Multi-state search continues for missing Kansas mom who was headed to Alabama


Marilane Carter was driving her gray 2011 GMC Acadia with Kansas license plate 194-LFY.

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (NewsNation) — Marilane Carter, a mother of three and church pastor’s wife, has not been seen in nearly a week after she set out last Saturday to drive her 2011 GMC Acadia from Johnson County, Kansas to Birmingham, Alabama.

Carter’s family said she’d been en route to Alabama to seek treatment for a mental health condition. She was last seen in the W. Memphis, Arkansas area. Several foot searches have taken place, as law enforcement officers sought her whereabouts.

Saturday, Carter’s friends and supporters participated in a unique online prayer vigil. It was organized in the Facebook group dedicated to the search for her return. Dozens of people scheduled times they’d remain in prayer for designated periods of time, ensuring they’d pray for Carter’s safe return for 24 hours without a break. Many participants don’t know the Carter family personally.

News Nation affiliate WDAF spoke to Carter’s family, who says they are concerned she may be lost and in crisis, or worse.

“Just let us know that you’re safe. Let us know where you are,” said Brady McLaughlin, Marilane’s brother-in-law.

The family believes she was heading for Grandview Medical Center in Birmingham where she once worked as a chaplain.

“She just mentioned to multiple family members, including her mom and husband, that she just wanted to find that help that she needed,” McLaughlin said.

Carter’s family is also in Birmingham, and she headed that way.

The family said she stayed overnight in West Plains, Missouri, according to her bank statement. On Sunday, they spoke with her for the last time. They said she seemed confused and disoriented.

Since then, she was seen at a gas station in West Memphis, Arkansas, on Sunday and on Monday at another gas station in Southhaven, Mississippi. Officer John Lacy with the Overland Park Police Department said they’re waiting for more information.

“It’s my understanding there’s a person that assisted her, that she needed gas in that area and aided her in giving her about $10-20 of gasoline, and she proceeded,” Lacy said. “What we’re doing is working with the local law enforcement in Mississippi and Tennessee to see if we can locate Mrs. Carter.”

All of the departments across three states, along with the FBI, are working together to find her.

“She could be lost. I don’t know if she’s familiar with Mississippi or she’s been there before,” Lacy said. “Where she is going, her ultimate destination, and where she is is contradicting so that causes a concern.”

Carter’s husband drove down to the Memphis area to help with the search.

Since Sunday her phone stopped pinging, and there is no activity on her cards. The family hopes someone will help them find Marilane and make sure she’s safe.

“It would mean making the family whole again. It would mean getting a mom back to her three kids and a wife back to her husband, and for her getting the counseling that she’s seeking and so desperately so,” McLaughlin said.

She’s described as 5-foot-8 and weighs approximately 130 pounds. She has long brown hair and green eyes and was last seen wearing a green t-shirt and black yoga pants. 

She was driving her Gray 2011 GMC Acadia bearing the Kansas license plate 194-LFY.

“We pray for Marilane that she would be found safe,” Rob Munyan, another Carter family friend who participated in the prayer vigil, said. “I think of Psalm 139 that says — even the darkness is not dark to You, speaking of God. We are praying for Marilane and for her extended family, her husband and her three kids.”

Police in Alabama ask that anyone with knowledge that could help in their investigation call (205) 390-1003.

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