PITTSBURGH, PA (WOWK) – Federal, state and local authorities have announced a new initiative in the search for a woman who disappeared 21 years ago when she was just 10-years-old.
According to the FBI, Natasha “Alex” Carter disappeared from Beckley, West Virginia, along with her mother, Susan Carter, around Aug. 8, 2000. The FBI now says they are offering a $10,000 reward for any information that leads to a resolution in the case.
“Even though it has been 21 years, this case is not sitting on a shelf,” said FBI Pittsburgh Special Agent in Charge Mike Nordwall. “I want Alex’s family and the community to know that we are focused on getting answers in this case and following every lead.”
Authorities say at the time Alex and her mother disappeared, the girl’s mother and father were having a custody dispute and Alex moved in with Susan Carter and her new husband. Alex and Susan vanished not long after the girl moved in. Law enforcement officials say it is believed Susan allegedly abducted Alex and a felony warrant for kidnapping was issued for Susan on Nov. 13, 2000.
According to law enforcement, it is believed they left West Virginia. The FBI’s missing person poster for Susan says she had allegedly told Alex’s father “he would never see his daughter again” and that the girl’s grandmother had told authorities she believed Alex “was afraid of her mother and did not want to live with her.”
The FBI says Alex would turn 32 on Dec. 22. Alex is described as white with blue eyes and a scar above her left eyebrow. At the time of her disappearance, she had blonde hair. Susan Carter is described as white with green eyes and standing 5’6″. She also had blonde hair at the time of the disappearance. Authorities say Susan may also be using the alias “Susan Gail Carter Webb.”
West Virginia State Police and the Beckley Police Department are also involved in the investigation. The FBI says the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children created an age progression photo for Alex.
“The WV State Police is a dedicated partner to this collaborative investigation, and we will continue to assist in all efforts to locate Susan and Natasha,” said LT. Tim Bledsoe with the West Virginia State Police.
“Collaboration is vital for our agencies to be successful, and not just in drug and violent crimes,” said Beckley Police Chief Lonnie Christian. “Each individual agency represented here today possesses various resources and capabilities which allow limited successes. Without joint efforts, each of our agencies are constrained within the boundaries of those limited capabilities. But together, we all benefit from the combined resources, and with that we become so much more. In policing today, we must coordinate and work to support one-another, so that we may provide the most benefit to the many communities we all diligently work to keep safe.”
FBI officials say Lamar Advertising is also donating available billboard space to put Alex’s picture on digital billboards throughout West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky and Pennsylvania to help publicize the case.