The Strange Case of Melvin "Ted" Carr, Unresolved Mysteries

Discussion in 'The Observation Bar' started by T Jones, Jun 6, 2020.

  1. T Jones

    T Jones I'll Lock Up

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    Everyone loves a good mystery, especially when that mystery is an actual event. I often thought about this guy over the years and always wondered if he could possibly have been a serial killer who traveled many States and how many people he could have murdered along the way whose bodies have never been found. I remember when this all happened in 1977 and did multiple internet searches over the years and finally came across this exhaustive and in-depth article. One night in 1977, in an Indianapolis neighborhood, Harriet rose up very early one morning and noticed that the door to her garage was ajar. She went to investigate only to find the garage filled with carbon monoxide and the car still running. She shut the car off and noticed her 62 year old husband, "Ted", laying lifeless on the floor of the garage at the rear of the car. Apparently he succumbed to the fumes and died. When Harriet went to check on her husband she noticed that there were three dead bodies in the trunk of the car, a 24 year old woman, her three year old son, and a teen girl. Both females had been sexually assaulted. In his pocket was a 25 caliber revolver and a handkerchief that he tried to cover his face with to protect himself from the carbon monoxide fumes when he went in to check on his victims. Harriet ran screaming out of the garage and neighbors called the police. Ted had a long criminal history going back to the 1940s and he was a suspect in the disappearance of two women, a mother and daughter, 10 years earlier who have never been found to this day. Here's the article....
    https://www.reddit.com/r/serialkill...fter_stumbling_onto_a_bizarre_article_in_the/
     
  2. tonyb

    tonyb I'll Lock Up

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    Charming fellow, eh?

    I understand the impulse to hot-blooded homicide. I’ve known and been friendly with a couple of guys who actually did kill people they knew and who had, in their minds, done them serious harm. They both went to prison for lengthy stretches.

    But I suppose I can consider myself fortunate not to fathom how a person would wish to kill complete strangers. The better-told tales of stranger killing (“In Cold Blood,” “The Executioner’s Song”) offer some insight into the thinking of people who kill with robbery as a motive, even when those robberies yield not much more than nickels and dimes. But while much has been written on the lives of, say, Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy, I have yet to read an account of a serial killer that offers much insight into how these people think.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2020
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  3. earl

    earl One of the Regulars

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    Not "friendly with," but knew in a professional capacity 3 folks who've murdered. I was their psychotherapist. Tow of them I treated as teens prior to their murders, though in 1 case only preceded it by a year. Yeah, he killed his cousin at age 15. I forewarned his father, who enabled everything he did that he was very sociopathic as was the other teen I'd treated. Saddest of the 3, though, was a guy I treated after he left a state mental hospital where he was admitted after he killed his teen-aged daughter while in a delusional state believing he was saving her from being forced into prostitution by the "mafia." The only case I ran into in my 40 years in the profession where I can say mental illness did indeed lead to violence.
     
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  4. tonyb

    tonyb I'll Lock Up

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    ^^^^^
    One of the two of my acquaintance was a fellow I worked with. We weren’t bestest buddies, but we got along okay. In retrospect, it wasn’t shocking that he did what he did. Small world that it is, he was a cousin of a girlfriend’s ex-husband. I asked her recently (we stay in touch) if she knew what became of our murderer acquaintance. She said she hadn’t been in touch with “that side of the family” in decades.

    The other was mostly a drinking companion, although our “professional” (hah!) circles overlapped. I recall him telling me over drinks one night not long after the dreadful deed that he was a suspect in a homicide case. I avoided knowing the details. I considered him a friend, and a person resists knowing the worst about his friends, but the impression I got was that he, in his typically alcohol- and cocaine-addled head (there was a lot of that going on back then, 40 years ago or so) just lost his temper, perhaps justifiably, but certainly not justifiably to the point of homicide.

    Just about everyone is capable of murder, I think, given the right (wrong) set of circumstances. But, to circle back to the OP, serial killers are a whole ’nother animal. A rare species, and thank the god of your choice for that.
     
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  5. Robert Berdella came west from Ohio after high school to attend the Kansas City Art Institute. While he showed talent he took a lot of criticism for his odd behaviors. After dropping out of the Art Institute he opened what was known as a head shop in those days. He named his shop Bob's Bazaar Bizarre. I was in his shop a few times & remember him vividly. It turns out just like Jeffrey Dahmer, Berdella was a serial killer active from 1983 - 1988 before getting caught.

    Only a few body parts of his victims were ever found buried around his yard. In his confession Berdella claimed he would experiment with his victims & ultimately end up disposing of their bodies piece by piece curbside in his trash.

    The merchants association where Bob's Bazaar Bizarre shop was located held monthly pot luck dinners. For yrs after the various merchants would talk about how Bob would always bring the best beef stews!

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Berdella
     
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  6. T Jones

    T Jones I'll Lock Up

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    The reason why this particular story has held my interest over the years is that I knew Ted. He was my grandmother's cousin. His dad, who we knew as "Uncle Jim" when we were growing up, used to fondle my Mom when she was just a pre teen at 12 years old. When my mom told my grandmother what he did, my grandmother would get mad and accuse her of trying to get an old man in trouble. Ted and his wife used to come from Indiana to Columbus and visit my grandmother all the time. I only lived a block away from my grandmother and was over to her house every day, so I would see Ted and Harriet when they came to visit. One day my wife and baby daughter went to my grandmother's when Ted was there. My wife stood on a table to change a light bulb for her. Ted was standing next to my wife and watching her. My grandmother didn't have a light bulb so she said that she would wait for me to take her to the store and get one. Ted spoke up and offered to take my wife. The wife told him no that she would wait for me. He insisted that he could run her to the store and be right back. Again my wife turned him down. I remember her telling me about what happened. She said she didn't feel right about that whole incident so she refused him. I even remember the day when he was found dead in his garage by his wife. I went to my grandmother's house on that day and saw that she was upset and crying. When I asked her what was wrong she told me that Harriet called and found Ted dead in their garage. At first we thought he must've died from a heart attack. It wasn't until a second phone call that we learned he had murdered three people and sexually assaulted the two women. To meet Ted you would think that he was just a harmless and amiable old man. His wife Harriet was very neat in her appearance and friendly, although she seemed a bit bossy and short with Ted. It was pretty much a shock to us all when more things came out about him, and even more of a shocker when I came across this article that even had more information. We always wondered over the years how many people Ted may have killed whose murders have never been solved, or how many missing persons he could have been responsible for. He was a strange individual who seemed normal by appearances.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2020
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  7. tonyb

    tonyb I'll Lock Up

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    Yeeez!

    All families got skeletons in closets, but my god, that’s a big ol’ pile of bones you all got there.

    It was disturbing but not surprising to read of the child molestation. That kind of thing happened ALL THE TIME, and still does. It’s all to the better that we are likelier to actually speak of such matters these days. The silence gives the abusers cover.

    If there’s anything good in this story, it’s that in this culture we tend not to hold people responsible for the sins of their kin. That’s much to my relief, seeing how a couple of characters have dragged my surname through the mud. One of them has been gone for a few years now, yet new revelations of his sleazy deeds are brought forward still.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2020
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  8. Wow TJ, that is creepy close! I guess the unknown is could there be others, as you say?

    If you enjoy mysteries & unsolved cases you might enjoy this website.

    https://unresolved.me/
     
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  9. T Jones

    T Jones I'll Lock Up

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    The wife and I still talk about that after all these years. We often wondered if she was close to being one of his victims. My mother, before she passed away last year, often discussed how she was fondled by his dad when she was a pre teen....and I can't repeat the things he would say to her. I remember her telling me that he used to put on Old Spice after shave and that she could never stand the smell of it since then.
     
  10. T Jones

    T Jones I'll Lock Up

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    Yes! Unresolved Mysteries! That's the very same guy who wrote the article about Ted. He really does his homework.
     
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  11. RBH

    RBH Bartender

    Betty Jo Green was first married to my grandfathers cousin, Frazier Cooley.
    My grandfather went to live with his mothers brother Bunk Cooley [Fraziers father] after his father and step mother died with the Spanish flu in 1920 Athens Alabama.
    Betty Jo was convicted of poisioning family members.
    When the news broke of what Betty Jo Green had done. I remember my grand parents thinking that she had also killed Frazier and Bunk.
    At the time there were a few articiles that suspected her of also killing them.


    Betty Jo Green 1

    Betty Jo Green 2

    Betty Jo Green 3
     
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  12. T Jones

    T Jones I'll Lock Up

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    Unbelievable what can turn up in our families histories sometimes. My wife's family, on her Mother's side, is directly related to Devil Anse Hatfield, of the Hatfields and McCoys fame, and they're also directly related to famed Heavyweight Boxing Champ, Jack Dempsey. Now why couldn't my family have had a history like that?!
     
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  13. Bamaboots

    Bamaboots I'll Lock Up

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    Rusty, I remember this well. I had been a PO in a nearby city in an adjacent county for about two years when this broke. It dominated the papers and airwaves. I live only a couple of miles from Limestone County and Blakeley is still the sheriff, though he is currently under indictment.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2020
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