DEKALB COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office says two people have been arrested and charged with capital murder after the remains of a woman missing since 2021 were found.
The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) said on June 28, 2023, remains were found at the Little River Canyon National Park by a search team.
The Alabama Department of Forensic Science’s Huntsville Laboratory identified the remains found at the canyon as Mary Elizabeth Isbell. She was identified on what would’ve been her 39th birthday.
Isbell had been reported missing to the Hartselle Police Department and DCSO by her ex-husband. She was last seen in November of 2021. Isbell reportedly had family in Hartselle, but was last known to live in DeKalb County.
On June 26, Loretta Carr was charged with capital murder in connection with Isbell’s death.
According to court documents, Carr is accused of “intentionally” causing Isbell’s death “by pushing her off of a cliff.”
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A second person has also been arrested in connection to the murder.
DCSO says Jessie Eden Kelly is currently in custody in Pennsylvania awaiting extradition to Missouri on felony charges. A detainer was placed on Kelly with Pennsylvania and Missouri for capital murder from DeKalb County.
DCSO said Carr is Kelly’s mother.
DCSO Chief Investigator Nick Brown gave an update on the case Friday. He said early in the case that it was likely a homicide but that investigators were still looking for Isbell and potential suspects.
“We knew very early that there was a possible homicide,” the chief investigator said.
“We just didn’t have a body and didn’t have the suspect at the time,”
He said the arrests came after a credible tip last Tuesday. Brown said the tip ultimately led to the arrest of Carr and Kelly along with physical evidence found at Isbell’s home.
“This tip we actually received names that we had been looking at in the beginning,” he said.
Brown said one of the women was able to help the sheriff’s office in locating Isbell’s remains.
“One of the codefendants was very cooperative and helped us to lead to Mary’s remains where we recovered them Wednesday,” he said.
The chief investigator said the capital murder chases stem from multiple other laws broken during the course of the incident including kidnapping.
“It’s very inhuman and brutal what these ladies did to Mary,” he said. “It’s terrible.”
Brown said DCSO is continuing to investigate but said locating Isbell’s remains is a relief for investigators.
“It’s been a very stressful last year and a half,” he said. “This has been a relief for a lot of different people.”