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5 Things to Know: Investigators Find Body of Allisha Watts, Arrest Boyfriend

...and four more stories from Aug. 20-26, 2023

The Google Street view of a cemetery where police found the remains of Allisha Watts
Allisha Watts’s remains were found in a wooded area near Norman Community Cemetery in Montgomery County. (Google Street View)

Investigators Find Body of Allisha Watts, Arrest Boyfriend

Any hope that Allisha Watts, a 39-year-old Moore County woman who went missing after leaving her boyfriend’s Charlotte home on July 16, would be found alive were tragically crushed on Thursday, as her remains were found dumped near a cemetery in Montgomery County near its border with Moore County.

James Dunmore, Watts’s boyfriend who was found unresponsive in her car in the parking lot of a DMV office in Polkton on July 18, was arrested in front of his home in northeast Charlotte’s Faires Farms neighborhood on Thursday and charged with murder. He is 51 years old.

During a press conference on Thursday, Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields told media that digital evidence led detectives back to the woods on Cemetery Road where they had searched previously to no avail. This time, cadaver dogs led investigators to the body.

Fields said he believes Allisha Watts was killed and left at the site on July 18, the same day Dunmore was found unresponsive in her car in Polkton. Fields said Dunmore may have known about the rural road off which Watts was found because it served as a back-road way to get from Charlotte to Watts’s home in the Village of Firefox in Moore County.

Firefox is less than 15 miles from the site where Watts was found. The Polkton DMV where Dunmore was found on July 18 is about halfway between the cemetery where Watts was found and Charlotte.

Two Separate Domestic Violence Incidents End in Police Killings

CMPD officers shot and killed two people this week in separate but similar incidents. In both incidents, officers forced entry into an apartment in which they believed domestic violence to be actively occurring and, in both instances, an officer shot and killed a subject inside the apartment.

The first incident occurred in South End on Sunday morning. According to CMPD, officers responded to a domestic violence call at The Penrose apartment complex on West Tremont Avenue at around 8 a.m. on Sunday and, upon nearing the apartment where the incident had been reported, heard shots fired inside.

After officers forced entry, a man in the apartment reportedly lunged at one officer with a knife, stabbing him in the neck. Another officer then fired at the suspect, killing him. At the time of this writing, police have not yet released the name of the subject or any of the involved officers. Medic transported the officer who was stabbed and a female victim who sustained a gunshot wound inside the apartment to the hospital, both with non-life-threatening injuries.

Shortly before 12:30 a.m. on Friday, police responded to a domestic violence incident in the Abberly Woods Apartment Homes in north Charlotte, where they approached the apartment in question and “feared a threat inside the apartment and entered,” according to CMPD. Officers reportedly witnessed a woman being stabbed by the subject, leading an officer to shoot and kill that subject.

No officers were harmed in the north Charlotte incident, though the victim was transported to a local hospital with life-threatening injuries due to multiple stab wounds.

CMS Sues Social Media Companies Over Mental Health Concerns

As reported first by the Charlotte Ledger on Thursday, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Board of Education has joined a long list of school districts around the country that aim to hold some of the most popular social media companies in the world accountable for what they’re doing to children’s mental health.

In a suit filed Thursday, the CMS Board of Ed alleged that students’ use of Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, and Snapchat has led to mental health issues and behavioral problems in the classroom. The suit aims to hold Meta (Facebook and Instagram); Google (YouTube); ByteDance (TikTok), and Snap Inc. (Snapchat) accountable for “the addictive nature of their social media products.”

(AdobeStock Photo)

In a statement about the suit, Board Chair Elyse Dashew wrote, “The Board’s decision to take legal action reflects our unwavering commitment to the welfare of our students and to ensure that social media corporations are held responsible for their contribution to the mental health challenges faced by CMS students.”

CMS and other involved school districts are seeking an undetermined financial amount, citing the surging demand for mental health services, as well as accountability from the companies and a change in the way they operate their platforms.

Governor Vetoes Voting Law

Gov. Roy Cooper on Thursday vetoed Senate Bill 747, a so-called “election security” bill drawn up with the help of Trump attorney Cleta Mitchell that will eliminate the current three-day grace period for mail-in ballots, tossing out any ballots that don’t come in by Election Day, while adding more restrictions to mail-in voting and same-day registration, plus banning individual counties from receiving grants to fund the running of elections.

On top of that, the bill will place potentially partisan poll “observers” at polling sites despite objections from a bipartisan group of county election board members across the state.

“This legislation has nothing to do with election security and everything to do with Republicans keeping and gaining power,” Cooper said in a release on Thursday. “It requires valid votes to be tossed out unnecessarily, schemes to restrict early voting and absentee ballots, encourages voter intimidation and attempts to give Republican legislators the authority to decide contested election results.”

NC Supreme Court Justice to Step Down

NC Supreme Court Justice Michael Morgan, one of only two Democratic justices on the NC Supreme Court, announced Thursday that he will step down from his position on Sept. 4.

“With the help of my outstanding staff, all of my opinions & assignments have been completed as the Court acts on them and concludes its current cycle in the coming days.”

Morgan announced in May that he would not seek reelection in 2024. Gov. Roy Cooper will now appoint a replacement for Morgan, and that replacement will need to run for a full eight-year term in 2024. It’s been reported that Morgan is considering a run for governor.

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