BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (April 23, 2014) – Ten years after a woman from West Michigan went missing, a private investigator is confident a resolution will come soon.
Mary Lands disappeared 10 years ago, and her family feared the worst. Now, they are hoping circumstantial evidence will be enough to bring about a murder charge.
There have been three different prosecutors in Calhoun County since Mary Lands of Marshall first disappeared 10 years ago. Now, Jim Carlin, the same private investigator who helped find the once-missing Teleka Patrick, has been helping the Lands Family as they wait for answers.
Carlin took the case in 2004, investigating the disappearance of Lands. As a private investigator, Carlin said there has been one suspect all along, Lands’ ex-boyfriend Chris Pratt.
“The family has asked over the years, even though we don’t have a body, to charge (Pratt) if the police have sufficient information and I feel they do,” said Carlin.
Carlin admits the evidence is purely circumstantial. Lands’ jacket that she was known to be wearing when she disappeared, Carlin said Pratt tried to sell it at a flea market. He also said the ex-boyfriend was in possession of Lands’ birth certificate, something she carried with her always.
He said these are just examples of evidence he hopes will produce a murder charge.
“I just feel that this is the year that it is going to happen and I think it’s going to happen real quick,” said Carlin.
Carlin said just the charge of murder could be enough to bring the answer the Lands family has been hoping for.
“I believe that if he was charged, even without a body, he would probably make some kind of a deal, explain what happened and throw himself on the mercy of the court and then the family would be satisfied,” said Carlin.
The Calhoun County Prosecutor is ultimately the person who will decide if there is enough evidence to file charges. Prosecutor David Gilbert told us he is not aware of any new evidence at this time. He told FOX 17 he doesn’t need a body to prove a case of murder.
As for Pratt, Carlin said he is currently out on parole in the Battle Creek area for a prior assault on a separate ex-girlfriend.