Details of Disappearance
Carol was last seen in Troy, Michigan on October 26, 1983. She visited her boyfriend at his apartment, stayed about two hours, and was last seen between 11:00 and 11:45 p.m., when she left to go home. She has never been heard from again.
Her 1981 Buick was found parked in the driveway of her house on Wentworth Place, with the keys in the ignition and her purse and eyeglasses on the front seat. She didn't leave a note for her three children, which is uncharacteristic of her behavior. She also left behind all her clothes, belongings and money.
Carol was in the process of a divorce in 1983; the case supposed to go before a judge in November. Her relationship with her husband, Donald, was volatile, with many bitter arguments. He was 21 years older than his wife. Two of Carol's friends stated Donald was a controlling spouse who wouldn't permit her to choose her own friends or activities. A photo of him is posted with this case summary.
Carol told friends that Donald had repeatedly abused her and that she was afraid for her safety. In court documents, she alleged he had struck her in the face and neck with his fists, and sexually molested her when she started sleeping on the couch. At one point, Carol gave a neighbor a sweatshirt she found rolled up on the floor of Donald's closet; it contained a combat knife, a hunting knife and a machete.
There were six police reports on file about Carol and Donald; none of them recorded that she was the victim of any assault. Once, Carol told police no assault occurred, although in court documents related to the divorce she accused Donald of striking her three times and chipping a tooth.
Carol also filed three complaints about Donald tapping her phone; he planned to record her conversations and use the recordings against her in their custody battle; she was seeking custody of their children. Carol retaliated by recording Donald's phone conversations. Her mother, stated that although there was violence between the couple, it wasn't as bad as Carol alleged, and that sometimes she was the aggressor in their arguments.
At the time of Carol's disappearance, she and Donald were still living in the same house. Donald said they kept apart from each other and claimed he hadn't seen her since October 19, a week before her disappearance. He was court-ordered not to enter the house's study, which Carol was using as a bedroom.
Carol's great-grandfather, Sebastian Kresge, founded the business that would become that K-Mart store chain, and some news accounts about her disappearance described her as an heiress. However, Carol lived a middle-class existence: she sold makeup part-time and was taking a course in court reporting at a local college.
Her family said she wasn't destined to inherit a fortune, as her grandfather's estate would be split between his three children and fifteen grandchildren. According to court documents, prior to her marriage at age 21, her net worth was only about $3,000, and her total income from wills, trusts or gifts was $4,000.
Donald, by contrast, owned four businesses. Although he listed his net worth in the divorce documents as $297,000, others estimated it to actually be about two to four million dollars. Carol's divorce attorney arranged for an accountant to audit Donald and determine his true worth, but Carol disappeared a few days before the audit took place.
Police found blood, matching Carol's blood type, on a sofa in the house and in the trunk of Donald's 1978 Mercedes. He is the prime suspect in his wife's case. Authorities believe he struck and strangled her to death and put her body in the trunk of his car. When Donald was dying of cancer in 1986, at the age of 59, the detective in charge of Carol's case went to his bedside, but Donald refused to speak to him. After his passing, the investigation stalled.
Carol's loved ones stated she was stressed about the divorce, but they didn't believe she would have walked out on her life or abandoned her children, who were between the ages of thirteen and eight. She was declared legally dead in 1993. Her case remains unsolved.