FindCarrie - AGH - Missing & Murdered Person Blog

Information on missing and murdered people and the issues surrounding their cases. ***No material on this site is to be redistributed or rewritten - Copyright Find Carrie Culberson***

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Return to the missing person arena

After several years on hiatus, I knew it was time for me to return to helping those who are missing and those who may have been murdered. On May 18th we had a local woman go missing by the name of Lizeth Ruby Ruiz. The circumstances of her disappearance were that she was at a local park in Gainesville, GA and she became separated from her friends when she suddenly seemed to vanish without a trace. Local police and divers began a search for Lizeth and it seemed as though only the police personnel were concerned about Lizeth's disappearance, and I believe it was due to the fact she was in the Hispanic community here in Gainesville. After a few days passed and Lizeth did not appear, I knew it was time for me to do something to help her family. It was the right thing to do. I prepared a Facebook page for Lizeth that would aid in the search for her. Lizeth's face needed to be circulated to the Gainesville, and other social media. We were delighted to find out that her mother had planned a vigil for Lizeth for the upcoming Sunday for Memorial Day weekend, which would mark nearly two weeks since Lizeth vanished, but unfortunately Lizeth's body was found by boaters in Lake Lanier a day before the vigil was set to begin.

While I am glad the family did not have go through the ordeal of the waiting months after year to find out what happened to their loved one, I am deeply saddened to find out that Lizeth is no longer among the living.

It was time for me to return to my work with helping the missing. I had taken time to deal with the death of my Dad, and other things that have happened along life's highway. This highway that always leads me back to one area, and that is helping those who are missing and murdered, and who need a voice of someone to help them not be silent any longer.

Tonight is the visitation for Lizeth's family and friends here where she lives. I am so glad to be able to be a part of Lizeth's memorial and being able to say goodbye to her in a proper way. While this is not the way we wanted it to end, we can find comfort in knowing that Lizeth's death was not due to a homicide, and she was able to be found and given a proper burial as she deserves. Join me as we remember Lizeth Ruby Ruiz who whose service will be held on Thursday, June 2, 2016 at 2:00 PM in Gainesville, GA.
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Monday, February 04, 2008

Is it finally enough to make an arrest?

Since Natalee Holloway vanished in May of 2005 while on her senior trip, there have been always been one trail leading back to one person, and that being Joran Van Der Sloot. Joran Van Der Sloot was the last person seen with Natalee leaving a popular nightclub (Carlos N Charlies) in Aruba the night she disappeared. Since the beginning Joran has given unclear statements as to what really happened that night.

Just last month (Jan 2008), the Aruban government announced that they had rearrested Joran Van Der Sloot and the Kalpoe brothers, only to let them go once again. Shortly after this last arrest, authorities in Aruba suddenly said they were dropping all charges against the Kalpoe brothers and Joran and that the investigation into Natalee's disappearance was closed. It seemed that the investigation had hit a brick wall and Natalee may never be found until this Dutch reporter came forward last week.
I'll be the first to admit that when this report first came out I thought we probably have another person claiming to have information and it won't be valid, just like all the other times, until I saw this new video that's airing today.
What I want to know is now that we clearly have Joran Van Der Sloot talking matter of factly about Natalee and how she might have been dead when he called for someone help dispose of her body, is this enough proof of what we knew all along? From what I can see this is not a paid actor and Joran Van Der Sloot shows no remorse for what happened. So much so, that Van Der Sloot called Natalee Holloway a "bitch" and he has not lost any sleep over this incident!
What has happened to Natalee Holloway is horrible and the fact is that she may never be located at the point, HOWEVER, this person can be held accountable for disposing of her body and repeadly lieing to everyone.
I've been totally apalled at how the Aruban government has not taken Natalee's case serious and how they've let these three young men go free from a crime that they obviously were involved in.
I believe that maybe now that since this video has surfaced that there will be no place to run and hide for Joran Van Der Sloot. Maybe justice is on the horizon for Natalee.

let us always remember the victim in all the darkness.
Natalee Holloway - Missing Since May 2005

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Sunday, February 03, 2008

Justice for Meredith Emerson?

Thursday afternoon Gary Michael Hilton entered a plea of "guilty" for the abduction and muder of Meredith Emerson who vanished while hiking in Blairsville, GA. Less than one month after Meredith was murdered, her killer stood before a judge for formal sentencing for his crime. As part of Hilton's deal, the death penalty was taken OFF the table because he agreed to lead authorities to Meredith's body after he was taken into custody. Suprisingly Meredith Emerson's family was okay with the fact Hilton was going to plead guilty and receive life in prison, rather than the death penalty because they felt that they may not live to see his death take place. After all, many people say that life in prison is much worse than the death penalty - which I firmly disagree with.
As Meredith's mom and dad addressed the court and Gary Hilton on Thursday, he sat there looking straight ahead motionless and unmoved by their grief.
While I am glad that this monster has been captured and taken off the streets, I am disturbed by the game he is playing with police and how he's managed to escape paying for taking one person's life with his own.
Gary Hilton is the prime suspect in two other missing person cases and one confirmed homicide. He is a predator and the game he is playing is very simple. He is refusing to work with authorities to reveal the location of those possible victims OR give them any information that could help them unless they agree to go easy on him - just like he did with the Emerson case. Many people might think that I am wrong for thinking he should be given the death penalty but he has admitted to murdering Meredith Emerson and detailed his crime to authorities. Since he's confirmed he's guilty, why can't he be punished like he punished his innocent victim? He will now not have to rob people to get money, live out if his van, or do any of these other hard living tactics he once did. He will now be fed three meals a day, given free medical care and housing all at the tax payers expense.
I do not believe that Meredith Emerson was the first victim of Gary Hilton. I believe there are others. What worries me is that how many others will be unsolved and furthermore, once it is confirmed that he is involved, will he be given more special deals?
I have thought about where we'd be at in this investigation or search for Meredith had the police not worked this deal with him. It is just unacceptable for someone to be out there missing. I think about if the police had not given Hilton a deal or did the deal and found Meredith like they did, I think it's very difficult to not say I'd want to bring her home at all cost. I guess I'm just selfish. I want him to pay in the most harsh way and I want her back home where she belongs. I guess we can't always get what we want, and there is never a happy ending to these types of situations.
I just hope that at this point the authorities are able to charge Hilton with some of these other cases, and bring home those who are still missing. Perhaps the one case that is a unsolved homicide that they believe he's linked to, be the one that gives him the death penalty? I think Gary Hilton needs to die and I think I know where I'd like him to go once he dies.

Let us remember the victim always in all the darkness - Pictured left - Meredith Emerson and her dog Ella.

Related Article:

Hiker fought Hilton until death'I would like to think she was doing everything she could,' DA says

By JEREMY REDMONThe Atlanta Journal-ConstitutionPublished on: 01/31/08

Meredith Emerson, who had a green belt in judo, put up such a fight against Gary Michael Hilton that he dropped his police-style baton while trying to kidnap her in the mountains of North Georgia on New Year's Day.
A diminutive but scrappy woman who stood 5-foot-4, Emerson continued to resist Hilton during the next three days, repeatedly giving the 61-year-old drifter incorrect pass codes for her ATM cards.

not just to save herself, but to help authorities apprehend her captor.
"It is unclear, [but] I would like to think she was doing everything she could to ensure that he would perhaps get caught during his efforts to use the ATMs," Dawson County District Attorney Lee Darragh said.
Hilton was arrested on Jan. 4, and later led authorities to Emerson's body. Darragh described Emerson's three-day ordeal in court Thursday moments before Judge Bonnie Oliver accepted Hilton's guilty plea to murder and sentenced him to life in prison.
With Emerson's parents watching from the second row, Darragh gave the following account, which was drawn from authorities' interviews with Hilton, and confirmed by his public defender, Rob McNeill.
Emerson was not the first hiker Hilton approached on a trail on Jan. 1. He considered another potential victim, but "she was with other people."
Emerson became his focus for two reasons: She was alone on Blood Mountain, and she was female.
He wanted her money. And he knew that he would eventually kill her.
Witnesses had reported spotting Hilton following Emerson in the mountains that day.
One witness, a former law enforcement officer, said he saw Hilton carrying a police-style baton and a large knife on his belt. That witness later found two water bottles, a dog leash and some dog treats along with the baton on the edge of a hiking trail.
"There was in fact a struggle at that location between Ms. Emerson and this defendant," Darragh told the judge as Hilton sat to his left, wearing a dark bulletproof vest over his orange jail uniform and staring straight ahead. "This defendant, however, was able to place her under his control eventually."
Hilton took Emerson back to her car, where he stole her purse and ATM cards. Then he placed her in his van and drove her around to various locations in North Georgia, seeking to get money out of ATMs with her cards. She kept giving him incorrect PIN numbers.
He never was able to withdraw any money from Emerson's account. He was videotaped trying to do so at an ATM machine in Canton.
On Jan. 3, Hilton called a former employer, seeking some money and his old job back. The next day, Hilton told Emerson he was going to let her go.
He "secured" her in Dawson Forest, went to his van and returned with the handle of a car jack. He struck her on the head several times until she died. In hopes to conceal his crime after beating her to death, he decapitated her.
"He used the phrase that he did those things for 'forensic purposes,'" Darragh said.
Hilton was given an opportunity to address the court after his guilty plea but refused. When the hearing ended, sheriff's deputies led Hilton to a side exit, where he appeared to frantically reach for the door handle.
McNeill, his attorney, said Hilton is remorseful but decided not to address Emerson's parents in court because "anything he could say would be hollow and empty."
"He realizes what he has done to the family," McNeill said. "He realizes what a special person Meredith was."
She "actually did fight him in the beginning until she was unable to anymore," Darragh told reporters after the court hearing.
Added McNeill: "She was absolutely a hero. She did everything she possibly could" to survive.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Murdered Marine Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach

In the last week, the media has splashed the horrific seen of Lance Cpl Maria Lauterbach's body been removed from a shallow grave in what would later be identified as her accused rapist and now accused killer's backyard.
Although, Cpl. Cesar Laurean left behind a note stating that Maria Lauterbach somehow slit her own throat before he burned her body on or about Christmas Eve (December 24, 2007), and then buried it in his backyard along with her unborn fetus. Maria case has two troubling factors and while we are discussing this case on every news network, I will add my two cents worth here on this victim's blog.
The first problem with Maria's case was that when she was first discovered missing, her case was not taken that seriously due to the fact of some ATM withdrawls and other activity that led the North Carolina PD to believe that she possibly left on her own accord. Secondly, Maria's prior rape allegations against Cesar Laurean - who is now a fugitive (I belive I forgot to mention that above) was not known to the NCPD due to the fact this situation was handled by the military police which would also cause another delay. Where did we go wrong? Whose fault is this and could this crime have been prevented? Truthfully, I don't think so, and here's why.
Maria Lauterbach continued to work alongside Cesar Laurean after the rape occurred and probably because she had to. She probably had NO idea what he had in store for her. What I'm saying is that I don't think this situation was taken as serious as it probably was. I'm making this assumption from reports from her family and friends.
The next problem we have is that Cesar Laurean planned to murder Maria from the reports and camera shots of him buying these materials that would be used in disposing of a body. He is now on the run and authorities fear he is already in Mexico. Does this mean once he is captured, he will not be extradicted back to the United States if North Carolina decides to pursue the death penalty - as they should.

His capture could take forever if someone is helping him hide out. I don't think he is in the United States any longer. I believe he planned out Maria's murder and from there, he planned where he'd go after he carried out his crime. This is a pre-meditated murder of a mother-to-be and an unborn fetus. There should be two murder charges filed against Cesar Laurean and once he's captured, he should be prosecuted to the fullest extent.

Why is our statistics showing that women who are pregnant at more risk of being victims of a violent crime than any other time? What does this say about our community? When did it get to be acceptable to hit a woman and furthermore, when did it get to be acceptable to murder a woman and an unborn fetus?

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Disappearance and Murder of Meredith Emerson

It has been a few months since I've posted anything on this blog and I apologize to those who actually take the time to read this. Our group has been active with the missing and murdered person community, but often times it's difficult to find time to get online and post the days events.
This last week has been very emotional for many of us here in the State of Georgia, especially those who are involved in the missing person and search and recovery field. As many of you will recall, on New Years Day, Meredith Emerson went for a hike in the North Georgia mountains and vanished without a trace. Meredith's disappearance was on a day when many of us are relaxing and unwinding from the previous night of celebration. Often law enforcement and most places of business are closed. This was a day that tradegy stuck but kicked into action what I call some old fashion top notch police work, although Meredith Emerson would in the end, not make it home alive and well.

Upon the discovery that Meredith Emerson was missing from a routine hike on Blood Mountain in Blairsville, Georgia, shortly thereafter, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation was called in to assist in the massive search that had begun. Within hours, a suspect, Gary Michael Hilton was on the news as well as his tag number and the vehicle he was possibly driving was on the local and national news. To my astonishment, witnesses had clear information that had already been given to the police that gave an account of Meredith Emerson being seen with Gary Hilton around the time she was last seen.
Shortly after Hilton's name and tag number was released to the public, news came that Meredith's dog "Ella" was found wandering around a Forsyth County parking lot some 50 miles from where she vanished. Within hours, authorities in Forsyth County were scouring a dumpster at a quick mart where they found items that would later be identified at Meredith Emerson's blood stained clothing. However, at the time of this discovery, Meredith Emerson was still missing without a trace.

By night fall, Gary Michael Hilton had been arrested and brought in for questioning, but still no trace of Meredith, until Monday night, two days later.
Our local news reports were saying that Hilton was NOT cooperating with GBI officials, but somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew that the lead investigator, John Cagle would not let the community down. I came to know John Cagle and his hard core work with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation when our Sueann Ray vanished in August of 2005. John Cagle and his co-workers spent many hours on the case and never backed down one second until Sueann was uncovered that fateful morning and her husband was subsequently arrested. You will not see John Cagle doing many interviews with the media because he is what I call a man of few words. He's just not someone I would want on my case because if there's something to be found, he'll find it and he did.
Monday night Gary Hilton led GBI officials to a location in the Dawson Forest area in Dawson County Georgia where he disposed of Meredith Emerson's body. We'd learn the horrific details the next day of how she died, but for now, Meredith was finally home and not missing any more.
Gary Hilton would tell authorities that he walked alongside Meredith Emerson to gain her confidence and then he made the move to kidnap her. He said that he took her because he wanted her credit cards and ATM card. He told authorities the part that has haunted me, those who searched for Meredith, her family and law enforcement who were just hours aways from rescueing her that he held her three days before he bludgened her to death, then decapitating her head.
Meredith Emerson's body was located just one mile in the Dawson Forest from where a little boy by the name of Levi Frady was found 10 (ten) years ago. His murder has never been solved. Levi Frady's disappearance and murder prompted Georgia to name it's Amber Alert System "Levi's Call". There have been reports that Gary Hilton may be a possible suspect in the Levi Frady murder due to similarity of his appearance and the composite sketch that has been available with GBI now for 10 years.
What's more disturbing is that Gary Hilton is now a prime suspect in an unsolved murder in Florida, North Carolina and possibly this other disappearance of Caycle Bywater that happened here in Athens, Georgia on Dec. 29, 2007. The North Carolina case and Florida are almost a 100% certaintly that Hilton is involved and authorities from both police jurisdictions are here in Georgia to question Hilton in regards to these cases.

While many can agree that GBI moved very quickly on this case and were so very close to even bringing Meredith Emerson home alive, some still believe they failed. The thing for us to remember is that there are hundreds more of these Gary Hiltons walking around in our community. These people are ticking time bombs that can explode at any time. Our law enforcement can be very prepared and very trained, but there is no fool proof way to get all of these sicko's off the street. We as the community have to keep working and paying attention to our surroundings for danger and don't misjudge situations. Nothing is safe like it was back in the old days. Predators lurk among the communities and are everywhere. We can never ever let our guard down no matter where we are.

Tomorrow Meredith Emerson will be remembered at a church in Athens Georgia. Her life will be celebrated for the wonderful perosn she was. Back here in reality, we will begin to put the pieces of the puzzle together of this monster Gary Hilton and all of the possible vicitms he's targeted. There are probably many other families who are still waiting for answers as painful as they may be. We will have to work to bring him to justice for what he's done.

While law enforcement did the very best they could for Meredith Emerson and worked better than most agencies could with 10 times more training, there are still things that go wrong. If we are looking for someone to blame for this tradegy, we cannot blame law enforcement. Let's all ban together to learn the signs of danger and help educate our loved ones on how stay away from danger that lurks in our world today.

Related Links:

Help Find Meredith

Friday, August 31, 2007

Remembering Carrie 11 Years After her Disappearance

On Tuesday, August 28, 2007, my group was in Florida taking a much needed vacation. As everyone will remember, when the 28th arrives, no matter where I am, this day impacts me and my family a lot. We decided that on this night, we would go down to the beach and remember Carrie and so of the others who are still missing and some who have been found deceased. We choose a bouquet of balloons in various colors to represent several of the other people.

This year has been productive in the search for Carrie, but she still is missing and that's just not good enough for me. Shortly after we visited Blanchester last year for Carrie's 10th disappearance anniversary, the other barn that has been rumored to be linked to Carrie's disappearance mysteriously burnt. In fact, it burnt just days before Carrie's 10th anniversary which leaves a lot of questions and speculation.

After the barn, the soil samples from the 2004 barn and excavation site were sent overseas to see if there's any trace of Carrie - Meaning - was she ever there. It seems really strange to me that her items could be found at that depth underneath that barn and then there was nothing else. Again, more questions and no answers. Perhaps these soil samples will give us something?

In early August 2007, just weeks before Carrie was missing for 11 long years, Court TV rolled back into town to film a new documentary regarding Carrie's case. This show is for "Missing Person's Unit". I understand this documentary is basically on how the law enforcement worked on the case - once the decent people began to work the case. There's no air date for this just yet. I'm sure this will be a great show once it is released, and any exposure Carrie's case gets is even better.

As our vigil started down on the beach for Carrie and the others, I thought of how much Carrie loved the beach and the sun. I knew that she'd approve of the location and she'd be there with us if she could. I'm deeply saddened that Carrie's memory is reduced down to a note scribbled into the sand and having to release balloons. We should have a gravesite for Carrie's family to visit. I keep hoping and praying that somehow we will find her remains so they can be laid to rest like a normal person should be. It just gets really ridiculous if you think about this.

Last but not least, Carrie's mom accepts an award on behalf of Carrie for the National Day of Peace. Debbie has made it her mission to help others who have been victims of domestic violence. I know that Carrie is so proud of Debbie and all the others who continue to support finding her and have stood up against violence. I want to share this article with you all below and tell you that we have not stopped looking for Carrie. We never will. There are many things that we cannot post online because of possible case and personal invasion, but just know that Carrie case is still very active.

Local Woman Being Honored For Work Preventing Domestic Violence
Reported by: Bill PricePhotographed by: 9News

The devastating problem of domestic violence -- or "DV" -- is getting new attention in Northern Kentucky from a new group: college athletes, as a local coach makes it his mission to keep his players from becoming future abusers.
Researchers say every 15 seconds of every day, a woman in Kentucky is abused or battered by someone she knows.
Programs like the Women's Crisis Center in Covington are now getting unexpected new help to prevent that abuse.
But first, the center heard from one Tri-state family who has been hurt by domestic violence for years.
The annual "Day of Peace" domestic violence conference honored Debbie Culberson on Friday.
She got the conference's first "Outstanding Advocate" award as she stood next to a picture of her daughter, Carrie Culberson.
Carrie was last seen 10-years ago this month, being shoved into a car by her ex-boyfriend, Vincent Doan.
Doan is now serving a life sentence for her death.
Carrie's body has never been found.
"I'm going accept it on behalf of my daughter, Carrie," said Culberson. "Carrie also, [sighs] Carrie gave the ultimate sacrifice."
Efforts to stop domestic violence by Culberson are now getting the support of the Northern Kentucky University (NKU) basketball team.
Their coach says he's warning players that they can't bring their courtside aggression into their relationships with women.
"By teaching our boys ways to handle frustration and anger without using violence or harmful words, we let them know it's okay to walk away when angry or frustrated," said David Bezold, NKU men's basketball coach.
"It's important to let them know they can always come to us, if they feel like things are getting out of hand," added Bezold.
Bezold is the first men's sports coach to address this domestic violence conference.
He was joined by NKU professor Darrell Payne, who studies domestic violence.
Payne says families need to start even earlier teaching these anti-violence lessons to boys.
"And one thing I remember my father teaching me, from being a little boy up to an adult, is that you never put your hands on your sisters or a girl," said Payne, who works in the school's College of Human Services. "That was the rule of our house. That's what stood and that's what I followed."
"I am always in awe of men who will speak out against domestic violence," said Culberson. "So, I appreciate and applaud you and everything that you are trying to do."
Since college basketball players are already role models, Culberson and the center hope that the players will spread the word that domestic violence should not be tolerated.
More than that, the center hopes they can show that domestic violence isn't just a problem for women – it's also a man's problem, too.

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Saturday, June 09, 2007

The Disappearance & Murder of Kelsey Smith

This past week advocates of the missing watched the news as the video tape rolled of 18 year old Kelsey Smith entered a Kansas Target store, and then was apparently abducted by a young man that the store camera captured leaving the store just moments before she departed last Saturday night (June 2, 2007). The news reports asked "have you seen this man", and "where is Kelsey?" - "Please help us". Less than a day after the tapes were released, a description of the vehicle believed to be involved with the abduction was released. It was a 70s model Chevy truck, but the quality of the person of interest and truck were still so grainy. At this time, Kelsey Smith was still missing, and the clock was racing to find her.

On Wednesday, as Texas Equusearch moved into the area to search an area where a cell phone ping was picked up from Kelsey's cell phone, shortly thereafter, her body was located in a desolate area near a creek bed. It was all so odd to see a young woman just days earlier going in to purchase something in a Target store and now, her body was being discovered in some woods. Now it was apparent that something had gone awry as Kelsey exited the Target store, and just who was the mystery man and was he responsible?

As soon as I turned on the TV Thursday morning, FOX news was reporting that 26 year old Edwin R. Hall had been arrested for the kidnapping and murder of Kelsey Smith. I will have to admit that these past few days I've watched the tapes over and over again, passing along the photos online to various websites, forums, and Myspace pages, to help search for this mystery man, and now that his face finally appeared off the grainy film, I was shocked to see a tiny, nerdy, pathetic human being walking into the court room almost in a robot form. I could not believe what I was looking at and I still don't know why. As more reports come out about this individual the more I see just how troubled Edwin "Jack" Hall is. He was in a foster home and was removed because he threatned his sister with a knife. His Myspace page (which everyone has) said that his hobbies were eating small children and harming small animals. While those may have been in a joking tone, there's something that can probably be read into those words.

Authorities are taking a look into another young woman (Kara Kopetsky) who vanished a month prior to Kelsey Smith and has not been located. Kara is almost identical to Kelsey in physical appearance and authorities do not know if Edwin "Jack" Hall may be responsible for Kara's disappearance.

I have a deep concern for what's really behind Edwin Hall. I firmly believe he left his residence on June 2nd of 2007 planning to take a young woman and Kelsey Smith just happened to be the one he encountered. A news report said that Kelsey was strangled to death from ligature. This leads me believe that Edwin Hall took materials from his home in order to carry out a vicious act of violence against "someone" this particular night. I believe he's possibly a serial killer.

While his neighbor turned him in and kudos to this person, they claim he was so normal. How many times have we heard this about serial killers? There's more and more disturbing reports coming out about Edwin Hall and I believe as time presses on that we will learn more and more about this "sweet troubled soul" as he drescribed himself on his website. I'm glad that this individual is OFF the streets. I'm so very sorry for what's happened to Kelsey Smith. I pray that this man is not responsible for any other disappearance or violent crimes. If in fact he is, I hope that he is man enough to step up and tell us what he's done and help the families find them if they are missing.

Please see some of the following links regarding Edwin R. Hall but only after visiting the informational sites regarding Ms. Kelsey Smith - now an angel among us. Thinking of you always.

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