Hueytown Police continue to receive tips about a cold case from the 1970s. A three-year-old child was last seen in Hueytown on September 17, 1973, but her mother was found dead less than a month later on the Tennessee-North Carolina line.
Christina Lynn Carter and her mother, Janet, left Alabama amid a custody battle with Christina’s father. Family members told investigators at the time that Janet planned to take her daughter to a cabin in the Great Smoky Mountains.
Janet, who was 24 years old, was going through a divorce and also had a boyfriend who was married at the time, according to multiple reports. It is believed the boyfriend was also at the cabin.
It wasn’t until October 7 that anyone heard anything else about Janet or Christina, but on that day, the news was not good. Janet’s body was found in a duffle bag near Clingman Road. A fisherman found the body and called the authorities. Multiple law enforcement agencies investigated because the road was on the Tennessee-North Carolina line. Hueytown investigators were also involved in the investigation but not until after the body was identified, which was over a month after Janet’s body was found.
Unfortunately, no one in Tennessee or North Carolina knew to be looking for a child until Hueytown Police notified them that she had been traveling with a child. No trace of the child has been discovered to this day. There are rumors that Janet gave Christina away before her death, but no evidence has been revealed to confirm those rumors. However, Hueytown Police Chief Mike Yarbrough said the department is still getting calls from people thinking they might be Christina.
“Over the years we have been contacted,” said Yarbrough. “More than one person has called and thought that they may be Christina. They would be told to get a DNA test and they did and were told they, in fact, were not Christina.”
Lt. Greg Coram said Christina was not reported missing to the Hueytown Police Department until 2008 when the case got national attention.
“The dad came and filed a police report,” said Coram. “He did that so the national committee could get the case out there.”
No one was ever arrested in the death of Janet Carter and police cleared her boyfriend as a suspect. Investigators never released his name but said he has since died.
Technology has improved since the 1970s, and Yarbrough said advancements often lead to the solving of cold cases.
“A lot of times it is the new technology, DNA, because some of that stuff didn’t exist like it does now,” Yarbrough explained. “There are new ways to extract those things and sometimes witnesses or offenders come forward and decide they want to tell their story.”
The Center for Missing and Exploited Children has released generated images of what Christina may look like now.
If you have information on Christina Lynn Carter, you are asked to call the Hueytown Police Department at (205) 491-3587.
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