(Introduction to show begins)
ERIC MEADOWS (WCAN CO-Host): Hello everyone that’s out there. Hey, listen, we’re here on Tuesday nights where we have our special show called Missing Pieces, which is hosted by Todd Matthews, the founder and director of The Lost The Found Global Research Center. Tonight Todd will be introducing our guest. He will be introducing our guest, so we’re going to welcome everybody into the studio now.
How is everyone tonight?
TODD MATTHEWS (MISSING PIECES HOST): I’m great.
Eric: Great Todd.
JILL BENNETT (GUEST): Great.
Eric: I’m going to let you take it away.
Todd: Tonight we have Jill Bennett. Jill has been into a little bit of everything in the missing persons’ category. One of her most favorite cases, I think, is the Carrie Culberson case, and we’ll probably talk about that. I would like to hear a little bit about Jill though. She’s been a friend for a long time. A little more Southern than I am, I think. She’s in Georgia. So, uh, just tell us what you do Jill.
Jill: Todd, I have been working with missing people since, uh, 2000, uh let’s see, ok, its 2006, so it’s been 2002, I started working with the Carrie Culberson case. Her case was my first, and since her case I’ve started working with others. We developed a small group called the Angel Garden of Hope and it works not only with missing people but missing and murdered people. We develop web sites for families who are unable to make a web site, and we do vigils and things like that. We are not limited to web sites. We travel out and go to searches, and just … We’re the jack of all trades, kinda.
Todd: So actual ground searches for missing persons.
Jill: Yeah, ground searches, vigils, web sites. Just a little bit of everything.
Jill: It started with Court TV, which is a national station that comes on. It’s a cable station. Most of you probably are familiar with it. It came on and I saw this story. I was, I had seen the story and I got on the web site and I was looking around. There was minimal information about her case. I wanted to do something to assist the family because I just felt really bad about what had happened to her. Her mother was so distraught about, you know, her daughter being missing.
The only thing I knew how to do was to develop a small web site. So I did that. And from there, I kind of developed a friendship with her mother, and from there it grew and it grew. And kinda from there, I decided it wasn’t just about one missing person, but many others and that’s where the Angel Garden of Hope kind of evolved.
Todd: And now nationally we have over 108,000 missing persons listed with the FBI NCIC. And there’s quite a few more than that. Keep stressing the fact that we need to get as many of these listed with the FBI NCIC as possible. There’s many more than that. I would like to hear a little bit more about Carrie Culberson, and, I know you’ve formed a great friendship with her mother. Could you tell us a little bit about the timeline of the case?
Jill: Carrie was dating a guy that was it was a domestic violence type thing. It was … She disappeared on August 28, 1996.
Todd: In what state?
Jill: That was Blanchester, Ohio. That’s a little bit its like 35 miles north of Cincinnati, OH. Like I said, she was in it was a volatile relationship with her boyfriend when she disappeared. Basically what happened was is they were able to get a conviction. Carrie’s body has never been recovered. It’s kind of controversial because of the fact there was a conviction without the body.
A lot of people disagree with that because they feel like there’s no body, there’s no crime. Her case has set the tone for many other prosecutors throughout the United States to go forward with a trial or, you know, to press charges against people that they believe are responsible because there is a lot of circumstantial evidence without a body. A lot of juries, you know, grand juries will not indict people because they just feel like there’s not enough evidence. A lot of people are using her case, you know, to, you know to set the tone to do this.
Todd: She’s been an inspiration.
Jill: Yeah, and so, it’s been a really long time. It’s been ten years. But her case was kind of high profile. It wasn’t, I don’t want to say it was as high profile as the Lacey Peterson case, but it was very high profile back in that time, and, um, a lot of people still remember it and they use it, and I try to keep it out there. The reason for her web site is to show other families that yes you can get a conviction without a body, and it is important for this to be there for other families. I want it to be a tool. Not just to show about her case, but to show others that this is available and yes you can do this.
Todd: Now circumstantial evidence, you don’t have to point out anything in this particular case that you don’t feel is necessary, but what type of circumstantial evidence? If you don’t have a body, now how are you going to actually convict somebody of this crime?
Jill: Well one of the things with Vincent Doan, this is the boyfriend that is serving life without parole, is that we had the evidence leading up to her disappearance. The attacks, you know that she was receiving from him in the days leading up to her disappearance. He was showing up the night of her disappearance. He showed up at the sister-in-law’s house covered in blood. You know, he told people after he was arrested that I thought of a hundred different ways to kill her before I actually did it. His alibi did not check out. One of the other things, you’d have to get more into the case, is that he supposedly had gone into work. Now this is very circumstantial, but it leads into the fact that, you know, obviously some things were not adding up. He claims that he went into work the next morning after her disappearance. He went into work at 7AM. He clocks out of work at 7:30, thirty minutes later. He calls her at 11:30 that morning looking for her claiming he is on his lunch break. The time records show that he was not at work at all that day, plus the phone records show he was placing the calls from his mother’s house. See these are circumstantial things. They could have said, well, he went home from work sick. But, you see what I’m saying these are the things that the jury saw. You know, the sister-in-law said he showed up at his, at their house. You know, she could have, people are saying, well she could have lied, you know. She was angry at him. But, these are, here again, this is circumstantial evidence. Plus the attacks, the police records, the history of abuse, things like that.
Todd: Now, mishandling the case. Now I know that the village of Blanchester, now, they were actually involved in a … considered to have mishandled the case.
Jill: Yes they were. There was, August the 26th, I’m sorry, August the 28th, 1996 Carrie Culberson disappeared. Approximately, I believe it was September the 2nd there was some cadaver dogs that were taken out to the property of the boyfriend’s parents. They own a junkyard. The dogs zeroed in on a junkyard pond. They have a pond that is located on their property. And the dog alerted, actually jumped into the pond that is located there. And it indicated that there were human remains in the pond. The police chief that was handling jurisdiction of that area, he called the search off. He told all the policemen that were there that, he said, you guys, you need to go home. Everything’s fine. And they’re like, well, do we need to post a guard here? He said, No you’re done for the night. We’ll handle this in the morning. And they said, well, ok, well they left. The next morning when they came back to drain the pond there were footprints coming in, footprints coming out, something had clearly been removed.
Todd: So nobody watched the pond.
Jill: Nothing had been guarded that night, no. So that led to later on in 2001 a lawsuit against the village of Blanchester that said that Carrie Culberson’s retrievable remains had been removed from the pond. And that night, we believe, and the jury found that in the civil suit, that they denied the family of her remains and, you know, she’s still missing. And, that was due to mishandling and that’s just unacceptable, totally unacceptable.
Todd: It’s amazing. It’s been an amazing case. I know there have been several candle light vigils for this case. You’ve done a lot of things to keep this case in the public eye, and other cases. I see a lot of evidence where you’ve worked on a lot of these things, a lot of articles, there’s A&E, so many articles. Can you … now there was a monument, some kind of statue, could you tell me a little bit about that statue with Carrie?
Jill: Now, I could never take credit for the statue and any of the lawsuits, or anything. Her mother is all behind that. Now, her mother is part of the lawsuit with the village of Blanchester. The statue was to be put in place for all victims of domestic violence, and the statue was to be, you know, in remembrance of Carrie Culberson and the fact that they must continue to search until her body is located and brought home. And what a lot of people don’t realize is that this case is not over. A lot of people are like you need to get on with this. You got the conviction what more do you need? Well, it can never be over until Carrie is located and given a proper Christian burial. Yes, we know she is deceased, but she needs to be found. Because we know that she’s out there somewhere. And the statue is a symbol of Carrie and all of the other women and men for that matter, because there is a man that died in that area who was working to try to stop a call for domestic violence, and he was murdered in the process. And that’s what the statue symbolizes and it stands at the Blanchester Police Department. And her mother was the reason the statue is there, and it was part of that lawsuit.
Todd: Wow, so that’s sort of what she got out of the deal then.
Todd: Now, what, tell me about the screensaver on your computer. What kind of collage is that?
Jill: My screensaver is a collage of faces of missing and murdered people, and I kind of made that because basically whenever I get online, every day, I’m doing something that pertains to somebody that is missing or murdered, because that is my main focus, everyday. And I think that that’s just a symbolization and it needs to be there because these faces are part, are just a part of my everyday life. These people are part of me, and that’s what that picture is.
Todd: Now, I get this same question I’m about to ask you, is the dreaded question. Why? Why do you do this?
Jill: Why do I do it? You know, I don’t know. It all started with Carrie back in 2002. Well, it started with her, like I said, and you just start and you feel obligated and you can’t stop, because you can’t just sit down and say Ok, well that’s it, I’m stopping with this one case. Because there is a family out there that is the same today as it was ten years ago. Whereas, your life is normal today and you can go on about your business. Their life does not change. They’re still sitting there waiting for answers. That was my child ten years ago, and I’m still sitting here and I’m still waiting for answers, and I’m not gonna get over this. And I probably won’t get over it after I locate them, so how can I just forget about it and move on.
Todd: Life just passes the family by. They’re just … they’re just sort of stagnant in this. It’s just amazing though that you know, you put a lot of time into this. I know every, you’re on the computer at all hours of the night. I get emails from you …
Jill: Same as you are…
Todd: We exchange a lot of emails. Eric actually, we’ve talked about this before, he was actually a runaway. And I think he’s become enlightened to some of the controversy some of the stuff creates. Now, do you got any questions, Eric, so far?
Eric: Yeah, I’ve got two very important questions. The first one being, you know, the police arrived there to empty out the pond. From watching CSI and a lot of the crime dramas on television now, there was no forensic evidence or was there any science available at that time to where they could have maybe developed something from out of a pond? You know, to have linked the fact that there was a body in the pond?
Jill: Well, the thing that keeps is so baffling about this case is that we learned, I say we, the Culberson family, I didn’t come into this until six years into it. The Culberson family learned that the Baker family, this is the ones that, you know, were held liable for the Culberson disappearance and murder, were warned by the police department that they were coming to uh; they were coming to search the property. They were coming to do whatever they were going to do, the investigation. So any evidence that was pertinent to locating Carrie was destroyed. The police were found to be in with, they were assisting the family in destroying evidence. The police chief was actually indicted on charges for his role in the cover up. Does that make sense?
Eric: Yes it does. Yes it does.
Jill: His charges were later dropped. I believe he pled, he pled no contest. He was fired. And what is more disturbing to me, is that, you know, he was allowed to walk away from it. And I believe now he teaches criminal justice somewhere else, but that’s another story.
Eric: Uh, huh
Jill: Um, You know, but they destroyed the evidence. And that is what is, you know, what brought the lawsuit on. Is because, you’re not, you cannot do this. Somebody has to be held accountable for this. This is somebody’s life that was taken away. This is a family that has been denied saying goodbye to their loved one, you know.
Eric: Yes, uh huh
Jill: It was all for … It’s just horrible, completely horrible and unacceptable.
Eric: Okay. Well, my second question kind of deals with you. Is there a bit of obsession, you know, that goes into doing the type of work that you’re doing? And if so, where is the balance in your life? How do you, how do you end a day and say okay, tonight I have to get a good night’s sleep.
Jill: Oh, definitely there is a lot of obsession and a lot of people will call you eccentric. I’m sure Todd has been called that. He says that is a good word now. There’s days that you spend obviously, too many hours on it. And you have to find a happy medium because you’re spending, like I said, too much time on it and there’s other things that you have to worry about, because we have, you know, personal things, we have a family life, we have friends, and you know, other obligations.
Todd: Eccentric has become a compliment.
Jill: Yeah, it is.
Todd: Compared to some of the things that I have heard in the past, it truly has, a nice way to sum it up.
Jill: You do become obsessed with it. You can’t forget about it. There are days where you get to the point where you’re tired, you’re just physically tired and you want a resolution. And there, it doesn’t come to you quick enough, and you know obviously there’s still no resolution. Well there’s a half resolution, but it’s still not a full resolution.
Todd: Because they’re sure she’s dead. Vince Doan’s brother, Tracey Baker was actually quoted as saying they have not even found her first grave.
Jill: I know. And you know trying to even locate that to try to piece it together. You’re racking your brain. You’re trying to think, you’re thinking, thinking, thinking. And, you know, you know that there’s people that know. They have this knowledge. And, trying to get into, you know, try to think it through, trying to get into the criminal mind to think like that, you just, it will, it eats away at you, it does. But you have to try to balance it, and yes you do become obsessed.
Eric: Okay. Let me ask you this. What is the police department doing now? I’m sure that there has been a change of the vanguard there. What are they doing now?
Jill: As far as I know, they are still actively working on the case. They do not share a lot of the details with, um, what they do basically is they take information, but they do not give it back.
Jill: Now, obviously they would share more with her mother than they would with me because I am not a family member. I know that I do give them information, or I give it to her mother and she takes it to them, or whatever. If we get anything that is of any importance it is sent in. It’s an active case. It will never be closed until she’s located. But, as far as it ever being closed it can’t be closed. It’s part of the lawsuit. It can’t be closed until her body is recovered.
Todd: So all this information goes into this uh, it seems like a black hole.
Jill: It is a black hole. It is a black hole. And what makes it so disgusting is that it could be closed probably within five minutes if somebody would just go to the pay phone and call in that one piece of information. And I wanted to add this, is that you know the excavation that we had back in 2004 was, it was just enough, just enough to just set off two weeks we could, I believe that the person that called in that tip had the knowledge to give us everything but they didn’t want to do it.
Todd: There was actually an excavation because of a tip that was called in.
Jill: You remember the, there was an excavation, um, let me back up a little bit. When Carrie’s statue, the statue that stands in place at the Blanchester Police Department was to be unveiled on Victims’ Rights week, it was April 2004. The day of the unveiling of the statue, right before her mother and family were to be there for the ceremony, her mother was given a phone call by someone, and she’s like, there is, they’re having, they’re digging up a barn. There’s a pole barn. They’re digging up the concrete floor. They’re searching for Carrie’s body. They believe she is underneath this barn. So they cancelled the ceremony, and they were out at this barn for two weeks. The FBI was out there. There was like three counties out there, I believe; could be wrong, maybe two counties. Anyway, they were out there for two weeks. This search yielded a t-shirt, her sock and several garbage bags that we believe were connected to the night of her disappearance. We know, but the forensics have come back to say, according to the reports, now I could be wrong here. If I’m wrong here, I’m sorry. That the t-shirt was not hers. But it was visually identified as being Carrie’s. It was found at fifteen feet beneath this barn. The barn was found to be an acquaintance of Carrie’s boyfriend who is now serving life without parole. The informant that called in the tip was someone that is communicating with Vincent Doan, and he is the guy that’s in prison. So we know that whoever called in the tip obviously had some information, but we have no understanding of why these items were found underneath the barn. I mean, it’s just crazy. I mean, she, there was no indication, nothing of Carrie being there, just these items. So we know they knew something.
Todd: So you think this possibly could have been the first grave?
Jill: I don’t know. I don’t know.
Todd: Or just a place to dump the evidence; just some of the things that she had with her at the time, a good way to get rid of it, under the concrete fifteen feet below the barn.
Jill: Well the t-shirt was not the t-shirt she was wearing the night she disappeared. So, it just adds to the mystery of her disappearance. This is one very complex disappearance case.
Todd: It’s not the average case, that’s for sure. I’ve watched it. I see that you got into this case, you were bored.
Jill: I was bored at the time, but I’m not anymore.
Todd: You’re not bored anymore, I’m sure of that. I’m sure of that.
Eric: Jill, I do have another question.
Eric: If there is information to be shared, what number would a person call?
Jill: They would need to contact the Brown County Sheriff’s Department and that number is listed on Carrie Culberson’s website. They are the people that are basically handling the investigation at this point. And that number can be obtained by going to www.findcarrieculberson.com .
Eric: Okay. Can you spell Culberson please?
Eric: OK. OK.
Todd: You’re not bored anymore.
Jill: No, I’m definitely not bored. There is never a dull moment, never.
Todd: So, have you ever thought about giving this up?
Jill: No, definitely not. In fact, I would like to do it full time now.
Todd: How could you possibly work that into your life?
Jill: Um, it would have to be, it would have to be on a, like I said, a full time, working with a police department or, you know, something like that. Or, you know, to be on a paid basis, because obviously we all have, you know, things that we have to do, bills we have to pay and things like that. Like with the legal system, police department. And a lot of people ask me, they’re like, why are you doing what you’re currently doing? You need to be working with the police, you need to be… And I’m like, I know, I know, I know. I just, I just haven’t made that transition yet.
Eric: Well, Jill, are there any attorneys that are working on this case?
Jill: You know, I believe that Debra Culberson still has the one attorney that is working, that was her civil attorney that handled the civil suit. I cannot remember that name right off the top of my … I can’t think of the name right off.
Jill: Other than that, I just don’t know. And of course the defendant probably has his court appointed attorney, but I try not to, I just don’t keep up with him as much as I should, I’m sorry.
Eric: Right, I understand.
Todd: Now you, you’ve actually, you just picked up the phone and called Debra Culberson.
Jill: Actually what I did with Carrie’s site is whenever you’re dealing with a victim’s family you don’t want to intrude on them. You want to be very discreet and you want to be helpful with them. So what I did, I believe what we did with that was I sent her a letter and I said this is what I have created. I want to show this to you. If you want it, you can have it. If you, here’s the password to it, or whatever … If you would like to communicate with us you can email me here, you know if you would like to. And a couple weeks later she emailed me and we corresponded and that’s how we started communicating. But as far as me calling her no I did not.
Todd: But you’re like extended family now.
Jill: Yes, we just, we communicate you know like that, but now as far as speaking every day, we do not. Because you know she lives there, she has her life and I have mine. But we speak occasionally, yes.
Todd: Now there is not always a positive attachment to a case.
Jill: No sir, there is not.
Todd: Now we have the John Mark Carr/Jon Benet Ramsey case. For some reason he was fixated on this case and he made some false claims. I know you’ve probably encountered this type of thing before. You might not want to get into specifics with it, but has that been discouraging or scary. Could you tell us a little bit of whatever you feel comfortable saying?
Jill: Whenever you have a case, whenever, with any case when a family has to go on television, you’re trying to find answers for your loved one, whether they’re missing or they’ve been murdered. You go on national TV. There’s a lot of positive aspects of it, but then it can be negative as well. There are people that are watching television who will reach out to you and they have positive things that they want to offer you. But then it can also turn negative. John Mark Carr is a good example. They will start contacting you. People can find your information over the internet, they can find it, I don’t know, other ways. They can start with emails, they can begin calling your house, they can begin mailing packages to your house; they can even show up at your house. And it can become scary and it can get out of control at times. And sometimes law enforcement can be helpful with this and sometimes not, unfortunately.
Todd: Wow, I know it can be scary. Is that … Now to your family, how do they feel? Do they feel like, we wish you had not got into something like this because it’s actually created a potential situation, and what have you done to prepare for this?
Jill: Well, it causes a very big distraction obviously because you feel like you’ve been exploited. The one thing I want to tell anybody that’s listening that may have an encounter like this is that if you start to suspect someone is going… you’re becoming a target. The first thing you should never do, is do not communicate back with this individual. Go to the police immediately and file a report. They may or may not understand how to handle it. If it’s coming from your area, obviously it’s gonna be easier to handle. If it’s over another state or if it’s over the internet, there is going to be problems because you have a jurisdictional problem. Do not be afraid to ask for help. There’s other places that you can turn to; there’s others that have witnessed this.
Todd: So, sometimes you may actually have a problem communicating this to law enforcement and getting effective help. But that’s something you can probably expect. That’s not unusual to have a little bit of difficulty getting some help in this. You have to be persistent.
Jill: Right, because they are not familiar with it. They are familiar with the common things. And a lot of times the one thing is that your first reaction is gonna be to fire back at somebody and to tell them ‘Hey, back off!’ But usually when that happens, you’re just gonna make the situation worse.
Todd: Have you ever really felt truly in danger?
Jill: Oh definitely, definitely. And you know, it’s a shame that somebody that has a good intention has to constantly feel exploited and feel in fear, you know, and have to explain my intentions because of somebody that you know really has ill will towards others. You know, it’s really bad but it happens and it can happen to others. It goes along with being … When you put yourself in the media you never know who is going to see you and who is going to decide to take this, like, basically in whole, when you decide to take a stand you never know who is going to take a shot at you, is basically what it is …
Todd: I won’t ask you what they are, but have you taken steps to protect your family?
Jill: What, what steps have I taken?
Todd: I won’t ask you what they are. You might not want to reveal your secrets, but have you taken steps to protect your family?
Jill: We definitely have. We know what our rights are and we work, we definitely work within the confines of the legal system because working with the legal system I know what I can and I can’t do. And I know what assistance is available to others who are witnessing this type of harassment and what they can do if they’re becoming an object of harassment.
Todd: So, if anybody has a tip in the Carrie Culberson case you can call the Brown County Police Department at 937-378-4555.
Jill: That’s correct.
Todd: 937-378-4555 and we really hope that somebody will come forward because I know there are people that are aware of the circumstances in this case and somebody can help.
Eric: Jill …
Todd: And they can remain anonymous? Has that been an option in this case?
Jill: That’s always been an option. We have never wanted anything except just to bring her home, you know we have … That’s it. We don’t want to be ugly. We don’t want to be … we don’t want anything except just to bring her home, that’s it. Just to bring her home and give her a proper Christian burial that she deserves. And we’re gonna continue to do that and I know that people are tired of seeing Find Carrie on every web site. I know that I’m on every web site, every blog, every… everywhere. And it’s gonna continue to be there until that happens and probably afterwards because it’s important that it’s seen.
Todd: You have fully saturated the internet, I do know that.
Jill: I do saturate it, and you know, that’s what it takes, I guess.
Todd: I’ve run into you several times a night when I’m on the internet looking for other things. I run into Jill quite a … I feel like Jill is somebody that I’ve met personally. I’ve never met her face to face. I hope to very soon. But, you know, you get a kinship with people that you meet and we’re working on some of the same things. And she’s become a very close friend and somebody I can confide in. She understands, you know, when there’s something going on in my life. She is one of the few other eccentric people that have encountered some of the same things.
Jill: Yeah, I feel the same way about you, and The Lost and the Found, Project EDAN and all those. It’s just, we’re all the same and if we could get more people to be like us and to understand then I think we could find more resolution. Not just for Carrie Culberson, but for all of these missing people.
Todd: Well there’s a growing community, because you know, you can avoid some of these negative people that come in, because everybody in this community begins to know each other. And, you know, when a bad egg comes in we all talk to each other about this person and you know, we really fairly quickly become aware when somebody starts showing some signs of insanity. I’ll get an email from several people, and I’ve sent out emails that this person is potentially dangerous. Please take care in dealing with this person. We’ve done that many times. I know you’ve done that. But, you’ve got a few other cases, I want to see if Eric has some more questions for you about this case in particular, but I want to see if you want to touch on a few more. What have you got Eric?
Eric: Ah, okay. I do have one more question. Has anybody from the defendant’s family or friends, you know, made any effort at all to help bring resolution to the Culberson family?
Jill: Um, are you asking from Carrie’s family or the defendant’s family?
Eric: From the defendant’s family or friends.
Jill: No, unfortunately not. No. I can say truthfully no.
Eric: You mean ... Then they’ve all just …
Todd: It’s been mostly negative, I’ll say that.
Jill: Yes, just basically negative. I’m sorry to say that.
Eric: Wow. Wow. Nobody’s showed any type of interest at all in bringing, in helping with this, huh?
Jill: Not from that side. He has a fan base for his release, but that’s it.
Todd: Somehow they believe he’s not guilty.
Jill: Yeah, they believe in his innocence one hundred percent, and you know rightfully so. I mean, they have a right to believe in his innocence, but we have a right, you know, to find our missing.
Todd: An alternative theory? Do they have an alternative theory for what happened?
Jill: Yes, right.
Todd: Heather Teague
Jill: Heather Teague
Todd: You’ve worked on Heather Teague’s case, a Kentucky woman.
Todd: She was abducted in 1995, never seen again.
Todd: Now, you’ve actually kind of built a web site for her as well.
Jill: Yes. Heather Teague disappeared on August 26th, 1995. Her disappearance date is very similar to Carrie’s. She was abducted in broad daylight. She was lying out in the sun and a bearded gentleman appeared from the woods and jerked her up from her chair where she was lying out in the sun and drug her into the woods. She has never been seen again. It is now an active FBI missing person case. Very, very odd case that someone would be abducted in broad daylight.
Todd: You seem attracted to these cases that are difficult.
Todd: So we think that both of these ladies are probably among the over 6000 unidentified bodies … and they’re probably not among that 6000 because they probably have not even been recovered as a Jane Doe.
Jill: With Heather Teague there is a possibility that she could possibly still be alive. Whereas with Carrie Culberson, we know her fate is that she is deceased. With Heather Teague, we have absolutely no clue. She could be alive. She could be deceased. We just don’t know. There is no clue. When I say without a trace, without a trace fits it completely. We had new clues that surfaced in, let’s see, I believe it was ‘04 that there could possibly be a new suspect involved. So far, it’s kinda hanging in the balance. Christopher Below, I don’t know if you remember him Todd, he is the new guy that was, he was arrested, or he’s serving time now in Ohio for Kathern Fetzer, who is almost an identical twin to Heather Teague. He targeted women that were almost the same in description, all within the same radius of where Heather was taken. He fits the suspect’s description of who took Heather Teague the day she disappeared. So far, they can’t, he won’t talk about the case. He won’t discuss it. And it’s kinda at a standstill now.
Todd: Do you know if both families in these two particular cases have their DNA entered into the DNA database.
Jill: Yes they do.
Todd: Okay now. How difficult is that?
Jill: How difficult is it for the DNA?
Todd: For the family to actually make this happen.
Jill: With Heather Teague I believe that all they had to do, because she was working with the KSP, that is Kentucky State Police, it was a matter of just a swab, of the saliva swab, and that was it.
Todd: And that’s from the family member of the missing?
Todd: To possibly match up with potentially unidentified remains that are found. And Kentucky is in the forefront in this DNA database. I think all of their unidentified bodies now have actually had their DNA entered in to the FBI’s DNA database. They are really proactive in this. The state Medical Examiner is Dr. Emily Craig. She’s a big promoter of this. She’s a good friend of mine and I know she’s worked on this for a number of years. It’s very important. You need to ask for this. You might be put off or might have to wait. Some law enforcement might not be aware of it yet, especially in smaller towns that do not have a lot of missing or unidentified cases. You’re probably going to have to push for that and to push for the case to be entered in to the FBI NCIC, as just a case file, not even with the DNA.
Jill: I think that every state, we need a national the DNA mandate. And that is something that Carrie Culberson’s mother has been pushing for.
Todd: I think its coming, I really do. So many people are pushing for that.
Jill: It’s just not acceptable for human remains that are located to be sitting on a shelf somewhere; to be unidentified. And that’s somebody’s loved one that they’re sitting there and they’re still waiting and they’ve been located, they’re just not identified. That’s just terrible.
Todd: And in some areas they’re cremated within a year or so. A DNA sample is taken from the unidentified body, but you know, the bodies, to save space, especially in California, a lot of times they’re not even buried or put on a shelf. They’re actually cremated and the family would end up getting basically ashes back.
Jill: I was not aware that happened. That’s terrible.
Todd: Yes. It does happen. And especially in a Southern family, I think it might be difficult to get, you know having ashes given to you instead of a body. Because part of the grieving process sometimes it’s actually having the casket and burying the body.
Todd: To actually believe that it’s happening. I think that’s where we are with Carrie Culberson. They know that she’s dead, but you can’t properly grieve until the Christian burial comes.
Jill: That’s true. And I know that that seems so small for a lot of people, but it means a lot to the people that have lost the loved one. You need a grave to go to, to be able to stand there and know that there is your loved one. This is where you go to grieve and to visit with that person that you used to, you know, love and you know, know in a …
Todd: It’s so important. Anybody that has a close family member that has passed away, you know, I have a brother and sister that died, you know, not through a murder, but it was definitely an early tragedy in our lives. But there is nothing like, you know, being there and that sense of closeness and closure because you have a place to go. And I think that is just human nature.
Jill: It definitely is.
Todd: If Carrie’s body is recovered and they get to bury her, you’re gonna be there.
Jill: I definitely will. And there a lot of days that I wonder, you know, are we gonna be able to locate her at all? Are we going to find her body? What would I be, will I be okay with that if we just find out, you know, what happened … I know what happened, will I be okay if we just have a piece of the body, or just if they tell us, okay, you’re never gonna find her, you know the ashes were here. If I just had something, if her mother, if I could just know that her mother had something, I would be better. You know, because we need more than we’ve got now.
Todd: So you, but you’ve got the statue, the memorial, which is a shining light. You do have somebody in prison that is going to stay there in prison. But there is still that drastic need for closure so that this family can actually begin the healing process. And, uh, you know when you’re healing from something like this, you never really get fully healed, but at least you can begin. I think it’s just like an open wound.
Jill: Yeah, and I realize, and I realize this too that they have been given more than a lot of the other families will ever, ever be given. But here again, that one piece of the puzzle is still missing and it has to be located.
Todd: Well, as long as you keep struggling, as long as they keep struggling …
Jill: I can’t stop until she’s located.
Todd: Well that is an example for other people. So you’re knowing, you’re helping inspire so many other people that are not as resolved as this case to actually continue to look. You’re a huge inspiration. This case is a huge inspiration, it truly is. And you know, I admire you for keeping going. I know how hard that is. It’s definitely hard. You get up, what time do you, what do you do when you first get up in the morning? I know what you do. What’s the first thing you do?
Jill: I usually get up about 30 minutes earlier than what I should because I do work a full time job. And I will get up 30 minutes early because what I do every morning on my forum is I have a list of missing and murdered people and every morning on my forum, I recognize the people on their birthdates and/or their disappearance or murder dates. And I make sure that every day before I go to work they’re listed. Their picture is atop the forum. And we recognize them on the forum, like I said. And at the end of the day I try to post a rose for them. If you’re missing you will get a yellow one. If you’re deceased you will get a red one. And I know that sounds really cuckoo as I told one of the reporter’s previously, but to me, that let’s the families know, or at least it lets me know that I have remembered these people and that I have done a little something that day for somebody that is still out there, that is still missing or murdered and they need closure.
Todd: And they know somebody cares, at least somebody cares enough to take some action.
Jill: It makes me feel better.
Todd: How do you have time for your own life?
Jill: Oh, well see, you multi-task, do you know what that is Todd?
Todd: No, I’ve never done that. (Laughing)
Jill: Well, you set aside time and you do what you gotta do, and then you do your other things and these things are never far from, you know, your thoughts, and you just weave it into your normal day. Because this is part of your life and it just all works together.
Todd: You find your life centers around, you know, and you’re not crazy, you might be eccentric, but you have found a way to weave this into your life and it becomes part of your day to day life. And I’ve done the same thing. Get up very early, check the messages; pass along a message if you can. And I know you work with various non-profit organizations passing on data. I know you spend a lot of time… Do you have a, I think Carrie has a mailing list, a group, is there some way that people can get updates about this case through the website, or do you have just like a regular update?
Jill: Um, I have an email list. I have an email list, and like, if I have a message that I need to send out, like, um, like I need to alert you about a TV show that is coming on, or something like that, I’ll email everybody and that’s how I get the message out. Or I’ll post it on the message boards. The ones that you see me on everywhere. And, um, that’s how I communicate. You know, we just let each other know about what is going on, and um, that’s how you get the word out. We all communicate with each other and that’s why the internet is a great tool.
Todd: Well, you’re quite the publicist.
Jill: You are too!
Todd: I know if I tell you something and say hey can you pass this along to some of your friends, oh, it happens. Let me tell you, Jill is very effective at passing a message along. I think you probably have a few people listening tonight.
Jill: I certainly hope so. I hope so. I hope that, you know, and this show is great. I didn’t know that it came on every Tuesday night. I’m certainly going to be listening to it.
Todd: We’re still new. And we’re trying to be … you know, I want you to be comfortable; I want the guest to be comfortable and just feel like we’re having a telephone call like you and I’ve had so many times. We’ve had these phone calls, and I think I’ve got so much out of the phone calls. I’ve had so many ideas that have come as a result of the phone call. I’ve taken notes every time we’ve talked. And you know, we get ideas when we talk, instead of just going over this in our head, when you’re actually able to relate to somebody, and I hope we’re going to have you back again, because you’ve got so many cases. Do you know how many? How many, how many, I know you’re working on dozens and dozens, but how many web sites have you built personally?
Jill: I think now I have built over 35 web sites. Now that’s not just missing, we do missing and murdered, so it’s a combination now of about 35 web sites that I have.
Jill: No a lot of them are on a free server. Now they’re, you know, it’s on a free server so its not, you know, the biggest web site, but it’s better than not having anything.
Todd: Hey, it’s good, I mean ad supported. These things are good. I think Eric had a question.
Eric: Yes, if a person wanted, such as myself who wanted to become, or get in contact with you, or become a part of your mailing list, how would they do that?
Jill: Okay, what you could do, is I have a web site for our group that was inspired because of Carrie, and you can go to http://www.angelgardenofhope.com and you can get our email address off that and you can see all of the web sites that we have created. I try to keep that very up to date.
Jill: It shows the vigils and things that we have assisted. And we have information about, if you are a family and you are trying to get help with the media to get publicity for your case. We have a media contact list; How to communicate with the media. Let’s see what else we have …
Todd: It becomes an art, communicating with the media.
Jill: Yes, it does. I try to give you tips on how to do vigils if it’s your first time because they’re, you know, a lot of people have no clue about how to do that. It’s very simple. Just take a look at the web site and look us up.
Todd: Tell me what happens, what happens at a vigil.
Jill: It’s very simple. All you need to do is, a lot of people do a balloon release. I like to do, if the person is missing, we tag the balloons with a mini flier that has the person’s face, a number to call if you’ve seen them. I usually will laminate them with a little you know, the self lamination paper, because once the tag goes up into the sky, it’s laminated. Once it falls to the ground, it will last a lot longer if it’s laminated. Somebody could find it. If they have information they can call the police.
Todd: So this has more than one reason for doing this type of thing. It’s actually to memorialize, commemorate …
Jill: And to circulate information. And of course you know the candles are lit, a prayer for the missing or murdered. If it’s an unsolved murder we tag the balloons as well. It’s important to get the information across to the community and to remember these people because here again, the family still remembers and they’re still hurting and they don’t forget.
Todd: Do you have a lot of family members that participate?
Jill: A lot of them, yes.
Todd: How do they feel, during this? How, what have you noticed? Does it seem like it’s a step towards closure for these people?
Jill: I have had a lot of people that we have done a vigil for them. Their loved one has been missing. We have come on and started working with the case, like two years into a missing person case, and I’ve had them say, well we were just ready to give up. And this has given us new hope. This has given us more motivation, more hope, more fuel to move forward, more ideas, more, you know, everything.
Todd: It helps give them something to do. Because a lot of times if you have an empty hand, it’s really difficult. And if you stay busy, you know, it really helps, especially if you’re helping other people at the same time. I encourage anybody that’s got a missing family member. Take the time to use what you learned to help others as well. It will be a blessing back to you, I guarantee you. You’re gonna find friends like you’ve never had before. People that share.
Jill: I want to teach other people what we’re doing. And I want to teach you how to do it, your friends how to do it, so other people can take it and teach others. And in case you know somebody, then they can learn from us and take that information and help another family, so we can reach out to other people. Does that make sense?
Todd: Yes. Public awareness.
Todd: People really need to know about this type of thing. So many people gone and so many people hurting, you know their entire families. You know, you take a person out of the community. Look at all the people that know that person.
Jill: Yes. Or maybe have forgotten. They need to be taken back to that; “Oh yes, I remember him. He is still missing. Oh, I have forgotten.”
Todd: And the parents and the children, you know, of these missing persons. It’s just uh it’s just an unimaginable pain.
Jill: It surely is.
Todd: Eric, have you got anything?
Eric: You know, I would like to say something to Jill. I will be in further contact with her because I wanted to let her know that, you know, WCANradio.com is definitely a vehicle that would love to, you know, participate in helping you to add, or give resolution and closure to some family member that might be out there, you know, still looking for a missed or murdered loved one.
Jill: Sure. Anything that we can do to help with anybody’s case, to help circulate information, that’s what we’re here to do. We’re not any … We’re just a resource, that any way that we can help bring information to the larger organizations that can do things that we’re unable to do, that’s what our purpose is. And so, feel free to contact us at any time, okay?
Eric: Oh, I surely will. I surely will.
Todd: And come back again. Many times, I have a feeling. The web site again for Angel Garden of Hope.
Todd: Do you got anything you want to say to anybody out there?
Jill: Just remember that if you have somebody that is missing or murdered that to please not give up. That at some point in time the information will reveal itself. That it may not be today, but it could possibly be tomorrow. To keep the faith and don’t give up.
Todd: Never give up.
Jill: True. And thank you for having me on tonight.
Todd: Eric, have you got any further questions for her before we lose her?
Eric: No further questions. I just want to thank her for having given of her time and herself, you know, not only towards this effort, but for actually coming on to WCAN radio.com. I want to thank you and you know, wish you a really good restful night.
Todd: Maybe she’ll sleep tonight.
Jill: Well, thank you all too.
Eric: Okay. Listen, I do want to say that the clock on the wall says that’s all. You know, it’s been fun Todd, and guess what we look forward to seeing you again on next Tuesday. We want to let our listening host, I mean our listening audience know that, guess what we’re gonna be here for the duration. You know, we’re glad to have this new program. So, we want to thank you for being on tonight Todd.
Todd: We’ve got some plans for the future.
Eric: Okay. Good night all.
Todd: Good night. Thank you.
Jill: Good Night
If you have any information on this case
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Angel Garden of Hope
P.O. Box 5403
P.O Box 5403
Gainsville, GA 30504
Official "Find Carrie Culberson" Website: