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Deathbed confession leads to bodies of mother and daughter killed 24 years ago

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  perrie-halpern  •  4 weeks ago  •  0 comments

By:   Rebecca Cohen

Deathbed confession leads to bodies of mother and daughter killed 24 years ago
A man on his deathbed confessed to killing a mother and daughter 24 years ago, leading to the recovery of their remains this week, officials announced Tuesday.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T


A man on his deathbed confessed to killing a mother and daughter 24 years ago, leading to the recovery of their remains this week, officials announced Tuesday.

Susan Carter and her 10-year-old daughter, Natasha "Alex" Carter, vanished in August 2000, FBI Supervisory Special Agent Tony Rausa said at a news conference Tuesday.

Their bodies were recovered in suspect Larry Webb's West Virginia backyard Monday, the day he died in custody.

Rick Lafferty, Alex Carter's father, said Tuesday that it was a "sad day but also a happy day," because he could finally "bring my baby home." He said that because the "case went cold so many times," he "almost lost hope several times."

"I can tell anyone that's in my position, just never give up. Never give up hope on finding your child," Lafferty said.

Eighteen months ago, officials obtained a search warrant for Webb's home in Beckley, West Virginia.

The mother and daughter had been living there when they disappeared. Susan Carter had been in a contentious custody battle with Lafferty at the time, according to an FBI flyer from then.

While executing the warrant, authorities found a bullet embedded in the wall of a bedroom "known to have been occupied by 10-year-old Alex Carter," Rausa said at the news conference.

The bullet, covered in blood, went to an FBI lab for DNA testing, and it was confirmed the blood on the bullet was that of Alex Carter, Rausa said.

A grand jury indicted Webb in October 2023 on charges of first-degree murder. Ben Hatfield, the Raleigh County prosecuting attorney, said the "evidence they possessed was so overwhelmingly in favor of Larry Webb being the individual" believed to have committed the crimes.

But the case was held up because of delayed court proceedings related to Webb's health, including medical clearance required incarcerate him.

In the first week of April, Hatfield said, he and other investigators went to Hilltop Nursing Home Center to speak with Webb, who confessed to the killings.

Rausa said Webb explained how he wrapped both bodies in bed linens and left them on his basement floor as he spent two days digging a shallow grave in his backyard. He buried the bodies together in the unmarked grave, where they remained until this week.

"It was a detailed, undeniable, unconflicted confession," Hatfield said, adding it "aligned with exactly the investigative efforts and the evidence collected."

Hatfield said Webb confessed to shooting Susan Carter after an argument about finances when he discovered some money was missing from the home.

Hatfield recalled Webb said that "at that moment, he knew he had ruined his life forever." Webb then said he believed he had to kill Alex Carter, too, to avoid detection in her mother's death, Hatfield said.

After the killings, Webb "cried himself to sleep that night" before he dug the grave, Hatfield said.

Webb also told investigators where they could find Susan and Alex Carter's remains.

With the help of a landscaper who lived in the neighborhood and his crew, officials uncovered the bodies Monday, on the third day of digging, Rausa said.

Based on the manner of the killings detailed by Webb and the conditions in which the bodies were found, Rausa said, they confirmed "with a high degree of certainty" that the two bodies were those of Susan and Alex Carter.

Rausa said Webb confessed because he "was on his deathbed, looking to come to Jesus at that point."

He was transferred from the Southern Regional Jail to Mount Olive Correctional Complex on Friday, Hatfield said.

On Monday, Webb was transferred again to Montgomery General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at around 10:30 a.m., hours before Susan and Alex Carter's remains were uncovered.

Hatfield called it "a bit of a poetic ending that not even I could write."


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