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For Carrie Always
Read Debra Culberson's Testimony In DC
« Thread started on: Jul 26th, 2006, 2:22pm »
Blanchester, Ohio 45107
June 21, 2006
Congressman Chabot, Ranking Member Nadler, and Committee Members,
I am asking for your help in getting information out to all who could be affected by a problem I have encountered.
My daughter, Carrie Culberson, was kidnapped and murdered by her ex-boyfriend, Vincent Doan, in August of 1996. He was convicted of her murder in July of 1997, even though we have not found her remains. His brother, Tracey Baker, was indicted on two charges of obstruction of justice and two charges of tampering with evidence, for which he was found guilty. He was also charged with gross abuse of a corpse and found not guilty because there was no body. He was sentenced to eight years in prison and was just recently released. His father, Lawrence Baker was indicted on the same charges but was found not guilty. Also indicted on three felony counts was the former Blanchester Chief of Police, Richard Payton. These charges were pled down to misdemeanor charges and he was found guilty on two charges of dereliction of duty. He was then given a year of back pay and 960 hours of sick pay which took him up to full retirement with full benefits which amounted to $86,000 for his roll in the disappearance of my daughter.
Eight years later, on April 30, 2004, at 2:00 pm my other daughter Christina and I were preparing for a memorial dedication (one of the non economic terms of a law suit against the Village of Blanchester) for Carrie scheduled at 4:00pm. I received a call from a reporter that law enforcement was a mile away from my home digging up the concrete floor of a barn searching for Carrie. The dedication was cancelled and we spent the next thirteen days (including Mother’s Day) on the road watching as three county sheriff’s depts., two county prosecutors, State Patrol, FBI, the coroner, a forensic anthropologist and seven different cadaver dogs worked diligently to locate the remains of Carrie. Tips claiming Carrie was dismembered, put into a wood chipper and concrete poured over her is what led authorities to this barn. Our search for Carrie’s remains continues.
Over the past nine and half years we have continued to get leads (most of which are rumors) on the whereabouts of Carrie remains. Various rumors circulated that she was dismembered and the pieces scattered in the Ohio River or along miles of the interstate. Others reported that a chain saw was used to dismember the body and the remains fed to the family BEAR kept at the junkyard. The bear was then killed, ground up and made into “Carrie burgers”. I have had attorneys call me and say that their client could give information of Carrie’s whereabouts if we would make a deal with them.
I have talked to law enforcement and asked, “What do you do when you find human remains?” To my utter shock and disbelief the answer has been, “We don’t know what to do with them, so they are put in a box and put on a shelf”. This is the result of having no nation-wide protocol for dealing with unidentified human remains. There is currently no mandate for law enforcement, coroners and medical examiners to test these remains. This leads to my concern. In March of 1997, we had a major flood on the Ohio River. If, as we have been led to believe, Carrie’s remains were thrown into the Ohio River piece by piece, in August of 1996, her remains could have washed on shore anywhere from Cincinnati to the Gulf of Mexico. I visualize my daughter’s remains in one of those dusty boxes marked “unknown” simply because there is no protocol.
If you get on the website of National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, you will see pages of unidentified remains. Monies are being spent on the “Innocent Project” which will collect DNA from all convicted felons. It could help solve crimes and prove innocence or guilt. This is great, but, because the dead don’t vote or pay taxes, there is no priority in identifying these remains. The unidentified dead have remained unidentified for a number of reasons, mainly it is the result of low priorities, lack of education in development of protocols used in the discovery of human remains and as every where funding. Investigation would probably determine that most of these remains are the victims of homicide. Experts estimate there are between 40,000 and 50,000 unidentified human remains in our country. Given today’s technology it is totally unacceptable for a civilized nation not to have a protocol and treat the remains of its citizens in a more appropriate way.
NCIC Unidentified Persons Database has been in existence since the mid-eighties. It had a total of 5,783 entries as of April 2005 This is just over 10 % of the estimated 40 to 50 thousand unidentified dead that has been reported nationally. Since April of 2005 nearly 98,000 entries are in the database, of which more than 25% are considered missing, abductions, or homicides. There currently there only six states that mandate testing of remains. Those states are California, Florida, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas. These states account for most of the entries.
I, along with so many others, have not been able to go through the natural grieving process after the loss of a loved one. This is essential to the healing process that would normally follow. Not knowing what happened to, or where our loved ones are, we are left to mourn and wonder for the rest of our lives.
I went to the Justice Department three years ago to ask for help in the efforts to require mandatory testing and the creation of a national repository for the missing and unidentified dead. I was told there was nothing they could do to help at that time because they were going to send out a questionnaire to the coroners and medical examiners. This was to take about eighteen months. But, as a result of that meeting, I was asked to attend meetings for the National Missing Persons Task Force sponsored by NIJ. I have met many experts (stakeholders) who are as passionate about this as I am. But, I have also found out that there are duplicate grants given to study the same issue. Many of the same experts serve on The National Center for Forensic Sciences-National registry for Missing Persons and Unidentified Dead, National Institute of Justice-Model legislation for Missing Persons and Unidentified Dead, and the International Homicide Investigator Association-Recommendations for Identifying Unidentified Persons. So, the same information is being disseminated to and by these groups. Essentially, this is duplication of services and monies spent.
I have been working with U.S. Congressman Steve Chabot for the last two and a half years. He has assured me that he would do what he could. He has kept in constant contact with me and continues to help move forward. We have made some progress but, the nation needs to know that this is a national problem. The unidentified dead didn’t receive any consideration until the need to identify the remains of those who lost their lives in the attack on David Koresh’s Branch Davidian Complex in Waco, Texas. David Koresh was identified through DNA. Then, in the attacks on the Murrah Federal Bldg. in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and the Twin Towers in New York on September 11th, and most recently Hurrican Katrina. DNA was used to identify many of those remains. DNA was used to identify the 90 year old remains of an unknown male child who died in the sinking of the Titanic. The mother of a soldier received information that it could possibly b her son’s remains in the “Tomb of the Unknown Soldier”. We all know how sacred this gravesite has become because we have watched our Presidents lay a wreath there for many years, but the mother needed to know if it was her son. Through DNA testing it was determined that it was indeed her son.
DNA may be the only way that I will be able to find my daughter. But unless there is mandatory testing of the unidentified dead on a national level and a national repository for those test results that is accessible to every state and all stakeholders, the unidentified dead will remain unidentified. The stakeholders include coroners, medical examiners, forensic pathologists, forensic anthropologists, forensic odontologists and law enforcement. We also need to educate the families of missing persons that they can go to a local FBI office or their law enforment agency to have a DNA mouth swab taken and the results entered into this national database as a family reference sample. Most of those who have missing loved ones don’t know what they can do or where to go for assistance.
DNA may not be the only answer, but once there are no physical descriptors such as eye color, hair color, tattoos, etc. remaining to identify the dead, DNA is the last resort.
We need to have mandated testing of any unidentified dead, a national repository for these test results for all states to be able to access. And we need to educate the law enforcement, all stakeholders and the public. We need to make the public aware of this national problem.
This is why I am asking for your help. I can put you in touch with people who can speak to you on a professional level. I am just a mother with only a high school education and know little about the politics but I have learned a lot in the last nine and a half years only because of the tragic death of my daughter. I have gone through five trials and have learned more about the judicial system than I ever wanted to know.
So, now I am learning the politics of what needs to be done and how to get it done. And you can’t get it done without the help of others. A phrase I like and try to live by is “None of us is as good as all of us.” by Ray A. Kroc.