Acquaintances recall John Carter as a ‘great’ person, describe ‘eeriness’ of arrest

‘Great, infectious’ person: Former manager describes John Carter
Published: Mar. 23, 2023 at 5:18 PM EDT
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FOREST PARK, Ohio (WXIX) - John Carter, the former fiancé of Katelyn Markham, was taken into custody Wednesday at Neusole Glassworks where he worked.

On Thursday, Carter’s former manager Nate Freeland talked with FOX19 NOW about the close bond he had with his former employee.

“John was great,” Nate Freeland, Carter’s former manager and friend. “John was awesome to be around. His humor was infectious. His work ethic was infectious.”

A former pupil in a glass-blowing class Carter taught had similar comments. The woman says Carter was “a nice guy” and “genuine.”

“How somebody who could do something so [menacing] could also be somebody so chipper and nice and be somebody you could genuinely want to hang out with or get a drink or something... It really is an eerie feeling I get thinking about it,” she said. “It’s just odd to think about anybody doing something like that and just going on for years and years and years undetected with, like, a normal life as if everything is hunky dory.”

Carter was arrested on Wednesday on two counts of murder in connection with the death of Katelyn Markham. When she disappeared in 2011, the two were engaged.

For five years, Freeland worked as a manager at Neusole Glassworks, where he met Carter.

He says they were close and even talked about Markham.

“Around the anniversary of her disappearance, it’s really hard on him,” Freeland says. “He loved her, and it wasn’t even uncommon that something might have reminded him of Katelyn, and he would have a little story to tell.”

Katelyn was last seen at her Fairfield apartment on Aug. 13, 2011, Fairfield police said at the time.

Her remains were discovered on April 7, 2013, at Big Cedar Creek in southeastern Indiana’s Cedar Grove. A couple was looking for scrap metal and spotted a human jaw in a plastic grocery bag.

“John Carter is not your typical hot head that shows it in public, at least,” says Private Investigator Ryan Green.

The investigator interviewed Carter several times after Markham went missing.

He says Carter’s timeline of events did not match up and specifically pointed to phone records.

“The phone records prove that he was lying or that he was just not remembering,” Green explained.

Fairfield police have said Carter was the last person to see Katelyn alive and called 911 to report her disappearance.

Listen to the call in the video below.

“I know you’re not supposed to report a missing person before 24 hours, but my fiancé is missing, and I can’t find her anywhere,” he said in the call made more than a decade ago.

He went on to say in the 2011 call to 911 they had been discussing a possible move to Colorado.

“We were planning on going in October, and then we pushed back the date to November,” he told the 911 operator. “We could have pushed the date back a year and it would not have mattered. I didn’t want to make her do anything she didn’t want to do, and she did not feel like she was being forced into anything.”

When asked what he meant by “forced,” Carter said, “just going to Colorado, the marriage, the whole thing. It was entirely up to her.”

Carter also said in his 911 call, “a Sacred Heart Festival is going on right up the street, and there are a lot of questionable people there.”

In 2011, Carter explained that statement to FOX19 NOW, saying, “I don’t think it draws shady, sketchy people, but there were so many people there you don’t know everybody’s intentions there.”

Carter’s mother released a statement to FOX19 NOW saying, “I have nothing that I really want to say except John is definitely not guilty.”

Prosecutors are not revealing many details about what led to Carter’s arrest to protect the investigation.

Carter was held overnight without bond at the Butler County Jail and remains there.

His arraignment has been scheduled for Monday, March 27, according to the Butler County prosecutor’s office.

You can learn more about this case by listening to the Cincinnati Crime Vault podcast and can also watch on the FOX19 streaming app.

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