Search continues for missing pastor’s wife Marilane Carter; police call it 'strange' case

A family photo of Pastor Adam Carter | Screenshot/Facebook

Police in Overland Park, Kansas, released details in the case of missing 36-year-old Marilane Carter, the wife of Pastor Adam Carter of Leawood Baptist Church. She was last seen on Aug. 3 while en route to Alabama in her car to visit her sister and seek treatment for mental health issues.

At a press conference, lead detective Blake Larsen called it a “unique and strange case.” He ruled out “any criminal activity,” especially in the Overland Park area or the Kansas City metro, according to KSHB.

The police have been doing "everything possible" to find Carter. Along with other law enforcement agencies, many "good Samaritans" have stepped in to help with the search, Larsen noted.

Carter left her home in Overland Park on Aug. 1, to drive to Birmingham, Alabama, to visit her sister, who is soon due to have a baby, and seek mental health treatment. Carter bought a Southwest Airlines ticket to Birmingham, but after a nap, she decided to drive all the way, Larsen said, according to

“That helps give a view into her mindset,” the detective said.

According to her credit card and phone data, Carter traveled through Missouri and stopped at a McDonald's outlet. On Aug. 3, she checked in alone to the Quality Inn in West Plains, Missouri, early in the morning. She checked out of the hotel about three hours later, driving off alone.

The mother of three was last seen in Memphis. A woman said she helped Carter get gas. Afterwards, she was seen going into the bathroom, wearing a white shirt, black yoga pants and a backpack.

Her phone went dead somewhere in the area of the I-55 bridge coming into Memphis. The search operations have focused on the Mississippi River because it’s close to where her phone was last used. However, there’s no evidence to suggest she went into the water, Larsen said.

“What makes this one really strange is how everything just stopped at a certain time, and we haven’t had any sightings or heard from her since. A lot of people who go missing, we can continue to track ... This one is just strange how it just stopped.”

He added, “We are keeping our fingers crossed, and whatever God you pray to, I’m praying to God that we can find her alive and well.”

Last weekend, Pastor Carter pleaded social media users to “help us find my sweet wife.”

“Please help us find my sweet wife. If you see anything please contact law enforcement. #findmarilane,” Carter wrote on Twitter.

The pastor said he had “offered to take her to a hospital there in the Kansas City area, but she wanted to go somewhere to just get some help at a place that she felt that she could trust and was familiar with.” 

Facebook page has been created to help find Marilane Carter.

Speaking to KWCH earlier, her brother-in-law said she is a gracious person. “She loves people. She loves her family. She loves God,” Brady McLaughlin said.

Pastor Carter called her a "loving mother, loving wife" and said they had a "great relationship."

"I miss her terribly. I want her home. I want her home with our kids,” he said earlier.

Associate Pastor Jason Franklin told Baptist Press last week that only a few in the church knew about her mental health struggles. “Whenever things like this happen, there’s always this, ‘Could I have done something, did I miss some sign?’” Franklin said. “And obviously her mental struggles were not something that was widely known among the entire congregation. It was kept very close to the chest."

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