A pastor’s wife from Kansas is believed to have died from carbon monoxide poisoning after her body was found this week following a frantic weeks-long search for her since she went missing at the start of August.
Marilane Carter, 36, went missing on August 2 as she travelled to visit relatives, and seek treatment for anxiety in Alabama.
Her car was found in a shipping container in West Memphis, Arkansas in Crittenden County this week by her uncle, who was helping in the search efforts for the missing mother of three. He found a decomposing body inside the vehicle, which is believed to be Marilane.
Authorities have reported that her car appeared to have been driven into an empty storage container on private property in a field off Interstate 55. Marilane’s purse and credit cards were found in the vehicle.
A report from the Medical Examiner is due later soon, but authorities do not believe any foul play. Crittenden County Sheriff, Mike Allen, has said: “We had the FBI Forensics Recover Team, Arkansas State Police and sheriff’s investigators and their collective thoughts was that it was more than likely carbon monoxide.”
He added, “She didn’t have any blunt force trauma or any type of wounds that would cause her death. She more than likely pulled into this container, left her motor running and asphyxiated.”
Marilane’s vehicle was found parked in the shipping container and run out of gas.
The sheriff reported: “How she got back into that location and found that container is just bizarre for sure, but all indications are she was behind the wheel, the car was running, the doors were actually locked.” He continued, “The way that car was in there, you for sure couldn’t open and shut the doors. No one else could have done that.”
“We’re just waiting on the results and praying for the family. They sure have been through it,” he said.
The shipping container where the body was found that is believed to be missing Pastor’s wife, Marilane Carter.WREG/News Channel 3 screenshot
Marilane was a graduate of Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School, and was married to Pastor Adam Carter of Leawood Baptist Church in Kansas.
She had purchased an airline ticket to fly to Birmingham to visit her sister, who is pregnant, and also to seek treatment for anxiety issues. Her husband has described that she took a nap on the day she disappeared, and when she awoke, decided she wanted to drive to Birmingham instead of taking the plane.
She left home at 8.15 p.m. local time, and authorities were able to decipher through her credit card transactions and mobile phone signal that she travelled through Missouri and stopped at a McDonald’s restaurant.
On 2 August, she checked in to a Quality Inn hotel in West Plains, Missouri at 3.37 a.m. but checked out less than three hours later at 6.08 a.m.
The final GPS location detected from her cell phone came at 8.02 p.m. on 2 August on Interstate 55 nearing Memphis.
Her mother, Marlene Mesler, paid tribute to her saying: “As a little girl, she was worried that her grandfather might not be a Christian because he left the room whenever the topic of God came up. She devised a plan. She waited until he was comfortable in his chair, then she sat on his lap so he couldn’t leave and told him all about Jesus.”
She added, “Marilane was drawn to helping others who were experiencing life crises, so she got her Master’s of Divinity and became a hospital chaplain. I remember how fulfilled she was as she ministered to those in need. She told me of cradling a newborn baby that was stillborn. She held the infant in her arms and marveled at his perfection. Marilane knew that the mother needed someone to acknowledge the baby’s beauty so that she wouldn’t fear giving birth to another child.”
She concluded: “Marilane, you are a hero, both in our family and far beyond. There’s a hole in my heart that nothing can fill. I sorely miss your daily calls, your gentle spirit, and your sweet laughter.
“Heaven has become closer to me now because it holds you. Never before has it been so real. Please know how deeply you are loved. I wish I could hold you tightly right now. I treasure the thought of our reunion one day when I can hug my girl with all my heart again!”