Thursday, 30 October 2008

The missing teen and the conflicting testimony - The innocence case of Wayne Tompkins

On March 23, 1983, Lisa DeCarr and Kathy Stevens were
expelled from school after they were discovered outside smoking
under a tree. Lisa and Kathy were in special classes for
emotionally troubled students. Pot was found in Kathy’s purse.
Lisa was told that she could not return to school until she was
accompanied by a parent.

On the afternoon of the next day, March 24, 1983, Lisa’s
mother contacted the police and filed a missing persons report.
That police report is a two-page report dated March 24, 1983, at
5:30 PM.1 The first page lists the complainant, the date, and the
time of the incident being reported. The “Date Time Occurred”
showed “24 Mar 83 1330-1400.” The report listed Barbara DeCarr as
the complainant/parent. On the first page of the report in the
reconstruction section was handwritten, “Mrs. DeCarr stated her
daughter ran away from home for no apparent reason.” The second
page of the report listed Wendy Chancey as a witness. The report
then contained the following in the narrative section:

Compl. stated she last saw Lisa at the listed residence
at the listed time. Compl. stated that everything was
fine at home and has had no trouble with Lisa running
away or anything. Compl. stated that Lisa was having
some trouble in school but nothing to cause her to

1It is clear from the police report that Mrs. DeCarr
reported Lisa missing within a couple of hours after she was last
seen getting into a car. It is also clear from the police report
that Mrs. DeCarr was aware of “some trouble in school.”

runaway. Compl. checked was Lisa’s friends and school
for information as to where she might be with negative
results. Compl. stated that one of Lisa’s friends told
her that Lisa asked about Beach Place, but Compl.
checked with Beach Place with negative results. Compl.
stated Lisa did not take any of her belongings and gave
no indication of wanting to leave.

2Since Mrs. DeCarr was making representations to the police
while filing a missing persons report, presumably she subjected
herself to prosecution if the police report was false. Kist v.
State, 787 So. 2d 106 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2001).

3School records reveal that there was a March 24th phone
conference with Barbara DeCarr “who called to inform that Lisa
had left.” This was the day after Lisa had been expelled and told
that she could not return unless accompanied by a parent. The
records also show that on March 25th, “mom says child ran away

The report showed the “listed time” as 1:30-2:00 on March 24,
1983. The “listed residence” was shown as 1225 E. Osborne St.
According to the report, Mrs. DeCarr last saw her daughter, Lisa,
at 1:30-2:00 PM on March 24, 1983.2 The report further indicated
that a witness, Wendy Chancey, stated “she observed Lisa get into
the suspect vehicle at 12th St. and Osborne and was last seen
heading north on 12th St.” The two-page police report indicated
that Lisa was wearing “blue jeans, maroon shirt, diamond ring,
cross earrings.” Implicit in the report was the fact that this
was the attire Lisa was wearing at the time she was last seen by
the complainant, Barbara DeCarr, when she last saw Lisa at 1:30-
2:00 PM.

For over a year after this police report was dated, Mrs.
DeCarr maintained that Lisa had run away. This was documented by
numerous police reports.3 Det. Gullo logged calls from Mrs.

yesterday (24th). Thinks child may be pregnant.” Similarly,
records from the Missing Child organization indicated that
Barbara contacted the organization on March 29, 1983, and
reported Lisa as missing, saying, “She may be on drugs and she
may be pregnant.” Barbara DeCarr did not mention to Det. Gullo,
the policeman looking for Lisa, Lisa’s possible pregnancy until
April 26th.

DeCarr reporting that others claimed to have seen Lisa. However,
she did not give a name for any of the individuals she said had
told her they had seen Lisa after her disappearance. For example,
the September 2, 1983, entry stated:

I received a phone call from Mrs. DeCarr who stated
that she was told by friends of Lisa that they had seen
Lisa on East 7th Ave. at about 46th St. Lisa was
standing in the Jewel “T” parking lot speaking with two
or three other w/f’s. The informants told Mrs. DeCarr
that Lisa might be living in a trailer park which is
across the street. Mrs. DeCarr told the informants that
they should call the police the next time they see her.
Mrs. DeCarr was advised that they didn’t want to get
involved with the police.

The only name Mrs. DeCarr supplied Det. Gullo was when she
indicated Kathy Stevens had reported that Lisa had called from
New York. Yet when providing that information, Mrs. DeCarr
misreported Kathy’s last name. She said Kathy’s last name was
Sample. As a result, Det. Gullo did not locate Kathy.

When she testified at trial, Mrs. DeCarr denied practicing
witchcraft: “I am a Catholic.” (Id.) In her deposition, Barbara
said her daughter would be lying if she had said that Barbara had
engaged in sex acts with “little boys” (DeCarr depo. at 65). At
trial, Judge Coe refused to allow Mrs. DeCarr to be asked about

4Detective Burke’s report dated June 22, 1984, noted that
“Jenice DeCarr who is, the stepdaughter of Barbara DeCarr”
stated, “that Barbara DeCarr was heavily into Witchcraft and
while living in New York, Barbara participated in witchcraft to a
great extent.” Jenice also reported “that her brother Harold
DeCarr, Jr. was seduced by Barbara when he was 12 yrs. old.” Det.
Burke noted that “this was confirmed by Harold as we were on a
three party telephone conversation at the time. He stated that he
was in fact, 12 yrs old when this took place.”

Det. Burke reported that Michelle Hayes, “the sister to Lisa
DeCarr and the daughter of Mrs. DeCarr,” made similar statements.
Michelle “stated she knew of one time that her mother had at
least three or four young boys in her bedroom locked up with her
ranging from ages 12 to 14 yrs and that she knew that there was
sex acts going on and that one of the subjs that was in the
bedroom with her mother was Harold, Jr., her stepbrother. She
stated that she is certain that they were involved in some type
of sex act with their mother. She said it got so bad, that the 12
and 14 yrs old boys would get in a fight over who was to have her
mother’s affections.”

5In the period between March, 1982, to June, 1984, Mrs.
DeCarr had three other boyfriends in addition to Wayne Tompkins
(R. 227). As to one, Gary Francis, she denied that she moved out
of the trailer park because Gary had harmed Lisa (Id.). But Mrs.
DeCarr did acknowledge that a man named Bob McElvin had
propositioned Lisa, saying he would do “certain things for her
for sexual favors” (Id.).

Mrs. DeCarr found out in 1984 that Mr. Tompkins had gone to
bed with another woman. However, in her testimony, she denied
that she was angry over Mr. Tompkins’ affair with another woman
(R. 237).

her sexual relationships with 12 and 13 year old boys (R. 235).4

In May of 1984, while she was voluntarily committed in a
mental hospital, Mrs. DeCarr contacted a psychic.5 Donald Snell
testified at trial that he met Mrs. DeCarr in May, 1984 (R. 123-
24). Snell headed a volunteer group that located missing
children, and employed the services of a psychic to do so (R.
124). A second meeting occurred in early June of 1984, when Mrs.
DeCarr assigned him power of attorney to search for Lisa (R.

6Mrs. DeCarr and her family moved from that residence over a
year before, weeks after Lisa disappeared.

7Tampa Police Department Sergeant Rademaker testified that
Mrs. DeCarr told him that she believed the body “was someplace on
the property and possibly under the house” (R. 170); even though
this interview was conducted after the discovery of the body, “we
didn’t tell her during the interview. We didn’t tell her until
after we were sure what we had” (Id.)

The medical examiner identified the body as being Lisa based
upon information received from Barbara DeCarr. The trial
prosecutor testified in 1989 that “[o]ther than Mrs. DeCarr’s
description of the strange tooth in her daughter’s mouth” there
was no basis for the dental identification (PC-R. 233). There was
no way to determine how long the body had been in the grave, and
that it is possible it could have been as little as six or seven
months prior to June, 1984 (R. 191).

When someone reached under the house, “the
earth gave way” and “saw the bones” (R. 132). The depression was
“on the right hand side under the front part, the front section,
what was the porch” and was about “two to three feet under the
house” (R. 133, 135). The police were then contacted (R. 135).
Snell said that it was not difficult to go under the house to see
where the depression was located, and that there were houses on
both sides of the DeCarr residence, and people from those houses
could see what they were doing (R. 138-39). Snell did not know if
Barbara knew where the body was before he went there, but “just
didn't believe that she was telling me the whole truth” (R. 138;
129). On or around June 6, 1984, Snell’s organization conducted a
search of Barbara’s former house (R. 130-31).6 Snell recounted
that “the house was raised in the front part” and when they
looked under it, “we could see a depression which we were sure
was a grave.” Id.

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