Victim: Jackson Carr, six
Ages at time of murder: 10 & 15
Crime location: Lewisville
Crime date: April 15, 2002
Murder method: Asphyxiation & stabbing the neck
Jackson was stabbed in the neck and asphyxiated by his own siblings. His 15-year-old sister and 10-year-old brother buried him in a shallow grave behind their house where he was later found. Both killers confessed.
Authorities found the body of 6-year-old Jackson Car buried in a creek bed behind his suburban Dallas home Tuesday and said his 10-year-old brother and 15-year-old sister had confessed to killing him.
Police say the girl led them to the shallow grave of Jackson Carr about six hours after he was reported missing Monday evening. Jackson’s brother told their parents the boy disappeared after a game of hide-and-seek, sparking a search by police and neighbors.
Jackson was stabbed in the neck and suffocated, the coroner said in ruling the death a homicide. The grave in heavily wooded terrain is about 100 yards from the family’s home.
The siblings were being held at a Denton County detention center on murder charges, police investigator Eddie Barrett said. Formal charges were not immediately filed.
The girl “confessed to killing her brother” and the 10-year-old admitted he held his brother down “during the process of murder,”
“He was a very bright, energetic and lively young man, a precious child they certainly will miss and was well-loved by his classmates,” Gurecky said.
Editor’s note: This story was published in The Dallas Morning News on April 17, 2002.
LEWISVILLE – A 15-year-old Lewisville girl and her 10-year-old brother have confessed to the suffocation and stabbing of their 6-year-old brother, who was found buried in a shallow grave behind their home, police said.
The siblings were taken into custody early Tuesday and will face charges in the death of Jackson Carr. They will appear at a detention hearing Wednesday morning.
The sister “led investigators to the site and said, ‘He’s here, and I killed him,'” Lewisville police Sgt. Richard Douglass said. “The little boy told us … that he helped hold his brother down until he died.”
Police declined to discuss a motive or identify a weapon. The brother and sister are being held in the Denton County Juvenile Detention Center.
The sister could be certified to stand trial as an adult, and both could be confined for up to 40 years.
Their parents, Michael Wayne and Rita Jean Carr, declined to comment Tuesday.
Past and present neighbors said the family had been divided over the years by marital discord and had faced questions about possible child abuse.
Child Protective Services investigated allegations of abuse two months ago and had examined three other complaints since 1998, said Marleigh Meisner, a CPS spokeswoman. No charges were filed and no action was taken against the family, she said.
Neighbors said the children sometimes were left unsupervised. The children could be friendly and helpful individually but were “kind of wild” when they were together, neighbors said.
The children used to attend church with their mother three times a week and weren’t allowed to read Harry Potter books, neighbors said.
They said Jackson, a first-grader at Lewisville’s Central Elementary School, was likable.
“He was some kid, very friendly and outgoing,” said Gene Caughran, a former neighbor. “He was the only one who was normal.”
Flags hung at half-staff Tuesday at Central Elementary. After class, two students said they remembered Jackson as happy and helpful.
“It was very painful to hear what happened,” said Sean Lewis, 10.
“I feel really, really bad,” said Sean’s 9-year-old brother, Bryan.
Karen Lewis said she talked with her sons about the death.
“They wanted to know why,” she said. “They said that is what you call a mean big brother and sister.
“My children would never do that,” the Lewisville resident said. “But then I wonder if these parents thought that their children could never do this.”
Neighbor Janet Ellison said she saw Jackson about 4:30 p.m. Monday riding a bicycle near his home. Mike Houser, another neighbor, said he and others were called to help look for the boy between 5:30 and 6 p.m.
Jackson’s parents called Lewisville police at 6:45 p.m. Monday after his brother told them he couldn’t find the 6-year-old during a game of hide-and-seek.
Searchers included up to 50 police officers, firefighters, neighbors and a volunteer rescue group from Grapevine with four dogs. With the sister’s help, Jackson’s body was found about 1 a.m. Tuesday.
Clothed in jeans, a T-shirt and tennis shoes, the 50-pound body was buried about 100 yards from the family home in the 500 block of Barfknecht Road.
The family moved into the neighborhood seven months ago. Although the parents kept mostly to themselves, the children often played outside, Ms. Ellison said.
“They were mischievous. They got into everything,” she said. Jackson “was just a hyperactive little boy.”
The daughter was friendly, “but she made me feel uncomfortable,” the neighbor said. “She told me she had been in a lot of trouble and that her parents were going to send her off to boarding school.”
Ms. Ellison said she talked to the girl during the search.
“I asked what happened and she said, ‘My brother is missing.’ She said, ‘All the police are making me nervous,'” Ms. Ellison recalled.
Mr. Houser said the girl also talked with him as he joined the search.
“The little girl rode up on a little scooter,” he said. “She said, ‘If they don’t find him, I’m just going to scream.’ But the way she said it, you know, was like nonchalant.”
Mr. Caughran said the daughter was immature for her age.
“She didn’t have any friends in the neighborhood or any friends at school,” he said. “She would say that if anyone made fun of her she would punch them in the face. She didn’t seem to care about not having any friends.”
When her 10-year-old brother wasn’t around, the girl was sometimes helpful to neighbors and wanted to please people, Mr. Caughran said. The older boy was impressionable, he said. His sister “just talks him into stuff. He doesn’t make any decisions.”
Mr. Caughran said the children’s father told him the 10-year-old, who suffers from Tourette’s syndrome and attention-deficit disorder, had been doing better in school because of new medicine.
Neighbor Vicki Smith-Akins said Jackson played at her home most days. It seemed the Carr boys “didn’t want to be alone when they were home” with their sister, she said.
“I never got a sense of evil out of the boys. I got a bad impression of that girl, that she treated the boys badly,” said Ms. Smith-Akins, whose three children often played with the Carr boys.
“I can see … [the 10-year-old] losing his temper, but I can’t see him premeditatedly doing this. But he would have done what he was told.”
The older brother “was always ‘yes, ma’am’ and ‘no, ma’am’ and ‘Miss Vicki.’ He had a sweet streak in him, but he was just ornery.”
Ms. Smith-Akins said she noticed during the search that the girl had mud caked on the back of her jeans. The older brother’s clothing wasn’t muddy, she said.
Ms. Smith-Akins said the girl’s mother told her about problems her daughter had and that recently she had been disciplined at school for using racial slurs.
Children ages 10 and older can face juvenile criminal charges. A juvenile judge ultimately determines the punishment for young offenders. In the traditional system, called indeterminate sentencing, the most severe punishment is a sentence to a Texas Youth Commission facility until age 21.
Since 1990, judges have been able to use stricter guidelines that allow for confinement of up to 40 years.
In those cases, the offenders are re-evaluated when they reach 21 and can be transferred to an adult prison.
Children as young as 13 can be certified to stand trial as adults, depending on the circumstances and the type of crime.
“I think all of us as individuals, as parents, as police, any time you have a child who is hurt or in this case murdered, it’s very hard for the public to handle because it’s children killing children,” Sgt. Douglass said.
Staff writers Richard Abshire, Kendall Anderson, Roy Appleton, Annette Fuller and Robert Tharp, and DallasNews.com staff writers Kimberly Durnan and Walt Zwirko contributed to this report.
L E W I S V I L L E, Texas, April 17, 2002 — Residents of a Texas town are trying to understand why a teenage girl and her 10-year-old brother decided to take the life of their six-year old sibling.
Jackson Carr, 6, went missing Monday evening after what his older brother said was a game of hide-and-seek. Authorities spent hours searching for him before the boys’ 15-year-old sister admitted she killed him and led police to her brother’s shallow grave.
His body was found beneath 2 feet of mud, dirt and debris. He had been asphyxiated and had a stab wound to his neck.
Lewisville police spokesman Richard Douglass said the older brother admitted to assisting his sister in the killing.
“The 10-year-old brother that was the one that was supposed to be playing hide-and-go-seek also admitted to holding down his brother during the murder,” Douglass said.
Janet Ellison, a friend and neighbor of the Carr family, said the 15-year-old could often be heard yelling at both of her brothers.
“When I first met her, she just seemed like a really troubled child,” Ellison said on Good Morning America. “And we knew that something was wrong. She just wasn’t very nice to her brothers. She was very hateful to them,” she said.
Ellison said the two Carr boys always seemed to get along.
Both siblings have run into trouble in the past. They confessed to setting a fire in an elementary school four years ago, according to The Associated Press, but no charges were filed against them, records show.
Mike Houser, a volunteer who joined the search, said he is in shock over the tragic ending.
“The whole thing, talking to the sister, walking by here and not even knowing that the body was here and this happening in the neighborhood, it’s all just devastating,” Houser said.
The siblings were taken into custody Tuesday and detained on murder charges, according to Lewisville police. They appeared at a detention hearing Wednesday.
The police are not commenting on a motive, but they have said important evidence was found in the family’s home. Douglass said the parents are not suspects.
Kathy Glidewell, a neighbor of the Carr family, said she feels sorry for the parents.
“Those people lost all three of their kids in one way, you know,” she said. “It’s sad.”