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CMPD finds car that belongs to missing woman at Lake Wylie

Police said that 39-year-old Vatsla Watkins was last seen on Monday, March 18 driving a 2004 Mercedes-Benz. Her car was found near a marina on Lake Wylie.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The search for a missing Charlotte mother and wife of former Mecklenburg County GOP chair Curtis Watkins continues.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police say 39-year-old Vatsla Watkins was last seen leaving her Myers Park home in the early morning hours of Monday, March 18. They say her family reported her missing shortly after around 1 p.m. Tuesday, March 19.

Police say Watkins was driving her silver 2004 Mercedes C230, with N.C. license Plate tag 8215CP, when she left.

Just before 9 a.m. Friday, CMPD says they received a call from someone who had spotted the car parked at the Pier 49 Marina, located off Highway 49 on Lake Wylie. 

Crime-scene detectives were seen searching the car.

Not long after, teams with CMPD and Charlotte Fire began to search the lake by boat. Those who know the lake say it can be unforgiving. 

“There’s a lot of current in here too," said Rigo Figueroa, who was launching his own boat into the lake Friday. "I’ve heard of people getting pulled down by the current before, almost drowning. You know in some of these parts, the water goes 50 feet to 100 feet deep and connects all the way to Catawba."

Investigators focused much of their search to the water beneath and near the Buster Boyd Bridge, which sits roughly 100 yards from where Watkins car was found.

CMPD also brought in K9s to search the area surrounding the marina. At one point, the K9 also searched the wooded area across the street from the marina.

“Hopefully she’s going to be found fine and their two little ones are going to have their mom,” said onlooker, Laura Garrison.

Watkins is not only a mother to two young children, but an adored Charlotte fashion designer.

Her how-to videos and fashion blog, Fashion Behind the Seams, are followed by thousands. Watkins often posted happy pictures of her and family, including many of her and her daughter in handmade matching outfits.

"It’s a stressful job to be a mom,” Garrison said. 

Investigators have not released much information regarding the case and have not yet said whether or not they believe foul play to be a factor in Watkin’s disappearance.

Anyone who has seen Watkins or knows anything about here whereabouts should call 911 or Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.

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