Someone savagely killed 19-year-old Carina Saunders, and people are literally dying to find out who committed the murder.
The mystery began October 13, 2011, with the gruesome discovery of Carina’s youthful body -- dismembered and discarded in bags in an obscure field in Bethany, Okla.
For more than a decade, investigators have chased leads to no end. Suspects have come and gone, and people who asked too many questions met tragic ends. So why, then are we digging into this dangerous case?
Because the truth needs to be revealed.
I’m Lisa Monahan, an investigative journalist and state-licensed private investigator. I’ve covered crime my entire career, and no case has intrigued, frustrated, and haunted me as this one has.
The killer or killers were so inconceivably cruel that I feel compelled to find answers -- for Carina’s family, and for my own peace of mind. Who would commit such a heinous crime, and why?! What was the motive? And perhaps most concerning: is the killer walking among us?
In this special presentation, 'Dying for Answers,' photojournalist Mike Weber and I immerse ourselves in a dark underworld to find new witnesses, uncover hidden evidence, and expose what happened to Carina Saunders -- all in an effort to bring justice and peace to her family.
They have suffered for years and deserve answers.
But answers don’t come without cost in this agonizing mystery. Still, we must ask: who killed Carina and why?
Carina Brianne Saunders was born on July 17, 1992, to Margie Queen and Richard Saunders in Oklahoma City. Saunders’ parents say she was a happy baby, a precocious little girl, and a curious teenager.
From a very young age, Carina was considered a free spirit. Carina made friends effortlessly but chose to graduate early from high school to gain her independence. Before graduating from Mustang High School in 2010, Carina won spelling bees, mathlete competitions, and even a spot in the honor choir. Carina had a remarkable voice and dreamt of performing in the opera. If that didn’t work out, she’d pursue a career as an accountant.
She seemed to have accounted for everything – other than a drug addiction.
It was shortly after Carina moved out on her own that she began experimenting with drugs. Carina’s parents repeatedly tried to intervene in her newfound lifestyle, but it only made Carina more reclusive. Although she made several attempts at sobriety, the parents believe that it was ultimately Carina’s connection to OKC’s drug trade that led to her demise.
In October 2020, the OSBI released this composite sketch of a man who was seen in the area of Northwest 23rd Street and Rockwell Avenue around the time Carina Saunders’ body was found. Investigators would like to speak with him for more information.
If you - or anyone you know - has information on this case, please contact the OSBI.
Tips can be called in to 1-800-522-8017 or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Carina Brianne Saunders was more than a “body in a duffel bag.” She was a beautiful 19-year-old with big dreams, according to her parents. Carina was born on July 17, 1992, and almost immediately discovered her unique ability to bring smiles to the faces of her loved ones. Her parents say that she was a happy baby, a precocious little girl, and a curious teenager.
“I hold onto that experience in my darkest days.”
Margie Queen is often reminded of the last day she spent with her daughter. They attended church together (a rare occurrence for Carina after moving away from home) within weeks of Carina's disappearance. During the visit, Margie says Carina…
“If I could have one more day with her then I wouldn’t say anything…I’d just hold her.”
Richard Saunders refuses to give up on justice for his daughter. Carina was his first born and the two shared a unique friendship. Richards says Carina knew to call him if she was ever in trouble and he would be there for her. He says that he got the call …
“Carina was my very first best friend.”
Kathryn and Carina were close, more like sisters than cousins. Kathryn and Carina were close, more like sisters than cousins. In fact, Carina had been staying with her for about a week before making a final post to Facebook. Carina posted the question on…
“I am not a monster, I am not a kidnapper, I am not a murderer.” Jimmy Lee Massey, also known as “Big Country,” is on a personal quest for vindication in the murder of 19-year-old Carina Saunders. Massey submitted to a polygraph test and met with Carina’s parents in hopes of clearing his name.
“They [Bethany Police Detectives] manipulated known drug addicts, falsified law enforcement reports… and coerced a confession.” Luis Ruiz was charged, along with Jimmy Massey, for the murder of Carina Saunders in 2012. Ruiz was implicated by a woman who claimed that she was with Carina…
Kenny Richards is a person of interest in the murder of Carina Saunders, according to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. Saunders was last seen by her cousin getting into Richard’s SUV at a Taco Bell near I-40 and Rockwell on September 28, 2011. At the time, Carina was 19-years-old…
“This is not going away… I’m not going away.” OSBI Special Agent Meghan Bowman is the lead agent on the Carina Saunders’ murder investigation. Bowman is one of…
“I will think about this case every day of my life and every day I say a prayer that the killers will be brought to justice.” For 30 years, Chief Phil Cole has served as a peace officer in Bethany.
“I am hopeful that someday we will find the killer so that the family of Carina Saunders will have answers as to how and why she was killed. If there is ever a credible case on a suspect, …
“I will never forget this case.” Dr. Pfeifer was new to Oklahoma and the state medical examiner’s office when Carina Saunders’ body turned up in bags. He did not personally perform …
“There is one person in the world that you cannot lie to and that is yourself.” Kyle Franks is the owner and operator of Accurate Solutions Incorporated, which provides professional polygraph…
“The analysis of all five charts revealed Mr. Massey showed NO DECEPTION INDICATED” David Otwell is a certified polygraph examiner licensed in the State of Oklahoma and is an active member of …
Carina Saunders,19, of Mustang, disappeared in 2011. She was missing for two weeks before her dismembered body was found in a pair of bags behind a grocery store near Northwest 23rd Street and Rockwell Avenue in Bethany.
The murder investigation, plagued with twists and turns, remains unsolved 9 years later.
Warning:Due to the graphic nature of the crime some of the following content may be considered disturbing.
Carina checked in at Valley Hope Rehabilitation. She left the program early and moved to Konawa, OK with a man she met in rehab.
Carina visits her father, Richard Saunders.
Saunders drops Carina off at baby shower with her high school friends.
Carina sleeps at her mother’s house in Mustang.
Carina attended church with her mother, Margie Queen. She gave her life to Christ.
After spending the day together, Queen takes Carina back to Konowa, Ok.
Carina and her mother said goodbye for the last time.
Carina leaves Konowa, OK and is dropped off in Valley Brook.
Approximate dates Carina stayed at her cousin’s house in N.E. OKC
Carina's cousin, Kathryn Jo Bloodworth, dropped her off at the Taco Bell near Interstate 40 & Rockwell Avenue.
Carina got into a Chevy Blazer with a man police identified as Kenny Richards. This is the last time anyone in Carina's family saw her alive.
Carina is spotted by a high school friend at the Studio 41 Apartments near Northwest 41st Street & MacArthur Boulevard.
Carina and Judy Roberts stay at James Donaldson’s house. Carina becomes hallucinatory and leaves with Roberts and unknown Hispanic man, according to a search warrant.
Carina is spotted on surveillance cameras at the Newcastle Casino.
Investigators say the video shows Carina getting into a red four-door Ford pickup with a brush guard and lights on the top.
Carina's cousin, Kathryn Jo Bloodworth, received threatening text messages from Kyle Savage. Savage reportedly knew Carina for two years. Investigators indicated Savage had been messaging Carina for two weeks prior to her disappearance. On this day, Savage messaged Bloodworth that he was going to bury her next to Carina.
Bloodworth filed a threatening text message report with the Oklahoma City Police Department. OCPD redacted several details of the threatening texts prior to releasing its report to local journalists.
Carina's mother and cousin filed a missing persons report with OCPD.
Carina called R.C. Reid and said she was okay and hanging out with some people.
The threatening texts the cousin received the day prior are referenced, although redacted, in the report.
Approximate date of Carina Saunders’ death.
Two people were feeding feral cats in the field behind the grocery store at Northwest 23rd Street & Rockwell Avenue and stumbled upon two bags. They called Bethany Police and reported a foul odor to the 911 dispatch operator.
Bethany Police arrived at the area and discovered the dismembered remains of a young woman. Investigators announced the remains were wrapped in plastic and placed in a black Nike duffel bag and smaller black laundry bag.Body Found In Duffel Bag In Bethany Field Bethany Police Ask For Public's Help Solving Carina Saunders' Murder
Bethany Police met with Carina's family to ask for dental records.Carina Saunders' Parents Talk To News 9 About Daughter's Death
The state medical examiner positively identified the remains as 19-year-old Carina Saunders.Body Found In Duffel Bag In Bethany Identified As Missing Teen
An arrest warrant is issued for Jimmy Lee Massey related to a drug trafficking investigation. Bethany Police arrest and interrogate him.Man Arrested In Drug Bust May Provide Leads In Bethany Murder
Bethany Police obtain an arrest warrant on Jimmy Lee Massey for first-degree murder.Bethany Police Arrest Man, Seek Person Of Interest In Carina Saunders Murder
Bethany Police detectives, along with an OCPD detective, serve a search warrant at apartment in the Will Rogers Court Complex.
Police said Massey confessed to witnessing the torture and killing of Carina Saunders. The apartment is one location that witnesses named as the crime scene.
Police find blood, blood spatter, strands of hair, and a machete.
Forensic tests proved the items were not a match to Carina, according to investigators.Documents Shed New Light On Carina Saunders' Murder
The state medical examiner officially rules the death of Carina Saunders a homicide. The M.E. determined the cause of death was “violent death.”M.E. Officially Rules On Carina Saunders' Death
An arrest warrant is issued for Luis Ruiz in connection to the murder.
Witnesses claimed he orchestrated the torture and killing of Carina.More Details Released In Arrest Of Suspect In Carina Saunders' Murder
Oklahoma County prosecutors filed first-degree murder charges against Massey and Ruiz.Two Accused Killers Charged With Murder Of Carina Saunders
The state medical examiner released the autopsy report on Carina Saunders.Medical Examiner Releases Autopsy Report For Carina Saunders
Bethany Police announced the investigation would be turned over to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation citing the need for a fresh perspective.
The Bethany Police Department later terminated the case detectives Jack Jencks and Austin Warfield, though both were reinstated after arbitration.
Neither are currently working for BPD.New Developments In Carina Saunders Murder Case OSBI Officially Opens Investigation Into Carina Saunders' Murder Case Bethany Fires Police Officer Who Investigated Carina Saunders Case
Oklahoma County Prosecutors dismiss the murder charges against Massey & Ruiz citing insufficient evidence.
Luis Ruiz was released from jail.
Massey was not released from jail as he was serving a prison sentence for drug trafficking.Murder Charges Dismissed Against Suspects In Case Of Dismembered Bethany Woman
The OSBI officially received the case.
Luis Ruiz sues the Bethany Police Department for wrongful arrest. The city settled the lawsuit for $50,000 in 2016.Former Suspect In Saunders Murder Files Lawsuit Against Bethany Police
The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation offers a $10,000 reward for video evidence of the murder. OSBI also releases photos of a red Ford four-door pickup that was captured by security cameras on October 8, 2011, at the Newcastle Casino. Carina was last seen getting into that truck with an unidentified man with sleeve tattoos.OSBI Investigator Urges Witnesses In Carina Saunders Murder To Come Forward OSBI Offers $10K Reward For Possible Video Evidence In Carina Saunders Murder
OSBI conducted a three-day excavation at the former home of Kenny Richards, a person of interest in the case.
Investigators found “several items of interest” including a woman’s shirt, jacket, sandals and a knife.Court Documents Detail Possible Evidence Found In Connection With Carina Saunders Case
An anonymous donor offered a $50,000 reward for video of the killing.Carina Saunders' Sister Speaks Out After New $50K Reward Offered OKC Volunteers Post Reward Fliers For Video In Carina Saunders Murder Carina Saunders’ Parents: Renewed Sense of Hope
The OSBI filed search warrant for records from Kyle Savage’s Facebook account. Investigators say Kyle Savage sent threatening messages to Carina Saunders and her cousin.OSBI Files Search Warrant In Connection To Person Of Interest In Carina Saunders Case
The OSBI filed a search warrant for Kyle Savage’s cell phone records.OSBI Files New Warrant, Requests Phone Records Of Person Of Interest In Carina Saunders Case
The OSBI released a composite sketch of a man who was seen in the area of Northwest 23rd Street and Rockwell Avenue around the time Carina Saunders’ body was found in a pair of bags behind the grocery store. Investigators would like to speak with him for more information.
The OSBI filed a search warrant for Carina Saunders’ emails.
The OSBI reinstates the $10,000 reward for information that will lead to the arrest and conviction of Carina Saunders’ killer(s). If you or anyone you know has information about this case please notify the OSBI.October Marks Ninth Anniversary Of Unsolved Teenager’s Murder
Warning:Due to the graphic nature of the crime some of the following content may be considered disturbing.