Overview of Christine Walters
A young Wisconsin woman walked out of a copy store in Eureka and disappeared without a trace. Did an ayahuasca tea cleansing ceremony contribute to a woman’s death?
”I believe she was too trusting of the people she met in California. She didn’t know the people and didn’t understand the culture out there,” Anita Walters said. “And I know there are a lot of young adults who go out there and don’t want to be found. I honestly believe that is not the case for her. If she said that now, she would be totally brainwashed. Her and I were very close.”
Christine Walters was a woman thirsty to experience the world. Family and friends describe her as a good student with a good head on her shoulders. They say she made friends easily and exuded an energy that drew people to her. She taught yoga and pilates and was studying ethnobiology and biology and the University of Wisconsin.
A few months before she disappeared
During the summer of 2008, Christine made plans to visit friends in Portland, OR. She had purchased a round-trip airline ticket with the intention of staying only three weeks. But toward the end of the trip, she phoned her parents and told them she wanted to stay on the west coast a little longer and delay going back to the University of Wisconsin. Friends and family say that she had fallen in love with the area’s natural beauty and lifestyle. It wasn’t surprising and fit with recent changes she had been including embracing natural foods stores, thrift store shopping, and working at an organic farm in Stevens Point where she went to school.
Perhaps another draw to the region was her growing involvement in the Green Life Evolutions. Green Life Evolutions group was known as a spiritual group and has been described as a potential cult. It has since been disbanded.
In September of 2008, Christine moves to Humboldt County, California. It is around this time that she begins to ask her family for money but also begins to contact them less and less frequently. This was somewhat concerning to family and friends as she had always communicated often and regularly with them in the past.
A few weeks before she disappeared, Christine made a concerning phone call to her mother. At the time, her mother urged her to come home for a bit. Christine demurred saying she was not ready to leave just yet.
A few days before Christine disappeared
On November 7, 2008, Christine participates in a cleansing ceremony that was believed to include a tea made with an illegal substance called ayahuasca — a hallucinogenic brew produced from a South American vine that has drawn a following in recent years. People who consume ayahuasca report having a spiritual awakening, saying they have mystical experiences and spiritual revelations. Some claim that ayahuasca can be therapeutic, especially for depression and personal traumas. Negative side effects of this substance are vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, tremors, and other related issues. She apparently stayed in Arcata for several days afterward with others who took part in the ceremony before leaving on Nov. 11, 2008.
Four days after the ceremony, a couple finds Christine naked and disoriented on the step of their rural Arcana home. She was naked, cold, hungry, thirsty, with extensive briar scratches all over her body. The couple phoned the police and Christine was taken to the hospital for treatment and evaluation. Investigators who spoke to her said she was evasive. Instead, she claimed she had “walked a long way” and claimed there were demons who could hear her and were trying to get her. She was released the same day and taken to the Red Lion Inn. While there, Christine called her mother several times and expressed fear that people were after her and were going to find her. Her mother, fearful for Christine’s mental health, wanted to come to get Christine, but Christine told her she would be fine.
”I really thought it would be OK. I was so clueless,” Anita Walters said. “I’ll take that to my grave. I should never have listened to her. I wished I had just gone like I planned. I don’t know why I couldn’t have read into that. That is probably the thing that keeps me from having peace of mind, that I didn’t go to her.”
The day of her disappearance
On November 14th, 2008 Christine visited a local copy center wearing her hospital-issued pajamas around 3:30 in the afternoon. Her mother had faxed some documents there that she could then use to get new identification for a flight home. The owner of the printing shop said Christine appeared disheveled and was acting very paranoid and looking over her shoulder. She asked for directions to DMV located approximately 1 mile from the copy center and departed. She was never seen again.
Where the case stands today
“Two weeks later nothing had been done - at the most crucial time of her disappearance they did nothing to help even after they told us not to worry, they were on it and would do everything humanly possible to find her. This is when we decided to bring in help.”
At the time of her disappearance, Christine was wearing hospital-issued pajama bottoms and a sweatshirt. She was wearing Crocs shoes. Christine has a tattoo of a large green and purple iris on the nape of her neck. She has a tattoo of a small black butterfly on her lower front hip. Her left nostril is pierced and she has double pierced ears.
If you know anything about the disappearance of Christine Walters, please contact the Eureka Police Department at (707) 441-4060 or the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office at (707) 445-7251.