Cases such as Allisha Watts’ present challenges when they involve multiple agencies

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, N.C. — As police connect the dots in Allisha Watts’ death, we’re getting a new perspective on the challenges that come with missing persons cases when they stretch across different jurisdictions.

James Dunmore, Watts’ boyfriend, is due in Montgomery County court on Monday on his murder charge. Investigators said they found Watts’ body on Thursday, 40 days after she disappeared from University City.

On Friday, Channel 9 saw Dunmore’s black Audi SUV get towed away.

And for the first time, we’re hearing Allisha Watts’ voice. In video provided to Channel 9′s Jonathan Lowe by her family, Watts is beaming while opening a new business in February.

“We’re going to go outside and do a brief ribbon-cutting,” she says. “We’re going to come in and y’all can say all the good stuff y’all want to say to me, no bad stuff, all the good stuff.”


That’s how family members like Gwen Utley are remembering Watts on the day after learning her body was found in a Montgomery County pond.

“By this happening, you most definitely need to do a check on who you’re dating,” Utley said.

James Dunmore is charged with murder in connection with Watts’ death.

“I can say that I’m still processing what we learned yesterday,” Utley said.

She said she’s trying to understand why Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said during an interview with Channel 9 earlier this month that evidence showed Watts initially left on her own when she disappeared from Dunmore’s University City home back on July 16.

“I just don’t feel like everything was taken as seriously as it should have at first,” she said.

But a private investigator who specializes in searching for missing people said resources for these types of cases can be limited.

“I think people need to realize the magnitude,” John Corcoran said. “Charlotte police has currently over 3,500 missing persons cases active as we speak.”

Corcoran, who’s been a private investigator for more than 30 years, said searches that involve multiple agencies can present hurdles.

“Each agency has their own command,” he said. “They all operate on separate command. It’s not as linked as people in the public seem to believe.”

“There’s just not enough detectives and money to go around to investigate,” he added.

Jonathan Lowe

Jonathan Lowe, wsoctv.com

Jonathan is a reporter for WSOC-TV.