Inside The Mysterious Abduction Of Carrie Lawson

It was the 11th of September, 1991. Early in the morning, Carolyn Elizabeth Lawson, then 25 years old, answered her phone, and was informed that she had a family member in the hospital, severely injured. With great haste, Carolyn and her husband got dressed, and headed out to the driveway of their Jasper, Alabama home. There, they found a scene straight out of a horror movie: A masked man with a gun was waiting for them.

According to the Charley Project, the gunman forced Carolyn to tie up her husband, then drove away with her, in her own car. The next morning, Carolyn called her family, relaying a ransom demand of $300,000. The family ponied up, leaving a bag of cash in the designated location, and waited. And waited.

CBS reports that the following months saw a swell of public outreach. As the story gained traction, more and more people offered to help, and law enforcement officials reportedly made every effort. Margaret Kubiszyn, Carolyn's sister, relayed stories of frustrating potential leads. "Three different people had confessed to murdering her," she recalled, "and (we) took them out to look at some burial site and they get a backhoe and it turns out the guy was just lying to get a field trip out of prison."

The story doesn't get better

A few months later, a woman by the name of Karen Lancaster McPherson was arrested in connection with the kidnapping of Carolyn Elizabeth Lawson. Per the Advance Local, she pleaded guilty in November of 1991, and was sentenced to life in prison. McPherson claimed that she was merely an accomplice, and that the mastermind behind the kidnapping was her cousin, Jerry Bland, who knew what was actually happening. Unfortunately, three weeks after Lawson's disappearance, Bland committed suicide. The majority of the ransom money was later found in his attic.

Just shy of three decades later, the whereabouts of Carolyn Lawson remain a mystery. Interviews with McPherson have led investigators in circles, as she has recanted confessions, and admitted to lying during questioning. Most terrifying, perhaps, is the generally accepted reason that Lawson was targeted: it appears that she was chosen completely at random. She had a nice house, that's all. Her attackers didn't know her.

McPherson, meanwhile, has her next parole hearing scheduled for August, 2021.