her daughter.
“Even though they’re not actively searching, we will always search for Allyson,” said Misty. “I will never stop looking for you—never, I’ll never stop. And I’d like to ask everybody else to not stop looking either.”
While the active search for Allyson has been halted, the investigation into her disappearance is still ongoing.
“If we get information where it would become necessary to have Search and Rescue come back out and continue searching—that’s always an option still on the table,” said WCSO Detective Mark Povolny. He said investigators are still working to piece together where Allyson went between when she was last seen and when she was reported as missing—roughly a 30-hour window of time.
“Detectives are still working on figuring out where Allyson has been over the last days or the weened hours, and piecing together Mr. Garland’s activities,” said Povolny.
Saturday Evening WCSO Press Conference:
The search for Allyson
Allyson was last seen with her boyfriend, Benjamin Garland, around noon on December 22. The two were in the North Plains area. She disappeared sometime between Sunday and Monday. Garland was found sleeping in a resident’s car near Pumpkin Ridge Road on Monday morning. Allyson was reported as missing by Garland’s father on Monday evening.
A stolen truck was found in the area where Garland was found Monday, according to investigators. He is facing charges in connection to that, as well as unrelated charges of theft and fraud.
On Friday, most of the search was focused on private property instead of public hiking areas. Earlier this week, clues were found that led investigators to believe they could narrow the search parties to only trained crews.
On Saturday morning, around 50 trained teams from Multnomah, Clackamas and Columbia counties joined the Washington County Search and Rescue team in North Plains, again in the Pumpkin Ridge area. Teams combed through 600 acres over the past 5 days—some areas were searched twice. However, those clues that kept searchers looking through the week have now been exhausted.
Investigators are still seeking more information about the previous owner of Allyson’s cellphone, which is a WiFi-only phone.
“Allyson’s mom, Misty, works at the Reedville Cafe and about a month ago a customer gave her a cell phone, which she then provided to Allyson,” said Povolny on Saturday. “We would like to know who that customer is so that we can use some of that information to see if that might prove helpful in narrowing down a search area.”
Anyone with information on Allyson’s whereabouts or the previous owner of her cell phone is asked to contact the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.