Crews comb through thick terrain in Watterson investigation

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Medical examiner has not yet confirmed identity

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Washington County Sheriff’s Office combed through evidence Sunday after a body believed to be 20-year-old Allyson Watterson was found on a property in North Plains Saturday afternoon.

Investigators searched through thick terrain near the area where a property owner on Corey Road found human remains while clearing brush. The medical examiner was at the scene during the day, working with detectives as they tried to discern what happened.

“Anytime you’re involved with the level we were involved with the Allyson search, you do get personally invested. It’s just human nature,” said Deputy Tony Morris, the Search and Rescue Coordinator for the WCSO.

The area where human remains were found had been covered in previous searches. Morris said, at the time during initial searches, it was just too dense to see any obvious sign that someone had gone into that area.

“When it’s super thick like this, the searchers are going to start looking for signs that somebody has left that trail or left that drainage and gone into thicker areas,” said Morris. “Searchers, when they were out here, didn’t see anything.”

“We’re very fortunate that she was found. It could have been years, had the property owner not been clearing brush in that particular area,” said Deputy Shannon Wilde.

“It was shocking that it was that close,” said neighbor Gary Stadleman. He and his family live on a farm across from the property where the discovery was made. He told KOIN 6 News that his neighbor, who found the human remains, called Saturday night to tell him about the experience.

“She mainly talked to my wife, but she was very shocked, upset,” said Stadleman. “When we came home, there were probably, oh I don’t know, a good dozen police cars sitting here across the road.”

According to WCSO, personal items found in the same area earlier this year belonged to Watterson.

As of Sunday, the Washington County Medical Examiner has yet to confirm the identity of the body. The sheriff’s office said the medical examiner will not have a report for another two weeks.

The 20-year-old was last seen in the woods near North Plains on December 22 of 2019 with her boyfriend, Benjamin Garland.

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