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Boyfriend of missing woman Allisha Watts, who vanished a month ago in North Carolina, is arrested for murder


The boyfriend of a missing woman who vanished a month ago in North Carolina has been arrested for her murder after her body was found. 

Allisha Dene Watts, 39, had last been seen driving her car in Charlotte, North Carolina, on July 16, and her remains were recovered Thursday in a rural cemetery some 70 miles where she disappeared, police said. 

Aerial footage from the site around 12:30pm – which sits on the grounds of a cemetery near Candor – showed several officers from the Montgomery County Sheriff’s office at the scene, as well as a trailer that likely held the woman’s body.

Shortly after the locating her remains, cops arrested Watts’ boyfriend, 51-year-old James Dunmore, at his residence on Pamela Lorraine Drive in Charlotte, police said. 

Footage shows him being led in cuffs to a local lockup, weeks after being found unresponsive in the same SUV in which Watts was last seen. She’d been leaving Dunmore’s home at the time, believed to be heading home to Moore County.

Dunmore, meanwhile, has a history of domestic violence and served time in prison for kidnapping, cops said Thursday. 

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The body of missing Moore County woman Alisha Watts, 39, was found in a cemetery Thursday - and her boyfriend, 51-year-old James Dunmore (right), has been arrested and charged with her murder. He was found unresponsive in her car days after she vanished

The body of missing Moore County woman Alisha Watts, 39, was found in a cemetery Thursday – and her boyfriend, 51-year-old James Dunmore (right), has been arrested and charged with her murder. He was found unresponsive in her car days after she vanished

Footage shows him being led in cuffs to a local lockup, weeks after being found unconscious in the same SUV in which Watts was last seen. He had been labeled a person of interest in the case days after being discovered 'unresponsive' in the car, after an apparent suicide attempt

Footage shows him being led in cuffs to a local lockup, weeks after being found unconscious in the same SUV in which Watts was last seen. He had been labeled a person of interest in the case days after being discovered ‘unresponsive’ in the car, after an apparent suicide attempt

‘This was not the outcome that we had been hoping for,’ Montgomery County Sheriff Pete Herron told reporters on the grounds of the the Norman Community Cemetery after making the grim find.

‘But by finding Allisha today, it can bring some closure,’ the officer continued, as several members of Watts’ family were seen at the scene.

‘I hope and I pray it brings some closure – to family and friends moving forward.’

Herron refused to take questions about how Watts died, and did not specify how the discovery of her remains prompted authorities to suspect Dunmore.

An arrest warrant filed in Montgomery County alleges the suspect ‘unlawfully, willfully and feloniously did of malice aforethought kill and murder Watts’ on or around the day she went missing.

The warrant does not elaborate on any other circumstances surrounding her disappearance or death – which relatives at the cemetery said while devastating, has at least brought them ‘closure.’

Just two weeks ago, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said Watts’ boyfriend, the sole resident of the Pamela Lorraine Drive home where she was last seen, was ‘important’ to the investigation but would not go as far as to say why.

At the time, the Charlotte resident was considered a person of interest in the case – which started with a statewide search for Watts on July 19, launched the day after her car was found at an Anson County DMV a short drive outside Charlotte.

Inside, local deputies discovered Dunmore –  the victim of ‘an apparent suicide attempt’ according to a subsequent search warrant later obtained for his residence.

First-responders did not discern the car’s connection to Watts, and rushed Dunmore to a nearby hospital. The Anson County Sheriff’s Office did not provide any details on his condition.

A day later, worried family members reported Watts missing. After another 24 hours, cops discovered that the vehicle – a black 2023 Mercedes Benz GLC 300 – belonged to Watts. 

Also discerned by deputies was the fact Watts had been driving the vehicle when she was last seen – with plans to attend a comedy show at Bojangles Coliseum in Charlotte following her visit with Dunmore on July 16.

However, when she never showed, relatives who also live in Watts’ Moore County instantly became concerned, citing Watts’ punctuality and usual transparency.

Watts’ cousin, Gwendolyn Utley, told WSOC-TV: ‘It just wasn’t normal. That’s not like her.’

Aerial footage from the site around 12:30pm - which sits on the grounds of a cemetery near Candor - showed several officers from the Montgomery County Sheriff's office at the scene, as well as a trailer that likely held the woman's body

Aerial footage from the site around 12:30pm – which sits on the grounds of a cemetery near Candor – showed several officers from the Montgomery County Sheriff’s office at the scene, as well as a trailer that likely held the woman’s body

An arrest warrant filed Thursday said the suspect 'unlawfully, willfully and feloniously did of malice aforethought kill and murder Watts' on or around the day she went missing

An arrest warrant filed Thursday said the suspect ‘unlawfully, willfully and feloniously did of malice aforethought kill and murder Watts’ on or around the day she went missing

Cops in Montgomery county refused to take questions about how Watts died, and did not specify how the discovery of her remains prompted authorities to suspect her boyfriend

Cops in Montgomery county refused to take questions about how Watts died, and did not specify how the discovery of her remains prompted authorities to suspect her boyfriend

Dunmore was previously considered a person of interest in the search for Watts (pictured) - which started with a statewide search for Watts on July 19, launched the day after her car was found at an Anson County DMV a short drive outside Charlotte

Dunmore was previously considered a person of interest in the search for Watts (pictured) – which started with a statewide search for Watts on July 19, launched the day after her car was found at an Anson County DMV a short drive outside Charlotte

Watts had last been seen driving her car in Charlotte, North Carolina, on July 16.Her remains were recovered Thursday in a rural cemetery some 70 miles where she disappeared, and a few dozen miles from her home in Moore County

Watts had last been seen driving her car in Charlotte, North Carolina, on July 16.Her remains were recovered Thursday in a rural cemetery some 70 miles where she disappeared, and a few dozen miles from her home in Moore County

When she drove by Dunmore’s shortly thereafter, she said she saw her cousin’s car still parked in the driveway, and did not immediately come to suspect the Charlotte citizen.

However, after circling back few hours later, she said she saw that the car was gone, WCNC reported, and Dunmore was found in the SUV two days later.

It was only then that Watts – an advocate for mental health issues and the elderly – was officially declared missing, sparking a statewide search carried out by multiple cooperating counties.

During a search of Dunmore’s home on July 20, investigators found a shell casing from a 9mm handgun, and in another on July 26, seized an array of clothing, cellphones, a camera, a laptop, photos, and a memory card in relation to Watt’s disappearance.

Cops wrote in that warrant that Dunmore attempted suicide before being found ‘unresponsive’ in his girlfriend’s vehicle. That day, Dunmore was declared ‘a person of interest’ in the case, though cops stopped short of calling him a suspect.

He was being held Friday at the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office after his arrest the day before, records show, and he is scheduled to make his first court appearance Monday, a Montgomery County court clerk said.

At the Norman Community Cemetery Thursday, another of Watts’ cousins, Tea Hines, told WBTV that she was happy Dunmore was being brought to justice. She also questioned how Dunmore could have carried out the killing.

At the Norman Community Cemetery Thursday, another of Watts' cousins, Tea Hines, told WSOC-TV that she was happy Dunmore was being brought to justice. She also questioned how Dunmore could have carried out the killing

At the Norman Community Cemetery Thursday, another of Watts’ cousins, Tea Hines, told WSOC-TV that she was happy Dunmore was being brought to justice. She also questioned how Dunmore could have carried out the killing

Watts - a fierce mental health advocate and helper of the elderly - had been driving the vehicle when she was last seen - with plans to attend a comedy show at Bojangles Coliseum following her visit with Dunmore on July 16. When she never showed, family reported her missing

Watts – a fierce mental health advocate and helper of the elderly – had been driving the vehicle when she was last seen – with plans to attend a comedy show at Bojangles Coliseum following her visit with Dunmore on July 16. When she never showed, family reported her missing

Dumore was being held Friday at the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office after his arrest, and is scheduled to make his first court appearance Monday

Dumore was being held Friday at the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office after his arrest, and is scheduled to make his first court appearance Monday

‘I’m just glad we got our guy, you know what I’m saying,’ Hines tearfully told the station as officers from the Montgomery County Sheriff’s office continued to survey the scene. 

‘I just can’t – I just can’t wait to go to court. You know, I just can’t wait to see what he has to say about this. We shouldn’t even be out here. If he would have just told us … 38 days in now. That’s a long time.’ 

She continued: “This is weird, is very weird. But hopefully, this is the closure that we’ve been looking for.

‘I don’t know how he managed to do that by himself. And my head, he had to pretty much have helped because there’s no way that you’re going to take your girlfriend on a date to a cemetery. 

‘So I don’t know how he even chose the spot that he chose.’

Cops in Montgomery County, meanwhile, said Friday that their investigation is ongoing, and that ‘there’s still much work to be done.’

‘This is an ongoing and active case and investigation,’ Herron said.



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