LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KRQE) – The Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office reports that the remains of a missing Oregon woman may have possibly been found. Natasha Nelson was reported as a missing person out of Oregon State on April 13, 2021, after her family had not heard from her and she reportedly kept in weekly contact with family.
Authorities say after Nelson stopped responding to phone calls and text messages, her family became concerned and reported her missing to the Milwaukie Police Department in Oregon. DASO deputies were dispatched to the Aden Lava Flow Wilderness near I-40 on May 5 regarding a possible missing person after Mesilla Valley Regional Dispatch Authority received a call of an abandoned vehicle near Robert Larson Blvd.
DASO previously stated the individual who reported the incident stated he had met the owner of the abandoned vehicle a few months prior to reporting it and knew the vehicle’s owner camped out of the vehicle. Deputies at the scene discovered a white Subaru Forrester with Oregon State plates and later discovered the vehicle’s owner, Nelson was reported as a missing person.
DASO investigators searched the area on foot and on ATV and the United States Border Patrol air support, Border Patrol Search, Trauma, and Rescue, and Mesilla Valley Search and Rescue provided assistance in the search for Natasha Nelson using cadaver K9s. DASO reports that investigators came in contact with campers in the area and after notifying them of the Nelson’s disappearance, requested them to contact deputies if they discovered anything suspicious.
According to DASO, on May 8 the campers who had previously made contact with authorities reported they may have possibly found what appeared to be decomposing human remains not too far from where Nelson was last seen camping. Investigators at the scene confirmed the remains to be human and a set of car keys that belonged to Nelson were found nearby which leads investigators to believe the remains are that of Nelson.
Authorities say the remains were found about a quarter of a mile away from Nelson’s vehicle however, until an autopsy is completed by the Office of Medical Investigators and a positive identification is made through medical records, deputies cannot confirm the remains to be Natasha Nelson.
DASO reports that investigators have been in contact with Nelson’s family in Oregon and is treating this case as a possible crime until foul play can be ruled out. The investigation remains ongoing.