INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – An Indianapolis murder mystery was in the national spotlight on CBS’ 48 Hours Saturday night.
It’s the story of how IMPD Sergeant William Carter managed to solve a case that had been cold for more than two decades.
The episode of 48 Hours centers around the death of Amy Weidner. She was 16 years old when someone killed her inside her east-side home, with her 2-year-old daughter just in the other room.
Police had worked to solve the case for more than 20 years when Sergeant Carter got involved. 24-Hour News 8 spoke with him Saturday afternoon.
Carter is a nuisance abatement officer, primarily dealing with underage drinking. On Saturday, he told 24-Hour News 8 why he took up the case on his own time, slowly combing through evidence to see what might have been previously overlooked.
“I wasn’t going to claim to be investigating this case because I really wasn’t,” Carter said. “I did at one point talk to her mom—she was very professional—but she did say, ‘Hey, I’ve accepted the fact that I’m not going to know who killed my daughter.’ Just listening to that kind of motivated me.”
That motivation paid off, because in just six months he was able to make an arrest.
After he caught Rodney Denk, a Weidner family friend, 48 Hours caught wind of the story and approached IMPD about working on a piece about the mystery. Carter still keeps in touch with Amy Weidner’s daughter and mother and says they’ve finally got some closure and are working to move on, all these years later.
Carter is also working on another Indianapolis cold case. Carmen Van Huss was killed in her apartment on Harcourt Road in 1993. She was raped and then stabbed more than 50 times. No one has been held responsible for the crime. Carter heard about the case after a tip from an acquaintance and began looking into the murder. He wants his efforts to give her family hope.
“Way too young. 19. She was just getting started. She was just finding who she was and didn’t get a chance to,” said Van Huss’ brother, Jimmy.
Carmen Van Huss was an aspiring artist, working part-time while attending art classes at IUPUI. Her brother has a portfolio of her artwork to make sure he doesn’t forget his sister.
“I was just getting to know her. I would have liked to got to know her more. But I was a freshman in high school when it happened,” said Van Huss.
Van Huss’ father died about ten years later. Jimmy says the murder changed him–he was never the same after his daughter died. Now, the family is looking for closure in Carmen Van Huss’ death.
“It’s something you can never imagine happening, but it happened. And you just kind of try to…there’s no closure though when nobody gets caught. You know, so you kind of just wonder if they’re still out there. If they did something else, or you just never know,” said Van Huss.
But Sergeant William Carter wants answers. He’s re-opened the case, using the same methods he did to solve Amy Weidner’s murder.
“You just approach them as a new set of eyes. If there’s notes in there that said ‘I know this person committed this crime, however I can’t prove it’ I take that into consideration,” said Carter.
First he puts all of the cold-case files into a digital format. He keeps photos, documents and other evidence on a flashdrive. Then, he turns to social media.
“Social media helps to bring these cases back out to re-introduce them to people…people will see those pages and start inter-connecting with one another from the time of the murder and they start remembering things that they didn’t remember, and they’ll start telling another person, ‘Hey, do you remember this?'” said Carter.
He says he’s following leads in the Van Huss murder, and hopes to eventually solve it.
“I tell him thank you every time I talk to him. He always says no thanks needed,” said Van Huss.