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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Man indicted on murder charge 23 years after girl, mother disappeared in West Virginia

A special grand jury has indicted a West Virginia man on a murder charge in the disappearance of a 10-year-old girl more than two decades ago, authorities said.

Larry Webb is accused of killing Natasha “Alex” Carter, Raleigh County Prosecuting Attorney Ben Hatfield said Tuesday. Carter and her mother, Susan Carter, have not been seen since Aug. 8, 2000.

At the time they went missing, Susan Carter was in a contentious custody battle with Natasha’s father and had told him he would never see his daughter again, according to an FBI flyer from back then that said the pair might have left the state. Carter and her daughter were apparently living in Webb’s house when they disappeared, news outlets reported.

In December 2021, the FBI Pittsburgh officeannounced a renewed push and rewardin an effort to find answers in the decades-old case, including offering a reward for information leading to solving the case, CBS affiliate WOWK-TV reported.

That $10,000 reward was increased to $20,000 last month.

Police executed search warrants at Webb’s home in 2022 and 2023 and authorities said they recovered additional evidence in the investigation.

During the last search, Webb, who is in his 80s, told news outlets he did not know what happened to the girl and did not know when he last saw her.

“I don’t remember,” Webb said. “I have dementia. I can’t say exactly.”

Webb had a caretaker, Terry Lilly, residing with him at the time of the police searches, WOWK reported. Lilly claimed police removed items including a bullet, flooring tile and DNA evidence, the station reported. Officials have not confirmed these claims.

The disappearance of Susan Carter, who is presumed dead, is still under investigation, Hatfield said. “The wealth of evidence that we had pertained to the death of Natasha ‘Alex’ Carter,” he said.

Hatfield said police were working to arrest Webb, who was currently in a “quasi-medical housing situation.”

It was not clear if Webb has an attorney. A circuit court clerk said she did not have an attorney of record listed and the public defender’s office declined to answer questions.

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