Real Name: Carson Leigh Prince
Nicknames: No known nicknames
Location: Little Rock, Arkansas
Date: April 28, 1999
Details: Nineteen-year-old Carson Prince grew up in Maumelle, Arkansas, the oldest of Tom and Suzanne Prince's three children. When she was thirteen, her parents divorced and she was deeply affected. However, she overcame her problems and eventually got a scholarship to the University of Arkansas. During her sophomore year, she left school and moved in with Tom. On April 28, 1999, she told him that she planned to pick up registration forms for the university where she planned to re-enroll in the fall. According to the housekeeper, she left around 11:45am.
At around 12:15pm, several drivers called 911, describing a speeding white Ford pickup truck that was swerving erratically along the Arkansas River Bridge on Interstate 85 near Little Rock. A female passenger was struggling with the male driver to get out of it. As horrified witnesses watched, she was thrown out of the truck as it was going more than 70 miles per hour. She was soon rushed to the hospital with massive head injuries. She was identified as Carson and her parents were notified. Tragically, just hours later, she died from her injuries.
Arkansas State Police discovered Carson's Ford Bronco alongside Interstate 430, just half a mile from where her body was found. The gas tank was completely empty. Strangely, less than thirty minutes after she left, she was apparently heading back home, in the opposite direction of her errands. A gas station was within walking distance, and her next move did not make sense to her parents. Witnesses reported that a young white male with a white Ford pickup truck was parked next to her car. They were engaging in a conversation, and he was holding a gas can.
Carson's relatives does not believe that she would have gotten into the truck if the man was a stranger, so they believe that she was either forced into it or she knew her assailant. Authorities learned that she had a stormy relationship with a man who she had met while working at a local country club. Her friends wanted her to break up with him, but she seemed unwilling to do so. He was a suspected drug dealer; he may have used her car for his deliveries.
The day before Carson died, she arrived at Suzanne's home, upset that her boyfriend had been arrested on drug charges. She believed that Suzanne, a deputy district attorney, was involved in his arrest. Suzanne, who was not involved in the case, asked her to leave because she feared that the boyfriend may have been outside. Just twelve hours later, she was killed.
Although authorities have cleared Carson's boyfriend in her death, some believe it is possible that his drug dealing lead to it. Others believe that she may have been fleeing a stalker, but authorities believe that she simply ran out of gas at the wrong place at the wrong time.
Suspects: Carson's boyfriend was initially considered a suspect in this case, but has since been cleared. The suspect drove an off-white Ford pickup truck with the word "FORD" painted in red on its tailgate. It had an Arkansas license plate with the numbers "274". The suspect was described as a white male in his twenties, with medium height and sandy brown or blonde hair. He has never been found.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the August 23, 2002 episode.
Results: Solved. In October 2004, Stephen Talley walked into the Perry County Sheriff's Department and confessed to being responsible for Carson's death. He claimed that he had picked her up because he wanted to rape her. When she realized something was wrong, she panicked. She said that her father was the mayor of Little Rock and that "if anything happened to her, he would haunt him for the rest of his life." Talley claimed that he then struck her in the head with a crescent wrench. He also said that when she tried to jump out of the truck, he pulled out a gun. However, during the struggle, she fell out of the truck to her death.
Talley also admitted to murdering sixteen-year-old Barbara Leggitt and her twenty-five-year-old boyfriend, Christopher Barnes, who vanished on June 21, 1999. He was found shot to death a few weeks later, but there was no sign of her until 2004 when Talley confessed and led police to her skeletal remains.
Investigators discovered that Talley matched the description of Carson's assailant and owned a truck that matched the assailant's vehicle. When investigators examined it, they found that he had removed items and modified it to make it not match the description of the assailant's vehicle. His wife also claimed that he had made comments about Carson's death, claiming that he was worried that someone would call the police because his truck matched the description of the assailant's vehicle. He also told her that he was not in Little Rock that day.
Talley pleaded guilty to all three murders and received a life sentence without the possibility of parole.
- Carson Prince on Unsolved Archive
- LR police end look into Prince death
- Noted forensic scientist reviewing woman's death
- Updated - Carson Prince murder case
- State Police Make Arrest in 1999 Prince Murder
- Talley pleads innocent
- Carson Prince on Find a Grave