LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KRQE) – Authorities say a woman from Oregon reported missing since April 13, 2021, is believed to be in Doña Ana County. The Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office reports that deputies were dispatched to the Aden Lava Flow Wilderness near I-40 on May 5 regarding a possible missing person.
Officials say that the Mesilla Valley Regional Dispatch Authority had received a call about a vehicle that appeared to be abandoned for a while in the area about five miles southwest of Robert Larson Blvd. According to a press release from Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office, the individual who reported the incident stated he had met the owner of the abandoned vehicle a few months prior to reporting it.
He allegedly told deputies he was an acquaintance of the vehicle’s owner and knew she camped out of the vehicle. He told authorities that he was flying his drone in the area and noticed her vehicle but didn’t see any signs of the female in the area. After getting a closer look at the woman’s campsite and vehicle it had appeared the area had been abandoned for a while.
Deputies at the scene discovered a 2008 white Subaru Forrester with Oregon State plates in a remote area and several personal and camping items were found outside of the vehicle. The windows of the car were reported to be slightly rolled down and the items were covered in dirt and appeared weathered.
Deputies stated they did not see any foot tracks that led away from the vehicle. Authorities discovered the vehicle’s owner, Natasha Nelson was reported as a missing person out of Oregon State on April 13, 2021, and made contact with the Milwaukie Police Department.
Milwaukie PD stated Nelson’s parents had reported her missing after not hearing from her and said their last contact with her was on March 18, 2021. Authorities say Nelson had told her father, Titus Miller, that she would be moving camping locations within the next few days.
Deputies spoke to Miller who said Nelson often called or texted family and that it was uncommon for her to go more than two weeks without communication. Miller stated Nelson was an archaeologist and frequently moved to different campsites.
According to the Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office, authorities were able to obtain Nelson’s cell phone from her vehicle and learned it was last turned on over a month ago. Expired food was also found inside the car.
A search of the surrounding area was conducted by foot and ATV and at this time no new discoveries have been made. The investigation into this case is ongoing.
Deputies are asking for the public’s help in locating Natasha Nelson. Anyone with information is asked to call the Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office at 575-525-1911 or the Mesilla Valley Regional Dispatch Authority at 575-526-0795