Local Police Interested in Fort Benning Body - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

12/18/03

Local Police Interested in Fort Benning Body

Update:  Fort Benning Criminal Investigations Division has announced that among the remains were found those of a six-month-old unborn child. Dena Carter was six months pregnant when she disappeared.

A spokesperson from Fort Benning said, "Although there has been no definitive connection made, the remains are consistent with the missing persons case."

We'll have the latest on this developing story tonight on THE News at 5.

A body found across the State of Georgia from here is catching the attention of a Coastal Empire police department. Hunters stumbled over the remains Tuesday morning in Chattahoochee County at Fort Benning. So far there's no concrete evidence tying the two cases together, but police in Statesboro are interested in the remains because there's still a missing person case open. GSU graduate student Dena Carter has been missing since September.

"The remains were scattered in a wooded area," said Fort Benning's Monica Marganaro. "They were not buried, so that again is a reason they want to cordon off the area and make sure they're able to gather as much evidence as possible."

Carter disappeared September 11th and hasn't been seen since. That time frame seems to fit the Fort Benning investigation. "At first glance, it appears the remains may have been in that area three months to six months," said Marganaro. "We're not certain about that yet."

At the time Carter disappeared, she was six months pregnant, which puts the baby's due date at December 25. When we talked with family and friends last month, they said they were desperate for any break in the case. "People are constantly asking me, 'How is the investigation going? Have they heard anything?'" said neighbor Naquanda Hayes. "People are very concerned. They want to know what's going on, they want this girl to come home."

The remains found at Fort Benning are being sent to Washington DC for DNA testing by Army investigators. Until those results come back, police in Statesboro and Carter's friends will keep a close watch on what's going on near Columbus.

Columbus police say the remains are those of an African American female. The Statesboro Police Department says there's no strong link between Dena Carter's disappearance and the remains at Fort Benning, but they become interested whenever an unidentified body is found in the state.

Reported by: Chris Cowperthwaite, ccowperthwaite@wtoc.com

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