In Indianapolis, Indiana in the early morning of April 20 1977, Harriet Carr went into her garage and found the car running and her husband, Melvin “Ted” Carr, dead on the floor. It seemed he had collapsed while trying to run a vacuum cleaner hose from the car’s tailpipe to the car’s trunk.
Unfortunately, Harriet’s day was about to get a lot worse.
In the still running car’s trunk, Harriet found the bodies of three other people. The victims were a young mother, Karen Nills, her 2-year-old son, Robert Nills, and a 17-year-old girl named Sandra Harris. A gun was found in Ted’s pocket.
Autopsies found that all four people died of carbon monoxide poisoning. Karen Nills and Sandra Harris had been sexually assaulted. The timeline of events seems to be that Ted Carr kidnapped the three people at gunpoint, sexually assaulted the women, and then forced them into the trunk of the car where he murdered them with carbon monoxide. It’s thought that he died when he opened the car’s trunk to either check on the victims or begin disposing of the bodies. He inhaled too much carbon monoxide, collapsed, and died on the floor of his garage.
30 years earlier, Ted Carr had been arrested for kidnapping a hitchhiking couple at gunpoint and raping one of them. Those charges were dropped.
In 1967, it’s suspected that Ted Carr abducted and killed a woman he knew and her daughter, Lois and Karen Williams.
Around this time the wife of Ted Carr’s coworker, Maurine Campbell, believes she was almost murdered by Carr. She says one night while her husband was working his usual night shift, Carr called her and said he was in the hospital and asked her to please go to his garage and see if he had left the light on. Knowing the rumors about Carr, Campbell declined to help him.
In 1971 he grifted an elderly woman out of so much money, she had only $30 to her name when he was done with her. There were no charges in this case.
Ted Carr was also known to groom children. He was not charged for sexually assaulting one girl but he did finally serve some time for kidnapping another girl and taking her to Mexico. While in jail, guards noticed him drawing sketches and making plans to commit murder, but he was still released early after only three years.
We know how 1977 ended for Ted Carr. What we don’t know is how many people he was able to victimize before he died. For whatever reason, it seems he had a relatively easy time getting out of trouble any time he was caught or questioned. His own wife didn’t know he was a serial killer until he died. What other secrets died along with Ted Carr?
Unlike other serial killers, Ted Carr has not been covered much by the media. Reddit user u/TheBonesOfAutumn has compiled the most exhaustive summary of his crimes here. There is also an Imgur album of old newspaper articles related to Carr here.