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Crime News Murders

Fiancé Charged With Art Student Katelyn Markham’s Murder 12 Years After She Was Killed

When 22-year-old Katelyn Markham vanished from her Fairfield home in 2011, her fiancé John Carter said he had a “gut feeling” she was still alive.

By Dorian Geiger
Fiancé Charged With Art Student Katelyn Markham’s Murder

The former fiancé of an Ohio art student who vanished more than a decade ago was indicted on murder charges in her death this week.

John Carter, 34, was arrested on Wednesday for the murder of his fiancée, Katelyn Markham, who disappeared in 2011, according to court and jail records obtained by Oxygen.com

A Butler County Grand Jury indicted Carter on two counts of murder involving Markham’s death. The indictment was unsealed on Thursday. 

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Markham vanished from her Fairfield home in August 2011. It was Carter who ultimately phoned police on Aug. 14 to report her disappearance. At the time, he claimed he’d seen her the same day and that the couple had discussed a possible move to Colorado, according to Cincinnati television station WXIX-TV.

"I know you're not suppose to report a missing person before 24 hours, but my fiancée is missing and I can't find her anywhere," Carter told dispatchers in the 911 call, in which he reported Markham missing.

A selfie of Katelyn Markham

Police then said they didn’t suspect foul play in the 22-year-old woman’s disappearance.

Carter subsequently told ABC News that he had a “gut feeling” she was still alive. 

"I have to believe she's alive," Carter said. "I have to believe that I'm going to have her in my arms soon."

In 2013, Markham’s skeletal remains were recovered from a wooded area near Cedar Grove, Indiana, roughly 20 miles from her Fairfield apartment. Her death was ruled a homicide. Medical examiners, however, were unable to determine a cause of death.

Authorities haven’t yet shed light on a possible motive or what evidence they’d uncovered that implicated Carter in Markham’s murder.

A mugshot of John Allen Carter

Markham’s family expressed relief this week that an arrest had finally been made in the long-unsolved murder.

"All I could do was just cry, a huge weight off my shoulder," Markham’s father, Dave Markham, told CBS affiliate WHIO-TV, in reference to the moment prosecutors notified him of the charges.

Prior to her disappearance, Markham was on the cusp of graduating from a graphics program at the Art Institute of Ohio in Cincinnati. She also worked as an associate at the school, according to her LinkedIn profile. 

"I often wonder what she'd be doing with her art and her career, and I think she would just be just an amazing woman," Dave Markham added. "And it does make me a little angry that he lived for 12 years scot-free thinking he got away with it. And a lot of us have missed Katelyn tremendously every day for 12 years. And it's not fair, and it's not right. And hopefully, it's going to be made right."

Last month, Jonathan Palmerton was taken into police custody and charged with felony perjury in connection with Markham’s death, additional court records show. The case remains active, however, investigators haven’t specified the nature of the perjury charge or how it directly relates to Markham’s murder, according to an Associated Press report.  

Carter is being held at a Butler County jail, according to online jail records. It’s unclear if he’s retained legal representation to comment on his behalf. Court date information also wasn’t immediately available for him.

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