LEAWOOD, Kan. — The wife of a Baptist pastor in Kansas disappeared more than a week ago while traveling to Alabama to be present for the birth of her sister’s baby and to obtain help for mental health issues.
According to reports, Marilane Carter, 36, the wife of Leawood Baptist Church pastor Adam Carter, kept her struggles to herself.
“Whenever things like this happen, there’s always this, ‘Could I have done something? Did I miss some sign?’”Associate Pastor Jason Franklin told Baptist Press. “And obviously her mental struggles were not something that was widely known among the entire congregation. It was kept very close to the chest.”
Brother-in-law Brady McLaughlin told AL.com that Carter planned on obtaining help in Birmingham while visiting and believes she had contacted Grandview Medical Center or the University of Alabama to schedule care.
While not providing specifics, a statement from the Overland Park Police Department simply says that “Carter has made concerning statements to her family and has not been heard from since late Sunday, August 2.”
Surveillance footage shows her checking in to a Quality Inn in West Plains, Missouri at 3 a.m. on August 2 and then checking out again at 6 a.m. to get back on the road.
The last time her cell phone GPS was pinged was at 8:00 p.m. that same day in West Memphis, Arkansas near the Interstate 55 bridge. Local television station WMC-TV reports that Carter’s husband and mother, Marlene Mesler, kept in contact with her as she traveled, but were surprised that she had commented that she kept getting lost.
“She’s driven the route several times, so she knew the way,” Mesler stated.
Carter was speaking to her husband that evening when her phone cut out. She also called her mother, who said that Carter’s phone likewise cut out or the battery ran down while they were talking.
That is the last time they heard from her. No bank transactions have been made.
Carter’s husband soon traveled to the south to join the family in the search efforts. The two have three young children.
“[T]hey cry every night. They are asking for their mommy,” Mesler said. “Her husband loves her so much.”
The pastor is hoping that his wife will be found safe and that she is either in a medical facility obtaining treatment or trying to get to Birmingham.
“I just told our three kids to pray for mommy,” Adam Carter told KMBC. “She’s a loving mother, a loving wife. I miss her terribly. I want her home.”
A Facebook page called “Find Marilane” has been set up to provide updates on the search for Carter. It notes that as of Monday night, dozens of hospitals have been contacted through “durable power of attorney” to see if the pastor’s wife might be there.
The page also requests help from experienced boaters who can help search the Mississippi River with sonar. Local police and sheriff’s departments have been assisting as well.
A prayer meeting was held outside Carter’s church on Thursday, and a 24-hour prayer effort has been organized online as well.