Details of Disappearance Walters lived in Deerfield, Wisconsin in 2008, and was a junior at the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point, studying botany and ethnobotany. She took a vacation to Portland, Oregon in the summer of 2008.
She was scheduled to return to Wisconsin and her university classes that fall, but decided to extend her stay because she liked the area. She went to visit friends in Eureka, California. Around that time, she became very interested in spirituality, alternative lifestyles and environmental causes.
Walters had kept in regular phone contact with her family during her vacation, but she called less often after her arrival in California. She wasn't working consistently and repeatedly asked her parents for money. Her father sent her $1,000, which she left untouched in her bank account.
On the morning of November 12, Walters was found standing on the doorstep of a rural home outside of Arcata, a town near Eureka. She was confused, naked and covered with briar scratches. The homeowner called the police, who took Walters to St. Joseph's Hospital for treatment. She appeared frightened and said someone was after her, but she wouldn't say exactly what had happened to her.
She tested negative for drugs and police decided not to detain her. They took her to the Red Lion Hotel in the 1900 block of 4th Street. She made arrangements with her parents to fly home. She had lost all her identification and was trying to get new documents so she could travel.
Walters was last seen on November 14. She went to a copy center, where her mother faxed her some papers to help her obtain new identification. Employees at the copy center stated Walters appeared nervous and paranoid, and tried to hide the papers. She has never been heard from again. She was reported missing on November 17.
Her backpack, money and identification were found after her disappearance at a spiritual center in Arcata. She often left her belongings there when she went for walks in the Arcata Community Forest.
A private investigator hired by Walters's parents found out she was in a "tea ceremony" before she was found and taken to the hospital. These ceremonies are illegal in the United States. The participants take ayahuasca, a drink containing two drugs: harmine, which is legal in the United States, and dimethyltryptamine (DMT), which is considered a controlled substance.
Ingesting ayahuasca causes vomiting, diarrhea and hallucinations that can last up to ten hours. It has been known to cause adverse reactions, including episodes of depression or mania, in some people who are predisposed to mental illness. It's unclear whether the tea ceremony is related to Walters's later disappearance.
It's uncharacteristic of Walters to leave without warning or to be out of touch with her family. She enjoys nature and had worked on an organic farm in Stevens Point. She also taught Pilates and yoga. Her case remains unsolved.
- Humboldt County Sheriff's Office
Updated 3 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated March 23, 2010; details of disappearance updated.