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March 28, 2023
Katelyn Markham was just twenty-three years old when she vanished without a trace. She was last seen on August 14, 2011 at her townhouse on Dorshire Drive in Fairfield, Ohio.
When Katelyn neglected to show up for work at David's Bridal at the Tri-County Mall on August 14, 2011, a missing person's report was filed with police. At the time she went missing, Katelyn was a student at the Art Institute of Cincinnati and was close to graduating with a graphic arts degree. Her fiancé, John Carter, was the one to file the missing person report at 7:59pm on the day she went missing.
In a 911 phone call, John Carter told the dispatcher that he wanted to file a report of his missing fiancé, despite the fact that she had only been missing for a few hours. "I know you're not supposed to report a missing person before 24 hours, but my fiancée is missing, and I can't find her anywhere," he explained.
He went on to tell the dispatcher that he and Katelyn had been planning to move to Colorado in the near future, saying:
“We were planning on going in October, and then we pushed back the date to November. We could have pushed the date back a year and it would not have mattered. I didn’t want to make her do anything she didn’t want to do, and she did not feel like she was being forced into anything.”
He added that a festival was happening nearby and claimed that there were “a lot of questionable people there.”
The missing girl's family, along with volunteers, searched the local area, including Harbin Park, which was in proximity to Katelyn's home. Despite their best efforts, police, nor friends, family or volunteers found any trace of her. John Carter participated in the many searches for his missing fiancé, and made appearances on the local news, begging for her safe return.
She left behind her beloved pet dog, as well as her cars, car keys and all of her personal items, except for her cell phone. Investigators found no sign of foul play when searching Katelyn's residence and soon discovered that her cell phone had been powered off at 12:45am on August 14. Attempts to locate the device were unsuccessful when investigators determined the cell phone's GPS had been turned off.
Katelyn's skeletal remains were found two summers later in Cedar Grove, in the creek bed of a wooded area alongside a road on April 7, 2013. The discovery was made by a man out searching for scrap metal, as the area was known as a local dumping ground.
Andy Hicks told WCPO 9 that he was searching for metal along Big Cedar South Road, a few miles off Highway 52, when he found a human jaw bone near a small creek between two small trees. He picked up the jawbone and quickly realised that it didn’t come from an animal, but a human. He quickly made a call to police to report his discovery and when asked what made him think he it was human, he answered: "well it has all its teeth, and it looks just like mine." He admitted that he had developed issues with sleeping after the discovery.
Dental records were used to determine that the remains were that of missing 23-year-old Katelyn Markham.
The remains were located approximately thirty miles from the last place the victim had been seen, at her home in Fairfield, Ohio.
An autopsy was performed by Wanda Lee, a Franklin County Coroner who reported the cause of death as : undetermined and ruled the death a homicide.
Although there were suspects over the years, none were arrested in connection with Katelyn Markham’s death and her family were left without answers.
Last week, almost twelve years after Katelyn’s death, her fiancé, John Carter, 34, of Hamilton, has been arrested on suspicion of her murder. According to Butler County Prosecutor Mike Gmoser, Carter was booked into the Butler County Jail and charged with two counts of felony murder.
According to People Magazine, the indictment, which is unsealed, reads: “On or about August 13, 2011, through August 14, 2011, in Butler County, Ohio, John Allen Carter did purposefully cause the death of Katelyn Markham which constitutes the offense of MURDER.”
The victim's father, Dave Markham, expressed that he was not shocked by the arrest, and said statistically women are often murdered by their partners.
Detectives working the case said they had suspected Carter all along. J. Ryan Green, a private investigator who has been working the case for several years, said that Carter's timeline of events did not seem to match up, and they had suspected he had been lying about his involvement all along. Green claims that phone records prove that Carter was either lying or did not remember.
John Carter’s mother, who was also vocal in the media at the time Katelyn went missing back in 2011, has told media outlets that her son is “definitely not guilty.”
A friend of John Carter, a man named Jonathan Palmerton who was indicted on a felony perjury charge last month, has also been arrested, although his connection to the case has not been revealed by authorities. Reports state that Palerton was arrested on one count of perjury for allegedly lying to investigators.
Two search warrants were executed in the homes Palmerton and Carter lived circa 2011 before the arrests were made.