Two arrested after missing Alabama woman’s remains found at bottom of cliff

Published 5:23 pm Friday, June 30, 2023

Two people have been arrested and charged with the murder of an Alabama woman reported missing just after Christmas in 2021, whose remains were found this month at the bottom of a canyon.

The crime started on December 27, 2021, when Mary Elizabeth Isbell was reported missing to the Hartselle Police Department by her ex-husband.

Detectives with Hartselle police used phone records to determine Beth was living in the DeKalb County area.

Investigators with DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office, the District Attorney’s Office and agents with the DeKalb County Drug Unit determined the location at which Beth was living in DeKalb County. A search warrant was conducted at that location.

Jacksonville State University’s Center for Applied Forensic processed the location and also the vehicle Beth had been driving.

Physical evidence was recovered from the home and entered into a national database; however, no match was found at that time. Throughout the investigation, numerous leads were received and checked by law enforcement and volunteers, without any success.

On Tuesday, June 20, 2023, DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office investigators received information about the disappearance of Mary Elizabeth Isbell.

Investigators immediately checked the lead and determined it to be credible.

After search warrants were performed, and individuals were interviewed, two arrests were made in the connection with the murder of Mary Elizabeth Isbell.

Loretta Kay Carr, 45, of Fort Payne, was arrested on on Sunday by the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office Special Response Team and charged with capital murder.

Jessie Eden Kelly is currently in custody in Pennsylvania awaiting extradition to Missouri on felony charges. A detainer was placed on Jessie Eden Kelly with Pennsylvania and Missouri for capital murder from DeKalb County Alabama.

On Wednesday, June 28, 2023, remains were found at the Little River Canyon National Park by a search team, consisting of Fischer Rescue Squad, DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office, Fort Payne Police and Fire personnel, Investigators with the District Attorney’s Office and law enforcement with the National Park Service.

Once remains were located, Jacksonville State University’s Center for Applied Forensics were contacted to document and recover the remains. The remains were sent to the Alabama Department of Forensic Science’s Huntsville Laboratory for an examination and identification.

On Friday, June 30, 2023, which would have been Mary Elizabeth Isbell’s 39th birthday, the remains were positively identified by the Alabama Department of Forensic Science as that of Mary Elizabeth Isbell.

WHNT-TV reported that court documents indicate that Carr intentionally pushed Isbell off a cliff.