“Information gathered from family members concerning her mental and emotional state during her final communications, along with facts gathered from the scene, have led investigators to believe that Marilane Carter drove the vehicle into the container and in doing so caused her demise,” the Crittenden County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement Wednesday, reported FOX4.
Chief Deputy Todd Grooms told the Kansas City Star that the woman’s vehicle had its ignition switch turned on and was running. The vehicle and the woman’s body was found inside a shipping container near Interstate 55.
The body was taken to the Arkansas State Crime Lab on Wednesday, officials said.
Cater’s death was also announced by the Leawood Baptist Church in Kansas, where her husband serves as a pastor.
“It is with very heavy hearts that we share that Marilane Carter has passed away. Her vehicle and body were found Tuesday in the West Memphis area. Law enforcement says that foul play is not suspected,” Leawood Baptist Church said on Facebook. “Please keep Pastor Adam and the children in your prayers.”
And her family issued a statement on a website dedicated to locating the woman.
“These have been the longest weeks of our lives, as we tried to cling to hope that Marilane was still alive. Thank you to all who have offered words of encouragement, prayers, tips, help, and support during this very difficult time,” the statement said.
They added: “We experienced firsthand the extreme love of friends and strangers. From a young woman who posted Marilane’s picture at truck stops all the way in Florida, to those who participated in prayer vigils, to those who volunteered to help us do a sonar search, the support has been amazing. Marilane was dearly loved by family and friends. The all-out effort to find her is a testimony to that.”
Family members previously told news outlets that she was driving to Birmingham, Alabama, to seek mental health counseling.