Ashley Miller Carlson missing

Carlson

SIREN, Wis. — Wisconsin and Minnesota law enforcement say they’re still searching for a northwestern Wisconsin woman who has been missing since late September.

Ashley L. Miller Carlson, 33, of the Siren-Grantsburg area — about 50 miles northwest of Barron — was last seen on Sept. 24. She is considered missing and endangered, the Burnett County sheriff’s office said in a Facebook post.

Carlson is five feet, nine inches tall, weighs about 217 pounds and has brown-auburn hair and hazel eyes, according to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. She was last seen east of Hinckley, Minn., about 75 miles north of Saint Paul.

The Burnett and Pine County sheriff’s offices said Carlson’s rental car had been found on Sept. 24 partially submerged in Grace Lake in Pine County, Minn.

Carlson’s personal belongings were found inside the vehicle, law enforcement said.

Burnett County law enforcement didn’t find Carlson at her Wisconsin residence. “Ashley has neither been seen nor heard from since, which, according to family, is very unusual and unlikely behavior,” the sheriff’s offices wrote in a Nov. 12 press release.

Law enforcement believe Carlson didn’t have a cell phone with her when she disappeared.

In the past two months, both sheriff’s offices, the Minnesota bureau, the Wisconsin Department of Justice, the FBI and professional and volunteer groups have been involved in the search — but Carlson remains missing.

Law enforcement have conducted “exhaustive” searches around Carlson’s home and where her vehicle was found using aircraft, drones, sonar technology and divers, in addition to foot searches with “both live-find and Human Remains Detection K9s,” the sheriff’s offices said this month. They’ve also conducted interviews and 32 search warrants and searched Grace Lake twice.

Law enforcement are planning searches of public land in Pine County during Minnesota’s deer hunting season. Hunters in the area should use extra caution and report anything they find, the sheriff’s offices said.

The sheriff’s offices said they are following up on all the leads they receive: “There are details of this case we are not releasing to the public to ensure the integrity of the case is not compromised … (investigators) ask the public to come forward with any information, however insignificant it may appear.”

An online fundraiser for Carlson established after her disappearance has raised nearly $8,000 for search efforts. Organizers wrote that a $20,000 reward has been established for information directly leading to Carlson’s recovery or rescue.

The fundraiser described Carlson as a mother of four young children with a large extended family; Carlson grew up in the Polk County village of Frederic.

“If anyone in our family or one of her friends would have gone missing, Ashley would be the first one doing everything possible to find them, no questions asked. She would not stop for anything until the person was found. We owe her the same,” wrote the fundraiser’s organizer, Carlson’s aunt Tracey Blees, on the fundraising platform.

If people have any information about the case, they should call the Pine County Sheriff’s Office at 320-629-8380, the Burnett County Sheriff’s Office at 715-349-2121 or anonymously call the Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-222-8477.

Contact: 715-833-9206, sarah.seifert@ecpc.com, @sarahaseifert on Twitter

Sarah Seifert is the L-T's education and health reporter. She has worked as a journalist in the Chippewa Valley since 2017 and joined the L-T in 2019. Get in touch at sarah.seifert@ecpc.com or on Twitter @sarahaseifert.