Months after leg washes ashore, Kelly Moriarty's family still awaits answers

3:56 PM, Oct 11, 2012   |    comments
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Authorities are hoping a recent picture of Doris Carter and Kelly Moriarty will help them get leads on their case
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 PDF Document: Charles Moriarty statement

Bradenton, Florida -- It's been nearly 10 months now since 38-year-old Kelly Moriarty disappeared, and with no arrests her family has become increasingly frustrated.

"Why? Why did this happen? Who would do such a thing? I can't understand," says Moriarty's mother, Grace. "I don't know what they have to do. I just hope they do it," she says of law enforcement's effort to bring her daughter's killer to justice.

Kelly Moriarty's severed leg washed ashore behind a home in St. Petersburg just days after she was last seen with her 62-year-old girlfriend, Doris Carter.

Neither woman has been seen nor heard from since December 17th.  Both are presumed dead.

Moriarty's brother, Brenden, still wonder if perhaps the couple's sexuality "may have led to their death. You'd hope to think that that's not the case, but we really do," said Brenden.

The Hillsborough County sheriff's office recently offered the Moriarty family an opportunity to make a public plea for information in the case at a news conference. But the family says the offer came with a stipulation that their criticism of over a perceived lack of cooperation between law enforcement agencies involved in the case not be discussed.

The family declined.

"That was our understanding that we would... we would preferably not discuss during that press conference. And I think it's part of the entire case," said Brenden.

Part of the frustration has always been jurisdiction in the case.

Moriarty's severed leg was recovered by St. Petersburg police.  But the women disappeared from Plant City in Hillsborough County, which is how HCSO joined in. Moriarty's family reported her missing to Bradenton police in January, which got that agency involved. And Moriarty's abandoned black Cadillac was found on Highway 62 by Manatee County deputies, bringing them into the case as well.

"And there seems to be a little bit of miscommunication between the departments," said Moriarty's father Charles, who is still trying to be diplomatic, knowing they are relying on investigators to find his daughter's killer.

In the meantime, months pass.

When Kelly's birthday came and went this summer, her mother Grace clung to a small urn containing her daughter's ashes. The urn was small, because all they had to cremate was Kelly's leg.

"It's on my dresser, with her pictures," Grace said, starting to cry. "That's all."

The Moriarty family was also willing to share some details of the case investigators had been reluctant to release up to this point.

Not only did they bring up the issue of the women's sexuality as a possible factor, they also spoke about where they think the two were murdered.

While Moriarty's car was found along the highway near Bradenton still in working condition, the last detected location of the women's cell phones was just north of Plant City.

That's led Charles Moriarty to conclude the women "never left Plant City alive."

Relatives say they they're also frustrated by an almost callous dismissal of their plea for results. They've written 16 letters to government officials, police agencies involved and more, but have only gotten five responses.

"I know it's an investigation and they can't tell us everything," said Charles, "But at least give us the courtesy of a phone call once in a while."

The family wants action, progress and more cooperation between the police agencies involved.

It's not just for closure in their case, they insist, but because a killer is still at large. 

"There's a butcher out there," said Grace Moriarty. "Your wife, your daughter, your sister, your mother. He could do this - or she - could do it to another person. Doesn't that concern you? It would me."

The family says a few times there appeared to be a break in the case, but so far nothing has panned out.

Recently some human bones were discovered at Egmont Key near the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. The family is anxiously awaiting DNA tests on those remains. 

If you have any information in this case, contact the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

READ: A statement issued by Charles Moriarty (PDF)

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