Two women allegedly kidnapped another from Alabama, took her to a ledge in a national park and sent her hurtling down to her death.
Loretta Carr, a 45-year-old from Fort Payne, was arrested by a tactical team in DeKalb County Sunday, according to the sheriff there. A second suspect, Jessie Eden Kelly, was arrested in Pennsylvania.
They are charged in the murder of Mary Elizabeth Isbell, who also used the name Beth Wright, “by pushing her off of a cliff,” according to court documents.
Fort Payne is about 95 miles northeast of Birmingham, and home to the Little River Canyon National Preserve, where Isbell’s remains were discovered earlier this week.
Isbell hadn’t been seen by friends or family since late 2021, according to authorities. Her ex-husband reported her missing on Dec. 27, after she didn’t wish their teenage son a Merry Christmas.
Investigators searched her home in DeKalb County and her car and collected evidence but found no signs of Isbell.
Then on June 20, they got a tip that cracked the case.
“Investigators immediately checked the lead and determined it to be credible,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement Friday.
On Wednesday, a search team found human remains at Little River Canyon National Preserve, and on Friday confirmed they belonged to Isbell. She would have turned 39 the same day.
Police in Pennsylvania were holding Kelly, awaiting felony charges in Missouri. The second suspect now also has a detainer for the Alabama charges.
AL.com reported that Carr’s defense attorney filed documents claiming that prosecutors don’t have enough evidence to keep the suspect in custody.
But authorities appear confident that they have a case.
DeKalb County Sheriff Nick Welden thanked law enforcement in multiple states for their help cracking the cold case.
“Each individual played an important role in bringing Beth home and holding those responsible for this horrific crime accountable,” he said in a statement. “We would ask that you pray for Beth’s family and give them privacy as they navigate through this difficult time.”
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