MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A woman found dead in an SUV inside a storage container in a remote field in Arkansas likely died of asphyxiation due to carbon monoxide poisoning, the Crittenden County Sheriff’s Department said Wednesday.
Chief Todd Grooms said the remains are believed to belong to Marilane Carter of Kansas, who disappeared in the Mid-South more than two weeks ago as she drove to Alabama for mental health treatment, according to her family. Family and law enforcement had been searching the area for weeks.
Carter’s uncle found her SUV backed into a shipping container down a gravel road off Interstate 55 on Tuesday morning. He alerted county authorities, who had seen the container but hadn’t looked inside.
The remains, discovered Tuesday, have not been positively identified by the Arkansas State Crime Lab, and the cause of death has not been determined by a medical examiner. The coroner’s office confirmed the State Crime Lab picked up the body Wednesday morning.
But Grooms said the vehicle’s ignition was in the run position and evidence showed it had been running inside the closed container. The vehicle was confirmed as Carter’s and one of her credit cards was found inside, authorities said.
“No foul play is suspected at this time,” Grooms said in a statement. “Information gathered from family members concerning her mental and emotional state during her final communications along with facts gathered from the scene have led investigators to believe that Marilane Carter drove the vehicle into the container and in doing so caused her demise.”