From the beginning, he eyed the investigation with suspicion. It had taken Collier County a month to identify the body. Gary learned investigators had contacted Miami-Dade, but not Broward, about matching their Jane Doe with known runaways. There was also confusion about who was quarterbacking the case. Marissa was found in Collier County, but police believed she had been killed in Broward.

Also, the body had been dumped off I-75. There were no exits along the road, but no one had bothered to pull camera footage or interview staffers manning the toll booths the night of the dump.

"Listen, I'm not a cop, but you would think there was one way in and one way out — it would be common sense," Marissa's brother, Josh, says. "Because of half-assed bullshit, we lost so much groundwork. So many different things could have made a difference."

After a decade, Gary Karp is still pushing for resolution in the murder of his daughter.
Monica McGivern
After a decade, Gary Karp is still pushing for resolution in the murder of his daughter.
After spending time in shelters for troubled youth, Marissa Karp ran from the state in April 2002.
Courtesy of Gary Karp
After spending time in shelters for troubled youth, Marissa Karp ran from the state in April 2002.

Demanding progress reports from tight-lipped cops, Gary pinballed between the Collier County Sheriff's Office and the Broward County Sheriff's Office (BSO). It didn't make him many friends.

"He got a lot of people pissed off," remembers Ray Carmody, a retired BSO detective who was one of the first investigators to work Marissa's case. "You would get something going and he'd want to know right off the bat. He would just keep going after it. I would keep telling him the same thing: 'If I tell you right now, it could wreck the case.' "

Gary was driven, perhaps, by regrets about the way he had dealt with his daughter's grief over her mother's death. "I could have done things differently. I could have been a better father, although I don't think I was a bad father," he says. "If you're an explosives technician, there's not a hell of a lot of room for a mistake. It's the same thing with parenthood. One mistake, you go boom."

Month followed month with no arrests. Gary decided to change his tactics. He started working cops like cops work suspects — bluffing his way into new details when talking with investigators by pretending to know more than he did.

It helped that so many cops from two departments were working different pieces of the case. If a BSO detective mentioned a person of interest named Ingraham, Gary would pivot to Collier.

Through stolen bits and pieces, Gary cobbled together a rough sketch of Marissa's last months. He learned about Sue's Efficiencies and Coakley. In all his years in South Florida, he wasn't sure if he'd ever met a Bahamian. When he saw where his daughter likely died, his mind endlessly staged the possible details of her last moments.

A year after the shooting, the investigation seemed to stall. BSO investigators didn't get anywhere after a first pass at Coakley and other Bahamian associates. No one talked, and there was little evidence. Soon enough, Coakley left the country.

But nobody could talk Gary into quitting. He held yearly news conferences on the anniversary of her death. Each new week meant another round of phone calls to detectives. And he gathered thousands of court documents, including those from seemingly unrelated cases. Whoever killed his daughter was probably involved in other crimes, he reasoned.

"You always want to believe there is more than meets the eye," Gary says. "I just followed my hunches, which is what [cops] do."


When police walked through the door of the nondescript apartment in Sunrise just off Oakland Park Boulevard the morning of October 10, 2002, the living room looked like a slumber party interrupted by trigger play.

Inside apartment 328 at the Boardwalk at Inverrary, a pocket of low-rent apartments painted lipstick pink and pale peach, two men were lying dead on the floor. Twenty-year-old Calvin Russell's face was pressed into a pillow, a gray blanket covering his lower half. Blood flowed from holes where a bullet had punched through the back of his head and out his right cheek. Two additional shots punctured the arms that emerged from his white T-shirt.

Thirty-four-year-old Cardwell Heastie was laid out in a similar position — draped in a gray blanket, his arms gripping a pillow. Gunfire had blasted through his neck and shoulders. A third man had been paralyzed after being shot twice in the hallway.

Cops found $17,000 stuffed in a garbage bag in a back bedroom, records show. Witnesses reported two unknown black men had been spotted nearby that morning, but details were vague. The strongest evidence police had was that one of the men involved went by the nickname "D-Boy."

On October 21, 2002, BSO contacted the Bahamas, where detectives quickly learned the shooting was drug-related, the work of a Bahamian living in Broward named Ryan "Whitey" Woods. He had been hired by a drug dealer for $10,000 to kill the men after some cocaine had been stolen.

Then, in a January 2003 jailhouse interview, cops hit pay dirt. A snitch reported two others had been hired along with Woods to recover the drugs or money. One of them was Marissa Karp's boyfriend, Almanto Coakley.

That wasn't enough for the cops. "There was no confirmation of any of this information to be true," a tepid note in the case file reads. "Detectives did attempt to locate Woods and Coakley in this entire investigation but have never been able to confirm true or positive identifications on either subject."

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10 comments
problum
problum

I felt empathy for Gary Karp until I read this: "I never really believed in the death penalty. Now, you know the saying, 'An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth?' No, two eyes." So Gary never could imagine what a victim's family felt until he became a victim's family member?  I lose all respect for people like this, who are anti-death penalty until a member of their family is murdered and then become pro-death penalty.

MrEFQ
MrEFQ

@problum This says so much about you. You never had empathy for this man. You are pathetic.

erikdenning
erikdenning

@problum Yes, it's ridiculous for someone's views to change after experiencing something so traumatic firsthand. Life experience should never affect our world views.

problum
problum

@MrEFQ @problum Wrong - I had empathy for Karp just like I do for every victim of a crime - I just do not have respect for any person whose viewpoints on crime are only those which have happened to himself personally.  Karp is very narrow-minded, only thinking of himself when it came to the Death Penalty.  At least Karp is finally Pro-Death Penalty - but it took the death of his daughter to change his mind and make him Pro-Death Penalty.

problum
problum

@erikdenning @problum It's very narrow-minded, short-sighted and SELFISH to hold viewpoints that change only when they affect YOU PERSONALLY!  Where was his empathy for other fathers whose daughters had been killed?  He didn't have any empathy for them, just himself.  wah wah wah

problum
problum

@mcytmaccracker You are anti-death penalty because a member of your family is either in prison, on parole or on probation.  Admit it, you know it's true.  Probably STD-infected too.

mcytmaccracker
mcytmaccracker

@problum @MrEFQ I'm anti death penalty, and will dedicate all my efforts henceforth to wrongfully convict a member of your family, just to see if your views change. Because they will. Because you're an idiot.

MrEFQ
MrEFQ

@problum @MrEFQ It is pretty funny that you think you have a valid point.

Anyways, I still don't believe that you ever had empathy for him.

problum
problum

@erikdenning @problum I never stated "all of his views on life only changed when they affected him personally".  That's awfully presumptuous of you. I only stated what was in the article, how he changed from being against the death penalty to wanting to doubly-kill a convicted murderer ("two eyes for an eye") once his daughter was killed.  I have always supported the death penalty and always will without having anyone in my family killed because I have compassion for the victims, including Mr. Karp.  I just don't have respect for him.  And speaking of belligerence - You responded to me to start this flame war.

erikdenning
erikdenning

@problum@erikdenning

 @problum@erikdenning Where did you learn that ALL of his views on life only changed when they affected him personally? This is one specific, and very extreme example. If one of your views changed because of a horrific, life-altering experience, I wouldn't generalize that ALL of your beliefs had the same kind of roots, just as I wouldn't presume from a single posting on the internet that you are a self-righteous and belligerent person.  

"Where was his empathy for other fathers whose daughters had been killed?  He didn't have any empathy for them, just himself." 

Do you know this guy? Do you have transcripts confirming this or something? From where do you have such insight into his heart and mind. And don't say ESP. That would be cheating. 

You seem awfully eager to dislike this guy and you are filling in a lot of blanks with your own presumptions to do it.


 
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