The body of missing Arkansas real estate agent Beverly Carter has been recovered in a shallow grave, investigators said early Tuesday — a grim discovery that has “devastated” her family. Carter, 49, went missing Thursday from a home she was showing near Little Rock.
Police say Arron Lewis, 33, admitted to kidnapping Carter after 12 hours of questioning on Monday but would not divulge her whereabouts. However, police obtained information that led to the discovery of her remains buried on a property in Cabot, Arkansas. Lewis pleaded not guilty in Pulaski County court Tuesday morning to charges of kidnapping, capital murder and four counts of a felon in possession of firearms. Initially, he could be heard in court saying that he wanted to “plead guilty and get this over with as quick as I can,” but his defense quickly had him reconsider. He is being held without bond at the Pulaski County Detention Center.
In comments to reporters Tuesday after he was questioned by sheriff’s investigators, Lewis implicated a second man named Trevor, whom he described as a “co-defendant” and said that they had exchanged text messages. But the Pulaski County Sheriff'’s Office said Lewis is the sole suspect. “As far as we’re concerned, we’re not looking for anyone else,” Lt. Carl Manden confirmed to NBC News.
In footage captured earlier Tuesday by NBC affiliate KARK, Lewis was asked by a reporter whether he had killed Carter. He said: “No.” Asked whether he had anything to say to Carter’s family, he said: “I’m sorry.” Lewis was also asked why Carter was targeted, and he said: “She was just a woman that worked alone, a rich broker.” There was no mention made of Trevor during Lewis' court appearance. After he was led from the court house in shackles, he said he was “sorry it happened. I want it all over with.”
Carter’s family released a statement Tuesday morning thanking law enforcement and the community, while acknowledging their deep pain: “We are devastated at the loss of our precious Beverly. There is now a hole in our hearts that will never be filled. Mr. Lewis robbed us of an amazing wife, loving mother and grandmother. Her grandkids will never get to know the magnitude of her greatness.”
— Ron Blome, Erik Ortiz, Elisha Fieldstadt and Jason Cumming