Authorities call Oregon woman Allyson Watterson's disappearance 'concerning' as search continues

Officials are concerned about a 30-hour delay in her disappearance.

Authorities now say the investigation into the disappearance of 20-year-old Allyson Watterson leads them to believe she was not hiking with her boyfriend, 21-year-old Benjamin Garland, when she went missing, as he previously claimed.

"We do not believe that they were out in this area to hike," Washington County Sheriff's Detective Mark Povolny said at a press conference Friday night. "How and why they ended up in this area is one of those things we are looking into."

Watterson, Povolny said, was last seen just before 12 p.m. local time on Sunday, Dec. 22 by a nearby homeowner. She was seen with Garland.

Garland, who was later arrested on several charges unrelated to her disappearance, was next seen Monday morning, asleep in that same homeowner's truck, officials said.

Povolny said it was not until Monday night that Garland's father called police to report Watterson was missing. He called the 30-hour delay from when Watterson was last seen to when she was reported missing, "concerning to us."

Officials, he said, are still trying to put together what happened in that intervening time.

Authorities initially said Garland said the couple became separated while hiking in a wooded area near North Plains, about 18 miles northwest of Portland.

The search for Watterson will continue in the area where she went missing on Saturday morning, but with the delay in reporting her disappearance, Povolny said she might no longer be in the area.

"We want everybody to be aware of what Allyson looks like, the clothes that she was wearing," he said at Friday's press conference.

Garland, authorities said, is not considered a suspect at this time. They are also not calling Watterson's disappearance foul play yet, but there are "some things in this case that make us concerned."

Around 100 volunteer search and rescue workers spent Christmas looking for Watterson in the woods.

Watterson's parents thanked rescue workers and community members who spent the holiday helping with the search.

"We just really, really want to thank everyone, and we want this to keep going until we find Allyson," her father, Alan Watterson, said during the press conference. "Please get the word out to anybody who may or may not be on social media … let the people know that don't have outlets to TVs or maybe people that kind of live off the grid," her mother, Misty Watterson, said. "She's just a very special person, and I will do anything to get her home. Anything."

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