Bethany Leanne Markowski, daughter of Jonnie Carter and Larry Markowski, was 11 years old when she disappeared from Tennessee. As a young girl, Bethany was commonly described as very spunky, but still an incredibly loving friend and family member.
A couple of months prior to Bethany’s disappearance, her parents, Jonnie and Larry, were working through divorce proceedings. The divorce was very bitter. Bethany and her mother had recently moved away from Larry, with Jonnie filing for a restraining order against her soon-to-be ex-husband. The restraining order was active as of January 1, 2001, after Larry had attempted to kidnap Bethany at her elementary school.
The day of her disappearance
The morning of March 4, 2001, Bethany and her mother, Jonnie, spoke on the phone - Bethany used her father’s phone to make the call. That same morning, Bethany and Larry also visited family in Weakley County, Tennessee.
Later that afternoon, Larry takes Bethany to Old Hickory Mall in Jackson, Tennessee. Larry claims he allowed Bethany to walk around the mall alone, while he took a nap in his vehicle. After his half-hour nap, Larry claims to have gone looking for Bethany, but she was nowhere to be found. Subsequently, around 5:15 PM, on March 4, 2001, Larry notified mall security and they proceeded to search for Bethany. By 6 PM, mall security contacted Jackson Police Department for additional assistance finding Bethany, but the efforts were unsuccessful.
Since her disappearance and following April 2001, there have been multiple reported sightings of a girl who looked like Bethany. In Southeastern Tennessee, Bethany was reported to be with an unknown woman who attempted to enroll her in school. Following this reported sighting and on 3 consecutive days, Bethany and the same unknown woman were reported at a coffee shop in Northern Tennessee. The final sighting of Bethany and this unidentified woman was when they were boarding a Greyhound bus headed for Moline, Illinois. They were not reported getting off at the final stop in Moline but could have gotten off at a different stop in between.
Where the case stands today
Bethany’s case still remains open. Bethany’s parents have not been ruled out as suspects in her disappearance. It is possible that Bethany may have been abducted by a stranger. If you have any information about the disappearance of Bethany Markowski, please contact the Jackson Police Department at 731-425-8400 or Tennessee Bureau of Investigation at 800-TBI-FIND, 800-824-3463 or TipsToTBI@tn.gov.