Thursday, June 17, 2004

Culberson warrant unsealed


Recent barn search prompted by 2 informants

By Jennifer Edwards
The Cincinnati Enquirer

PERRY TWP. - Two informants, including one who still communicates with the imprisoned former boyfriend of murder victim Carrie Culberson, pointed authorities to the pole barn here for a three-week dig that has failed to uncover her remains, according to a search warrant unsealed Wednesday.

Over the past two months, two informants have come forward regarding Culberson's whereabouts, states the warrant, written by Investigator Mark Penn of the Clermont County Sheriff's Office.

One of the informants still has contact with Vincent Doan, her former boyfriend who was convicted in 1997 of murder and kidnapping and is serving life in prison.

"They continue to write back and forth," the warrant states.

The 12-page warrant, filed in Brown County Municipal Court, had been sealed since the April 28 search began under a barn behind a house on Fayetteville-Blanchester Road in Brown County.

Authorities obtained the search warrant after a police cadaver dog reacted at the property.

The site is 40 miles east of Cincinnati and a few miles south of Blanchester, where Culberson, 22, was last seen in 1996.

Jarrod Messer, a friend of Doan's brother, had lived on the property before being incarcerated in 2003 on unrelated charges. The property is owned by Messer's mother, who is taking care of Messer's son while Messer is in prison.

The search ended May 11. Tests have found no DNA on items unearthed that authorities believe could be clues to Culberson's disappearance.

The items - duct tape, hairs, black plastic bag, a sock and a smiley-face T-shirt that Culberson's mother, Debbie, recognized as Carrie's - were found during the search, according to the warrant.

The search warrant was unsealed one week after authorities released the property back to its owner, after they completed some tests, removed pieces of a panel of the barn and took two buckets of dirt to test for DNA. Tests on the dirt are pending.

Brown County Prosecutor Thomas F. Grennan said that authorities are disappointed the search did not yield Culberson's remains, but they continue to pursue leads.

Culberson's mother said she wasn't surprised by the information in the warrant. She feels the items found were Carrie's and won't rest until her remains have been found.

"I can't say I am discouraged," she said. "We don't have all the evidence back and we don't know what it is ... but there still is always that little bit of hope."

E-mail jedwards@enquirer.com.




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