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Rose Turford and Carolyn Stevens

Real Names: Rose Marie Turford and Joyce Carolyn Stevens
Aliases: Carolyn Stevens, Ann Kerrigan (Joyce)
Wanted For: Robbery, Kidnapping, Theft, Fraud
Missing Since: May 22, 1995

Case[]

Details: You would think that they were just out for a joy ride, best friends without a care in the world. But like everything else about thirty-five-year-old Rose Turford and thirty-year-old Carolyn Stevens, looks can be deceiving. To the police, these two women are nothing less than the real-life “Thelma and Louise”. They are female con-artists who defraud, humiliate, and steal from their male companions, posing as nuns, police officers, and topless dancers. Today, they are armed, dangerous, and on the run, wanted on multiple charges of aggravated robbery.
Rose and Carolyn met in 1992. Both were nurses at a psychiatric hospital in Houston, Texas. Eventually, Rose invited Carolyn to move in with her and her family. By January 1995, the two women had embarked on a vicious game. It is believed that Carolyn convinced Rose to take part in the scheme. Rose was, by all accounts, a loving wife, devoted mother, and dedicated professional. But at night, she took on a whole new persona. She began soliciting men through newspaper personal ads and telephone dating services. Then, she would lure her dates to out-of-the-way motel rooms.
A little soft music, a good bottle of wine, and the stage was set for Carolyn’s entrance. She would pull out a gun and force the man onto the bed. The “Thelma and Louise Bandits” moved quickly and methodically. They forced their victim to disrobe. Then, they would handcuff him to the bedposts. Finally, Carolyn would stand guard while Rose ran out to use the victim’s bank and credit cards. They would also steal cash, cars, and other belongins.
From the onset, Rose and Carolyn wanted to be the real life Thelma and Louise. They wanted to experience the thrill and spontaneity. Bail bondsman Clement Romeo does not believe that they ever considered what their life of crime would do to their families. Over a three-month period, Rose and Carolyn reportedly robbed at least ten men in Houston, Galveston, and Las Vegas of more than a quarter of a million dollars. Police also found evidence they had intended to kidnap and hold for ransom several wealthy men in Canada and Texas. But before they could do that, their luck ran out.
On March 14, 1995, Rose and Carolyn were arrested at a motel in Houston. Bail was set at $250,000 each. Romeo believes that, prior to them going to jail, the women had a pact: if one got out, they both got out, or they both stayed in. Rose’s parents stepped in, but they planned to just get Rose out of jail. In an attempt to cajole Rose’s family into posting bail for both of them, Carolyn phoned Rose’s parents repeatedly. She claimed that a mysterious international private investigator named “Avery” was threatening Rose’s children. She and Rose also told a bail investigator that Avery had forced them to commit their crimes by threatening them with torture and kidnapping if they failed to carry out his commands. Carolyn also previously claimed that Avery abused and injured her.
Romeo never believed that “Avery” was real; he felt that the story was too far-fetched. Rose’s family, however, believed Avery was real. Even her in-laws were moved to act. They put up their house and restaurant as partial collateral. Romeo tried to convince the parents not to make both bonds. He said, "it is not often that you sit and try to speak to someone about not giving you $25,000". But he knew that it was a problem, and he was certain that the women would disappear. Unfortunately, he was right.
On May 22, 1995, shortly after being released from jail, Rose and Carolyn took flight. Left behind was a letter which alleged that they had been kidnapped by the mysterious Avery. In reality, they were on the run, leaving Rose’s in-laws in danger of losing their home and business. Rose’s mother-in-law, Shirley Turford, said that they just wanted to help in any way that they could. She never thought that they would disappear. Romeo hopes that Rose and Carolyn realize that they are going to throw good, honest, hardworking people out onto the streets because of their actions. He hopes that they turn themselves in and face what they did, instead of making their families suffer.
Rose and Carolyn were last seen in Canada; in June, they rented a car in Edmonton, later deserting it in Toronto. Interestingly, one of the investigators looking for them believes that Carolyn might be suffering from Multiple Personality Disorder, and that "Avery" might be another personality of hers. Yet another personality she may have is that of a wealthy woman, "Ann Kerrigan", who is apparently Avery's wife. Carolyn had apparently opened a checking account in that name.
Extra Notes:

  • The case first aired on the August 18, 1995 episode; it was updated on the December 15, 1995 episode.
  • They were also featured on A Current Affair.

Rose and Carolyn after their arrests

Results: Captured. As it turned out, the broadcast was a catalyst for a full-scale media blitz aimed at tracking down the two women. Their story appeared everywhere: on newspapers, magazines, and on television. But it was a t-shirt showing their faces which led to their capture in Toronto, Canada, less than five months after they had vanished.
In early October 1995, a man saw a picture in the “Maclean’s” magazine of Romeo holding the t-shirt up and called the number on it. The tipster knew the whereabouts of Rose; she was working at a telemarketing firm in Toronto. Within twenty-four hours, both women were in custody; Rose was arrested at the firm while Carolyn was arrested at her apartment. They were extradited to Texas and held at the Harris County Jail in Houston.
In February 1996, Carolyn pleaded guilty to three counts of aggravated robbery. She was sentenced to ten years in prison. She was released after serving nine years. In March, Rose was convicted of robbery. She was sentenced to thirty years in prison. She served her time and has been released.
Sadly, on September 21, 2010, Romeo passed away at the age of sixty-one.
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