A woman’s remains were found in West Memphis, Ark. inside the same car – a gray 2011 GMC Acadia – that Carter was last known to be driving, the Crittenden County Sheriff’s Department said Tuesday.
Carter’s uncle, who had come to Memphis to join in the search for his niece, was the one to first find the car around the area her cell phone last pinged, Chief Todd Grooms said at a press conference.
He came across three large shipping containers partially hidden by tall grass in a field. The door on one was opened, and the uncle found the vehicle inside. He then called the sheriff’s department, and deputies, Arkansas State Police and the FBI secured the scene. A woman’s body was found in the driver’s seat.
“I was hoping for a more positive outcome, where she would show up somewhere and had maybe been somewhere getting some mental health treatment,” Grooms said, adding that Carter’s family was “dealing with grief and the loss of a loved one.”
The vehicle was registered to Carter and her husband Adam Carter, and a credit card with her name on it was also found inside, Fox 4 Kansas City reported. The body has not been identified, and Grooms said a positive identification is expected in the next couple of days. It remains unclear how the woman died. Grooms said no foul play is expected at this time.
Carter, a 36-year-old mother of three living in Overland Park, Kan., was planning on traveling to Birmingham, Ala., to be near her family and seek mental health treatment. Her husband said he purchased a Southwest Airlines plane ticket, but Carter abruptly decided to drive herself, taking their car and leaving Overland on the night of Aug. 1.
Authorities first tracked her to Rolla, Mo., where Carter stopped at a McDonald’s. She was seen on surveillance footage checking into a hotel in West Plains, Mo., where she stayed for only about two hours before checking back out. Her next stop was believed to be at a convenience store in Hazen, Ark. She later traveled east to West Memphis and was spotted on gas station surveillance footage on Aug. 2. Her cell phone pinged in the area for the last time a few hours later.