Body of missing woman Allisha Watts found, boyfriend charged with murder

Tom George Image
Friday, August 25, 2023
Boyfriend charged with murder after remains of Allisha Watts found
James Dunmore was booked into the Montgomery County Jail on a murder charge.

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Montgomery County Sheriff's Office said Thursday afternoon that it believes the remains of missing Moore County woman Allisha Watts have been found.

The 39-year-old Watts had been missing since July 16. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police said Thursday that she is no longer considered a missing person.

Montgomery County authorities said Watts' boyfriend, James Wendell Dunmore, of Charlotte, had been taken into custody by Charlotte-Mecklenburg police on Thursday morning and charged with one count of murder. He is being held without bond.

Allisha Watts' boyfriend, James Dunmore, 51, was arrested Thursday morning in Charlotte and charged with murder.

Montgomery County Sheriff Keith Herron said Dunmore was in the custody of his office. Dunmore, 51, arrived at the Montgomery County Jail around 4:30 p.m.

James Dunmore, of Charlotte, was arrested Thursday morning and charged with the murder of Allisha Watts, who had been missing since mid-July.

"First of all, our heartfelt condolences go out to Allisha Watts' family," Herron said at a 4 p.m. news conference.

"This is not the outcome we were hoping for," Herron added. "But by finding Allisha today, it can bring some closure to family and friends moving forward."

Earlier in the day, investigators from numerous agencies conducted a search along Cemetery Road in a rural area near the Montgomery-Richmond county line.

"As a result of the continued investigation in the search for Moore County resident Allisha Watts, along with the collaborative effort of multiple law enforcement agencies, this case is no longer considered a missing person investigation and has transitioned into a homicide investigation," Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields said in a statement.

Montgomery County Sheriff Keith Herron said it was not the outcome anyone hoped for but hopes Allisha Watts' family and friends have some closure moving forward.

Watts was last seen leaving her boyfriend's home in Charlotte.

SEE ALSO | 911 call reveals initial suspicions about Allisha Watts disappearance

"This is just not her. This is kind of strange. It frightens me."

Dunmore was found was found passed out inside Watts' car in Anson County on July 18 -- two days after Watts was last seen. Investigators said Dunmore appeared to have survived a suicide attempt. Dunmore previously served time in prison for kidnapping.

A body found in eastern North Carolina is being investigated in connection to the disappearance of Allisha Watts.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department searched Dunmore's home but stopped short of calling him a suspect in the case. Previous police reports say Dunmore has a history of domestic violence and identified him as a person of interest in the case.

This is an ongoing and active investigation, authorities said. The Montgomery County Sheriff's Office is the lead agency.

In addition to the Moore County Sheriff's Office, the Anson County Sheriff's Office, Foxfire Police Department, Montgomery County Sheriff's Office, Richmond County Sheriff's Office, as well as FBI-Charlotte and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation have participated in the more-than-month-long search for Watts.

"We ask you to join us to keep the family and friends of Allisha Watts in your thoughts and prayers," Fields added.

Dunmore will make a court appearance at 9:30 a.m. Monday at the Montgomery Courthouse.

ABC11's Samantha Kummerer contributed to this report.