Overview of David Carter
David Darnell Carter was one of the good guys.
The Melvindale, MI man and loving, proud father was extremely close to his family, particularly his father Elton, and his sister, Tasia Carter-Jackson. He absolutely adored his teenage son and namesake DJ, and while they were no longer together romantically, David enjoyed a warm and friendly relationship with his son’s mother, Samia Conner. He was an ambitious, hard worker at a top-tier auto supplier who somehow also found time to volunteer as a coach with the Melvindale Junior Football League, and regularly stop by his parents’ house to visit and lend a hand. And as if this weren’t enough, the 39 year old had also recently launched his own clothing line, Lavish Habits Clothing.
When colleagues called his family on October 2, 2018, to report that David had not shown up for his job at Magna Seating Plant in Highland Park, Michigan for the last three days, the family knew immediately something was wrong. The single father had last been seen by family and friends attending DJ’s football game on September 28. His girlfriend of 6 months - Tamera “Tammy” Williams - was also at the game with David, but the two did not sit together. When later asked, David’s sister Tasia stated that she believed her brother was in the midst of a breakup with Tammy, because of what she called the woman’s “possessive behavior”. David was next due at work on September 30, and his scheduled shift that Sunday would have paid triple time. It is certain that the exacting, responsible dad would not have missed the opportunity for a fat paycheck on a whim. Additionally, that same day DJ was supposed to see his father, but both he and his mother received a rather curt text from David’s phone stating that he wasn’t feeling well and that he had to cancel the visit. Considering his son was his world, this seemed to be uncharacteristic of David. DJ went over to his dad’s residence at the Gale Gardens apartments anyway, and - once there - encountered Tammy outside the home taking out some trash. DJ later maintained that when she spotted him she hurriedly ran inside the apartment, locking the door behind her. When he used his key to open the door and eventually gained entry into the apartment, she claimed David was out walking, despite his alleged illness.
After the phone call from David’s job, Tasia and her husband Derrick went over to the Gale Gardens apartment to determine what might be going on. To their consternation, they found David’s car in his parking spot as usual and the apartment door unlocked. Knowing her brother’s tendency to be extremely security-minded, Tasia called her father Elton and DJ’s mom Samia to accompany them, and together, they entered the apartment only to find a terrifying scene. The normally spotless bedroom where her exacting and orderly brother slept looked like the scene of a horrific crime. The bed was unmade, and there was a gunshot hole and bloodstains on the mattress. Blood was also found on the carpet beneath the bed, and David was nowhere to be seen. When Tasia called Tammy to ask where David was, his girlfriend claimed she did not have a clue. Worried sick, the family immediately reported David missing to the Melvindale Police Department.
The following day police called Elton about a discovery made in Ohio, about 95 miles away from David’s home.
On October 1, a department of transportation worker had discovered a “weird-looking sleeping bag” in the weeds along I-75 in Eagle Township. The sleeping bag contained the lower torso and legs of a human being. When authorities asked Elton whether David had a tattoo of a pit bull on his upper left leg, Elton knew that his son had been located, unfortunately with the most devastating outcome. Once confirmed, the police opened a homicide investigation into David’s death. Michigan State Police Crime Scene technicians and Melvindale Police Department detectives descended upon the Gale Gardens apartment, collecting evidence. Some sources report that remains were found in Melvindale, but it is unclear exactly what was found and where. On October 5, authorities arrested David’s girlfriend Tammy Williams, naming her as a suspect and bringing her in for questioning, largely based on her lack of concern over David’s disappearance and her odd behavior as witnessed by DJ. However, under Michigan law, police were only able to detain her for 3 days before they were forced to let her go due to a lack of evidence of her involvement. She remained a person of interest on authorities’ radar.
In subsequent days, police discovered David’s dismembered head in a duffle bag in a different location along the same highway, which allowed them to confirm David had perished from a gunshot wound below his left ear, exiting from the top of his head. On October 16, a final bag was located, containing David’s upper torso, arms, and hands. The quietly ambitious, unassuming man who had lived for his son, his family, and his work had met a fate dreadful beyond words - dismembered and discarded like trash along a bleak stretch of the I-75 a hundred miles from home and family. But at whose hands? Authorities had a compelling theory, particularly after Tammy - the primary person of interest in the murder - fled the area. She had made several large cash withdrawals and traveled by train from Ann Arbor, Michigan to Chicago. From Chicago, she headed to New York and was last spotted leaving the Neptune Hotel in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, NY. The trail ends here, and her whereabouts are currently unknown.
Where the case stands today.
Investigators are currently looking for Williams, who is said to have contacts all over the world due to her former job as a travel agent. Additionally, she has close connections within the Order of the Eastern Star, a co-ed fraternity and chapter of the Freemason community, and within the medical community thanks to her recent position as a phlebotomist. On December 20 of the same year that David was murdered, the U.S. Marshal Service and the 24th District Court issued a felony warrant against her for first-degree homicide, disinterring a dead body, and tampering with evidence. The fugitive is considered armed and dangerous, and authorities suspect she is receiving financial assistance. Her mother, Verdine Day, was accused of embezzling funds from the Detroit Fire Union, where she served as treasurer from 2015 until her retirement in 2019. Williams is 5’ 5” tall and weighs about 190 pounds. She has brown eyes and hair but is said to change her hair frequently and wear wigs. She has a large identifying tattoo of a rose on her left shoulder. There is a reward of $5000 for information leading to her arrest.
Meanwhile, David’s heartbroken family must live with the loss of their beloved son, brother, friend, and dad. DJ fondly recalled working out with his dad, throwing the football with him, and just “talking junk” - some of his favorite memories. David’s sister Tasia was overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and affection from friends and family at his vigil and balloon release, which took place days after the discovery of his remains. And his father Elton declared that “whoever did this took the best of us”. DJ remembers his father’s constant guidance to “keep grinding, no matter what”; advice he tries to follow every day of his life. David’s family had nothing but praise for the Melvindale Police Department’s handling of the case. We can only hope that the recent attention to his case - thanks to the Unsolved Mysteries episode “Body in Bags” - will encourage authorities to “keep grinding” and ultimately bring David’s killer to justice.