Details of Disappearance Watson was last seen in Gem County, Idaho on November 21, 1977. She has never been heard from again. At the time of her disappearance, she was involved in a custody dispute over her two children, aged eight and six. They had been living with foster parents, Michael and Dorothy Rogers, and Watson had visitation.
The Rogerses, who also cared for five other children, changed the children's names and had them refer to Watson as their aunt. She repeatedly tried to regain custody before she disappeared, but the Rogers family wanted to adopt the children.
Dorothy is the last person known to have seen Watson. She said she saw her get in a car and drive away. Watson's purse and other personal belongings were later found in a vehicle at the Rogers home, but there was no sign of her.
In the aftermath of Watson's disappearance, her parents, Leon and Lucille Baxter, fought for and obtained custody of her children. In their custody petition they accused the Rogerses of causing Watson to vanish.
In June 1978, Michael was charged with raping his fourteen-year-old adopted daughter. He and Dorothy fled, taking Watson's children and two of their other children with them. They were later located in Arkansas, the Rogerses were arrested and the children were taken into protective custody. Michael subsequently pleaded guilty to the rape of his daughter, and he and Dorothy divorced. There were allegations that they abused their other foster and adopted children.
Authorities believe the Rogerses may have been involved in Watson's disappearance, but there is insufficient evidence to charge them. Curiously, their son Ramon, who was seventeen years old in 1977, grew up to become a serial killer. He was convicted of murdering two of his girlfriends and a former roommate in California in the 1990s. He was sentenced to death.
After his arrest, police tried to link Ramon to Watson's disappearance and dug up his former home in Idaho, but they could not prove he was involved. Until the California murders were discovered, he had never been a suspect in Watson's case.
Watson's case remains unsolved. Foul play is suspected in her disappearance; investigators think she was taken against her will.
- Gem County Sheriff's Office
Updated 3 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated September 19, 2014; picture added.