By 2006, Gary's cold war with police had thawed some, perhaps because by then he had logged hundreds of hours discussing his daughter's investigation with them. Though he paid the bills at home with occasional odd jobs, at one point running a hot-dog cart outside the Broward County Jail, he filled most of his hours with Marissa.

"He was distracting, but you know, it does help out in a way," retired BSO Det. Ray Carmody says. "You work harder for a parent who cares."

Over time, Gary's head became a flow chart of names and dates. In 2006, he called Sunrise police and asked to see the case file on the triple shooting off Oakland Park Boulevard. He was flipping through the pages at the department when he saw the name of Marissa's boyfriend, Coakley.

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.

And that wasn't the only development to come crashing in on the fifth anniversary of the crime.

On November 6, Fox News reported that two BSO deputies had been fatally shot during a routine traffic stop. One of the suspects was Devon Ingraham, the man whom witnesses said had argued with Marissa the night she was killed.

Ingraham and two other Bahamians were arrested without incident at 4 a.m. in Dania Beach the day following the shooting and charged with the deputy's murder.

But Ingraham shed no light on Marissa's case, so Gary headed to the Bahamas in search of Coakley. He spent eight days in Nassau. The Bahamian government fronted the airfare and put him up at the Wyndham Nassau Resort. At the airport, he was met by officers from the Royal Bahamas Police, who provided an escort.

At the Wyndham, he held a news conference, where about a dozen members of the local media listened to Marissa's story. Gary held up 36-by-24-inch photographs of Coakley.

The trip culminated in a phone call. Bahamian police found the man who had been paralyzed in the Sunrise triple shooting. He said he could identify his assailant. Gary figured this information might prove important to linking this crime to his daughter's murder.

But when he presented this evidence to cops back home, no one seemed interested. "Nothing was ever really followed up on," Gary says bluntly. "Nobody wanted to go to the Bahamas to do this the way it should have been done."


On a quiet weekday between Christmas and New Year's, Gary Karp walks the halls of BSO's Criminal Investigation Division, pleasantly chatting up the few cops stuck at their desks while the rest of the office is out.

Even though he's dapper in a dress shirt and dark pants, he seems to carry more mileage than the average 58-year-old. A stroke last summer has slowed him, and his mind — once armed with a total recall of Marissa's case — now struggles to pull up certain details.

The public eye hasn't drifted far from Marissa's case thanks to Gary's persistence over the years. Since 2005, the family has put a yearly billboard on Hallandale Beach Boulevard asking for information. A $12,800 reward awaits anyone with vital information, and the story was featured on a 2012 episode of America's Most Wanted.

Time has vindicated Gary's lone-wolf, long-shot hunches about the killings related to Marissa's end. In August 2011, prosecutors issued an arrest warrant for Coakley and another Bahamian for first-degree murder in the 2002 triple shooting.

"My father is not a detective. My father didn't know what end was up before this, but he managed to put together these things before anyone else," says Josh, admiration caking his voice. "If we had waited for them to do their job, there is a very big possibility we wouldn't be where we are today."

In the years since Gary's trip to the Bahamas, investigators have been able to hammer together further connections between the killings and other members of the drug crew — specifically, after the Sunrise shooting, Coakley handed over the guns to Ingraham for disposal.

If Coakley, who is likely hiding out in the Bahamas, can be forced to describe the night of Marissa's murder in Hallandale Beach, detectives believe the mystery will finally be solved.

But Gary isn't doing any victory laps. "The way I see it, truth, justice, and the American way — it's a crock. It's overrated," he says one afternoon while sitting in a BSO conference room discussing the case. Not long after, he adds, "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."

Gary serves on the board of Crime Stoppers, the department's in-house victims' advocacy group. In that role, he coaches others through grief. He brings a revival-tent intensity to the work as someone who's personally been inside the agony. The pain following a crime, he says, isn't something you can eventually wrestle to a standstill. It's an ever-evolving piece of your makeup.

"There's no closure," he says. "There's learning to live with it."

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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.

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

@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.

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

@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

@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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