One call is all it takes to solve woman's DNA problem
Melanie Payne • firstname.lastname@example.org • January 4, 2011
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Twitter FarkIt Type Size A A A 1:10 A.M. — Barbara Kelly tried for almost four years to get her husband reinstated to a national database of missing persons.
It took me one phone call to make it happen.
When Kelly's husband, Arthur Stanley Carver III, then 21, disappeared in 1983 he was involved in a criminal enterprise using stolen boats to ferry marijuana and illegal immigrants from the Bahamas. He went missing, with his pal Kevin Wadsworth, on one of these runs.
Carver and Kelly, who has since remarried, had a 7-month old son.
Carver's disappearance was listed with the Lee County Sheriff's Office as a missing person case. That meant he was included in the National Crime Information Center (NCIC)database. When unclaimed remains show up, law enforcement matches them against people in the database.
In 1997, the Social Security Administration declared Carver dead, so his son - named Tim -could receive benefits.
But based on this information and an erroneous tip that Carver had been seen in Key West, the sheriff's office closed the missing person case on Carver and made the mistake of removing him from the NCIC database of missing persons.
Kelly, now 47 and living in Cape Coral, didn't know her husband was out of the NCIC database until 2007. Kelly said a deputy at the sheriff's office told her Carver would be put back in, which only law enforcement can do. Kelly, on her own, got Carver listed in the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System.
Four months ago, a coroner from California contacted Kelly. The office had bones that could be Carver's based on NamUs data, but without DNA the coroner couldn't make a match. And the only way Carver's son could submit DNA for a match would be if Carver were in the NCIC database. And he wasn't.
Kelly was upset. She thought this had been taken care of in 2007. So she again contacted the sheriff's office.
"I have left phone messages after phone messages. None of the people that work on the cold case missing people department even acknowledge that I have called," Kelly told me. "... I even sent an e-mail to Mike Scott himself (and) still nothing."
I found the sheriff's office much more cooperative when I called to inquire about this case.
It was difficult to decipher vague case notes from more than 20 years ago, Sgt. Lorrie Reaves explained, but now that the information has been clarified, Carver will be put back in the NCIC database.
His son's DNA will be collected, and the information stored to search for possible matches.
Most of the 1,200 missing person cases filed with the sheriff's office every year are closed within 30 to 90 days, Reaves said.
The office has about 20 cases more than a year old and only a few that are more than 20 years old.
Those few cases now include one for Arthur Stanley Carver III.
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