Family members of Arkansas real estate agent Beverly Carter, who was murdered in 2014 after being kidnapped from a rural property outside Little Rock, have brought a wrongful death and negligence lawsuit against her brokerage, Crye-Leike. The family alleges that the company failed in its duty to properly train Carter to avoid life-threatening situations in the course of her real estate work. Carter is survived by her husband and two sons, though it is not clear how many family members were involved in filing the suit.
“Crye-Leike had a duty to keep its independent contractors safe while on the job,” the lawsuit states. “This duty includes the duties to provide them with the necessary information, awareness, consulting, training, support, guidance, and technology to keep them safe, especially for use while meeting with prospective buyers for home visits.”
Reached via email by REALTOR® Magazine late Sunday, Carter’s son, Carl Carter Jr., declined to comment on the lawsuit but said he would release a statement through the Beverly Carter Foundation, which he founded following his mother’s death. Neither a representative for Crye-Leike nor the family’s attorney, Bryce Brewer, were immediately available for comment Monday.
Carter’s death three years ago captured national headlines. Authorities launched wide-scale searches after the 50-year-old agent went missing; her body was discovered in a shallow grave near a cement facility about 20 miles away from the property where she was kidnapped. Arron Lewis and Crystal Lowery, a couple, were convicted of kidnapping Carter and murdering her. The couple had planned to hold Carter for ransom, but when their plot went awry, they suffocated her, according to court documents.
The Carter family’s lawsuit claims Crye-Leike did not perform background checks on prospective clients or encourage its sales associates to do so. The family also says the company failed to encourage its associates to travel with partners when showing rural homes to prospective buyers or to set up preliminary meetings with prospects at company offices or public places.
After his mother died, Carl Carter Jr. joined the real estate industry and now works as a sales associate with RE/MAX Elite in North Little Rock, Ark. He has become a national speaker on REALTOR® Safety issues, and recently opened up to REALTOR® Magazine about life since his mother’s murder.
Sources: REALTOR® Magazine;“Family of Murdered REALTOR® Sues Real Estate Company for Negligence,” ArkansasMatters.com (Oct. 13, 2017); and “Family Blames Real Estate Firm for Kidnapping and Murder,” Courthousenews.com (Oct. 3, 2017)