A Kansas pastor’s wife shared her love for children and passion for teaching in a touching video just three months before she vanished.
DailyMail.com came across the footage on Wednesday, just as police announced that they had recovered a body believed to be the missing mother-of-three, Marilane Carter, inside her car in a shipping container in Arkansas.
Carter’s uncle discovered the decomposing remains when he traveled to Crittenden County to look for his niece and saw the door of the container open.
The body has not yet been positively identified, but authorities confirmed the car is Carter’s. A credit card bearing her name was also recovered inside the vehicle.
Investigators have not released a cause of death but do not suspect foul play.
‘I believe that anything that happened, happened by her own doing,’ Chief Todd Grooms of the Crittenden County Sheriff’s Department said.
Carter, whose family lives in Overland Park, Kansas, was last seen on August 2 when she checked into a Quality Inn hotel in Missouri for three hours on her way to Alabama to seek treatment for anxiety and visit relatives.
She later called her parents from the road, sounding confused and telling them she kept getting lost. Carter was never heard from again.
The new video of Carter, which she filmed as part of an application for a teaching program, offers a heartbreaking look into her life in the months prior to her disappearance and apparent death.
The two-minute clip was posted to a YouTube page on May 5, 2020.
Carter is seen sitting on a couch and beaming with excitement as she explains why she wants to join the program and why she would be a good fit.
She says she discovered her interest in teaching during her time as a tutor at a Boys and Girls Club near her college campus, saying that the children there ‘really appreciated people taking the time to read with them and to assist them with their homework’.
‘It made a big impact on me as well,’ she says.
Carter describes working as a hospital chaplain after graduate school, and how she was deeply affected by the time she spent in the children’s ward and adolescent psychiatric unit.
‘I made it my objective to create a safe space for children to share their feelings and to feel hear,’ she says.
She then pivots to how her own family has shaped her aspirations.
‘Probably the most significant experience I have with children comes from being a mother to three children, ages two, four, and seven,’ she says.
‘I’m constantly looking for ways to further my children’s education when they’re at home and to help them develop a love for learning and especially for reading.
‘I think I would be a successful teacher because I love to learn, and it would be my goal to help children discover a love of learning for themselves.
‘I also think my experience with working with children from diverse backgrounds would be helpful in a classroom setting.’
‘I have a heart to see children thrive in a positive learning environment and it would be my goal to achieve this as an elementary teacher. Thank you for reviewing my application I look forward to hearing from you.’
It’s unclear what resulted from Carter’s application, or the specific program she was seeking a place in.
But it now appears that Carter will never get to bring her teaching aspirations to fruition, as authorities believe they have recovered her body.
The wife of Rev Adam Carter, of the Leawood Baptist Church in Kansas, Carter left her home in Overland Park on the night of August 1 to head to Birmingham, where her parents live, and where she hoped to seek mental health treatment at a hospital where she once worked.
She was last seen alive on surveillance footage checking into the hotel in West Plains, Missouri, the following morning.
In the footage, Carter is seen walking across the parking lot of the hotel with her luggage before entering the building and approaching the reception where she is greeted by hotel staff.
She checked out of the hotel three hours later and left in her car.
The 36-year-old, who has two young sons and a daughter, was last heard from later that night.
Her husband Adam said he had spoken with her on the night of August 2 and his wife’s cell phone went dead.
A short time later, Carter spoke to her mom Marlene Mesler on the phone.
‘We were in contact with her all the way, but then, partway through the trip, she started seeming confused and disoriented. She said she kept on getting lost,’ Mesler told WREG.
Carter’s phone went dead somewhere on the I-55 bridge.
This was the last time she was heard from and her credit cards have not been used since.
Her family were asking the authorities to search the Mississippi River around the bridge close to where the missing mom’s cell phone last pinged.
‘We need volunteers to help us search right around the I-55 bridge at Memphis,’ her concerned husband Adam previously told WMC Action News 5.
‘We need people with boats and very good sonar and experience navigating the Mississippi River.’
Authorities said Carter had made concerning statements to her family in the lead-up to her disappearance.
‘Our three kids miss her,’ Adam said. ‘I miss her. We want to have her home.’
After a frantic two-week search, Carter’s gray GMC SUV was found inside a shipping container in a remote field off Interstate 55.
Crittenden County Sheriff’s Department Chief Todd Grooms told WREG that officers had searched that field before and seen several shipping containers, but did not think to look inside them.
‘I just never would have dreamed that her vehicle would have been up inside one of them,’ Grooms said.
On Tuesday morning, Carter’s uncle, who stayed behind after a weekend search involving other family members, was driving and walking around the area where his niece’s phone was last pinged when he came upon three shipping containers in the field.
He noticed that one of the containers was open and decided to take a look inside, discovering his niece’s gray 2011 GMC Acadia with Kansas plates with a body inside.
The sheriff’s chief said no foul play is suspected at this time in connection to the woman’s death.
The decomposing body was taken to the state crime lab in Little Rock for an autopsy.