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‘Nobody disliked her’: Remembering Katelyn Markham, woman who disappeared in 2011.

In World
June 09, 2024

When Katelyn Markham’s loved ones see butterflies, they think of her.

Butterflies decorated Creekside Park in Fairfield on Saturday, just one day after Markham’s fiancé John Carter pled guilty to causing her death in Butler County Common Pleas Court.

Supporters of Markham gathered at the park to receive butterfly pins to wear to Carter’s July sentencing and to remember a daughter, sister and friend.

“She was bright, vibrant, coming out of her shell, like a caterpillar becoming a butterfly,” her father Dave Markham said.

He described how Markham would always make new friends on vacation and never wanted anyone to be in a bad mood.

“It’s hard to imagine that somebody would’ve harmed her,” he later added, “because nobody disliked her.”

What happened to Katelyn Markham?

Markham was 21 years old when Carter reported her missing on Aug. 14, 2011.

Friends, relatives, local authorities and a national mounted search group from Texas conducted dozens of searches for Markham. They combed local parks, waterways and areas in Butler and Hamilton counties but found no sign of her.

Katelyn Markham of Fairfield disappeared in 2011.

Katelyn Markham of Fairfield disappeared in 2011.

Markham’s remains were found nearly two years later, on April 7, 2013, in a rural, wooded area at Big Cedar Creek in southeastern Indiana’s Cedar Grove.

Carter was arrested and charged with her murder almost a decade later. Weeks before his trial was set to begin, Carter admitted guilt in causing Markham’s death. In exchange for his plea to involuntary manslaughter, the two murder charges he’d previously faced were dropped.

‘Just so goofy’: Who was Katelyn Markham?

To her loved ones, Markham is so much more than the victim of a convoluted case. Supporters on Saturday repeatedly spoke to the brightness Markham brought to others.

“You would be in a crowded room,” said Michelle Feist, “and she would always make eye contact and show she was listening.”

Katelyn Markham and her dad, Dave Markham.

Katelyn Markham and her dad, Dave Markham.

Feist, now 34 years old, said Markham was her best friend. They met at age 13 in the eighth grade and attended Fairfield High School together. They shared prom, sleepovers, homecoming and bus rides to Markham’s home.

Feist and her mom, Charma Rader, remember Markham as someone who made people laugh.

“Just so goofy,” Feist said.

Rader pointed to a photo of Markham making silly faces. Nearby is a photo of the young woman and her father making fish-like faces. Rader said, “That’s how I think of Katelyn.”

Dave Markham, 63, the father of Katelyn Markham.

Dave Markham, 63, the father of Katelyn Markham.

Markham is also remembered as being a talented artist. When she disappeared, she was just weeks away from finishing her graphic arts degree at the Art Institute of Ohio-Cincinnati.

A call to action

Carter faces a maximum possible sentence of three years in prison. Judge Daniel Haughey will announce Carter’s sentencing in Butler County court on July 18. Markham’s loved ones have a goal before this date.

“I understand that when we think about 36 months, that sounds like nothing,” said Tina Barrett, Dave Markham’s lawyer and co-organizer for Saturday’s event. “Nothing for [Katelyn’s] life. And that’s true. There [are] not enough circles in hell for John Carter to visit.”

“But we need to take all of that feeling that we have and put it behind putting him in prison and keeping him there for the maximum number of days, hours, minutes and seconds that that court can impose.”

Tammy Ulreich ,64, wears a butterfly pin in her hair during Butterflies for Katelyn Markham.

Tammy Ulreich ,64, wears a butterfly pin in her hair during Butterflies for Katelyn Markham.

Barrett encouraged the crowd to wear and share the butterfly pins to show the court the impact Katelyn had on people. She also encouraged listeners to write victim impact statements for the court.

“Probably the most powerful force on this earth is people caring,” she said. “People caring is the only reason that this matter was brought before the court and John was forced to take responsibility.”

“John Carter has always underestimated the power of people caring,” she said. “He thinks he’s going to get probation. I promise you … We can’t let that happen.”

This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Who is Katelyn Markham Fairfield woman who disappeared in 2011

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