A Kansas pastor’s wife who disappeared earlier this month while driving to visit family in Alabama originally planned to make the trip by airplane, Overland Park police say, but changed her mind and set off for Birmingham by car, AL.com reported.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Marilane Carter, 36, was last seen leaving her home at around 8:15 p.m on August 1. Her family, including her husband, Adam, and her three children stayed at home.
Overland Park Detective Blake Larson said Friday that Carter bought a Southwest Airlines ticket that Saturday to visit her sister, who is due soon to have a baby. But after a nap, her husband told police, she decided to drive instead, leaving at about 8:15 p.m.
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That helps give a view into her mindset,’’ Larsen said, adding that her husband, the lead pastor at Leawood Baptist Church, was concerned.
Using credit card charges, cell phone data, and surveillance footage, authorities tracked Carter through Missouri Saturday evening, with a stop at a McDonald’s. At about 3:30 a.m., she was seen on surveillance footage checking into a Quality Inn in West Plains, Missouri, then checked out at 6:03 a.m.
Later on Sunday, Carter fueled up at a Shell Station in West Memphis, Arkansas, where surveillance footage showed she also picked up a cup of ice water. She spoke with her husband via cell phone Sunday evening until the call dropped, and shortly thereafter called her mother in Birmingham, speaking for about 15 minutes before that call, too, dropped.
The last pinged location of her cell phone was at 8:02 p.m. as she was crossing the Mississippi River into Memphis, Tennessee, normally a three hour drive from West Plains, Missouri.
Memphis is about 3 1/2 hours from Birmingham, and when Carter hadn’t arrived by 3 a.m. Monday morning, her husband filed a missing person report with Overland Park police.
“She left Overland Park of her own free will with nothing suspicious afoot,’’ Larsen said.
Carter’s brother-in-law, Brady McLaughlin, told Nancy Grace on Thursday’s “Crime Stories” episode that Carter wanted to find a local facility in Alabama to help her with sleeping issues, preferably a facility she was familiar and comfortable with.
“She had previous experience as a chaplain at two facilities she was looking at, so, she was a lot more comfortable coming to Birmingham,” McLaughlin said.
Carter is originally from Birmingham, where she graduated from Beeson Divinity School at Samford University. She is described as a white female who stands 5-feet-8-inches tall and weighs around 130 pounds. She has long brown hair and green eyes. She was wearing a green t-shirt and black yoga pants when she left home. She was last seen driving a dark grey 2011 GMC Acadia with Kansas tags, 194 LFY.
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[Feature Photo: Marilane Carter/Overland Park Police Department]