'It was shocking.' Cemetery manager reacts to Allisha Watts remains being found near property

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Friday, August 25, 2023
Suspect in Allisha Watts case prepares to face murder charges
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Alisha Watts' remains were discovered in the rural town of Norman in Montgomery County on Thursday, August 24, 2023.

James Dunmore is behind bars as friends and family members of Allisha Watts are left grieving after learning her fate.

There are still a lot of unanswered questions as to what happened for over a month leading up to Thursday's discovery.

The remains of Alisha Watts were discovered in the woods behind a cemetery in the rural town of Norman in Montgomery County.

Friends and family were told it may have been cell phone pings and digital evidence that led investigators to search near the cemetery.

A new warrant for James Dunmore suggests the murder itself would have happened back in mid-July, around the same time Allisha went missing.

The cemetery's manager tells ABC11 he had no idea Allisha was found there until he saw the news.

"It was shocking knowing that could have been there the whole time, it makes you more aware of things around you," says Tony Warner, who chairs the committee that maintains the rural cemetery.

Warner says over the last month, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Cleaning crews and caretakers go in and out. He says there was even a large funeral held with guests gathering at the cemetery at the end of July, unaware Allisha would have been just yards away while all that was happening.

"We were down there where the tree and all were down there talking to kinfolk and all that was the extent of it didn't go looking in the woods anything like that," he says.

Warner says he wants to know what might have led Dunmore to the cemetery. Watts' family says it would have been on her route back home to Moore County from Charlotte - the cemetery is just 20 minutes away from her home in Foxfire in Moore County.

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

Investigators found the location of the remains on their own without any assistance from Dunmore himself. Dunmore was arrested at his home in Charlotte before being transferred to Montgomery County.

Records show Dunmore has a lengthy criminal past, including kidnapping, stalking, and assault and battery.

Now, he will face murder charges. He is scheduled to appear before a judge at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Troy on Monday morning at 9:30 a.m. We are told cameras will not be allowed in the courtroom for that hearing.

NC Sheriffs confirm Allisha Watts remains found near cemetery in Montgomery Co

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