Two Teens Go Missing in Arkansas, Sparking Investigation

Investigators in Arkansas are searching for two teenagers who have been missing since leaving for a day trip on Saturday morning.

Ashley Darlene Walls, 17, and Matthew Allen Morrison, 18, left a rural area in Jackson County around 11:30 a.m. on October 2 and no one has seen them since, according a statement from the the local sheriff's office.

Both were last seen wearing Newport High School-themed clothing and traveling in a 2005 Chevy Trailblazer, silver in color, with handicapped plates.

Police said phone records indicate that the pair's cells were active somewhere between the Jackson County/Woodruff County line in Arkansas and Poplar Bluff, Missouri, early Sunday morning.

The Jackson County Sheriff's Office has requested that anyone with information on the whereabouts of Walls and Morrison to phone 870-523-5842.

Newsweek has contacted the sheriff's office for more information.

Missing teenagers in Arkansas
Investigators in Jackson County, Arkansas, are searching for two teenagers who say they say went missing after leaving for a day trip on Saturday morning. A police photo of Ashley Darlene Walls, 17, and Matthew Allen Morrison, 18, left a rural area in Jackson County around 11:30 a.m. on October 2 and no one has seen them since. Jackson County Sheriff's Office

The appeal comes at a time of other high-profile missing person searches.

Among them, a family who left for a week-long camping trip close to Bullhead City in Arizona has not been seen for weeks, police said on September 30.

Erika Irene Allison, 36, and Joshua Robert Martinez, 30, had planned to take their 17-year-old son, Psymon J. Kelly, camping for seven to 10 days starting September 11, the Kingman Police Department said in a statement on social media.

Investigators are also trying to track down Lauren Cho, a 30-year-old woman who went missing in California on June 28. Cho, a music teacher from New Jersey, was last seen leaving her residence in the California desert of Yucca Valley at around 3 p.m. that day, and has not been heard from since. Cho had made the move to California from New Jersey eight months before she disappeared.

The interest in the recent case of Gabby Petito has shone a light on other missing person cases.

Petito, was last seen in Grand Teto, Wyoming, on a cross-country road trip with her fiancée Brian Laundrie on August 25. Petito was found dead in Grand Teto National Park on September 19, and officials have ruled that her death was a homicide.

Laundrie, a person of interest in the case, returned home on September 1 without Petito and then went into hiding on September 17 after telling his family he was going to Carlton Nature Reserve in Florida. Police have still not found him.

In 2020, there were 543,018 missing person cases filed in the United States, down from 609,275 on the previous year. The 2020 figure is the lowest number of missing person files in the U.S. since 1990, according to the National Crime Information Center's (NCIC's) Missing Person and Unidentified Person Files.