Allyson Joy Watterson. Photo: WCSO

Moundaindale - Human remains found near North Plains were confirmed to be those of Allyson Watterson, 20, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office said in a Friday press release.

A cause of death has yet to be determined as detectives continue to work any incoming tips in the case. 

“The Sheriff’s Office offers our sincerest condolences to the family as they have faced unthinkable circumstances for the past six months since Allyson was first reported missing.

We’d also like to thank everyone who helped in the extensive search efforts and to those who provided valuable tips and information to our investigators during this time,” the office said in a statement. 

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The remains were found by a property owner in the 15800 block of NW Corey Road between Mountaindale and North Plains while clearing brush on Saturday, June 20. 

In confirming the identity of the remains, the Washington County Medical Examiner has closed one chapter of the investigation into Watterson’s disappearance and now confirmed death, but what actually happened to Watterson, who went missing in December 2019, has yet to be fully understood. 

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office led a series of searches involving multiple search & rescue teams and law enforcement agencies, as did Watterson’s family, but the active search was suspended after 5 days passed without locating Watterson, who, according to family members, was with her boyfriend, Benjamin Garland, at the time when the car they were driving broke down. 

The missing persons case took a twist when Garland was arrested on what the Washington County Sheriff’s Office says were unrelated charges to Watterson’s disappearance; Garland was eventually convicted on April 8, 2020 on three different charges, according to the Washington County District Attorney’s Office, which says Garland pleaded guilty to the following charges: unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, fraudulent use of a credit card and second-degree theft. 

Garland’s probation was also revoked on charges of unlawful use of a weapon, attempted coercion, fourth-degree assault and obliteration or change of a firearm identification number stemming from a 2017 case.

Garland is serving his sentence in the Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution in Pendleton, where his earliest release date is April 2022, according to the Oregon Department of Corrections.