Posted on Wed, Jan. 14, 2004
HALLANDALE BEACH PLEA
Please help get killer, dad sobs
Investigators reveal Tuesday that a teen murdered almost 18 months ago was seen in Hallandale Beach days before her body was found.
BY WANDA J. DeMARZO
HOPING FOR CLUES: Hallandale Police Community Service member Frank Alicea hands out fliers at Sue's Efficiency Apartments, where Marissa lived before her death. JOE RIMKUS JR./HERALD STAFF
PLEA: Gary Karp, father of murdered teen Marissa, with Collier County police detective Paul Cabral. JOE RIMKUS JR./HERALD STAFF
Gary Karp stood in a Hallandale Beach vacant lot on Tuesday and beseeched the public for help in finding the person who killed his daughter, stuffed her in a trash bag and dumped her in a canal.
Karp stood next to Collier County detectives and John Roper of Broward County Crime Stoppers across from the small apartment complex where his 17-year-old lived out her last month.
''Marissa was only 17 when she was murdered,'' Karp said, as he held back tears. ``She was a promising young adult, maybe a little misguided, but she didn't deserve to die like this -- nobody does.''
Investigators, with the help of Hallandale Beach police, stuck fliers, with Crime Stoppers phone number and Marissa's photo, in doorways surrounding Sue's Efficiency Apartments at 104 SE Ninth Ct. They hope to jog the memory of residents and open a dormant 15-month-old homicide case.
On Aug. 19, 2002, an airboat operator spotted a garbage bag on the embankment of the L-28 canal in Collier County along Alligator Alley just north of the Broward County line. Inside was the remains of a small female, a teenager. She had been shot.
It took took more than a month to identify the victim as Marissa, and to determine she had been living as a runaway in the tiny efficiency on Ninth Court. Neighbors said they had seen her the weekend before the body was discovered.
Marissa Karp had run away from a Department of Children & Families building in Pompano Beach.
She was on the DCF's list of 393 missing Florida children and had spent several years in and out of DCF's care.
Her problems began soon after her mother's death in 1996. Her father Gary Karp remarried, and the family showed strain. Marissa began breaking curfew and smoking. She was sent to DCF, to her grandmothers and back to DCF, until being placed in a Broward youth shelter, The Leaf.
When Marissa's time was up at the temporary shelter, she was sent to the Brown School, a facility for troubled youth, but ran away in January 2002. Three months later, Marissa was found in Fort Lauderdale and placed in the DCF building on West Sample Road.
Around 10:30 p.m. April 19, Marissa's caseworker realized the girl had left the shelter. She was never seen again by authorities or her family.
Police have questioned a man in his mid to late 20s known to be living with the teenager at the apartment complex when she was last seen. They say he has not been ruled out as a possible suspect in Marissa's slaying.
''He's now in jail on an unrelated charge, an aggravated assault charge, and has answered detectives questions,'' said Crime Stoppers supervisor John Roper. '
Collier County detectives believe Marissa was killed in Broward County and transported to where her body was found.
''We want to know who did this to her, we want some kind of closure, '' Karp said.
Anyone with any information about the death of Marissa ''Shorty'' Karp should call Crime Stoppers at 954-493-8477.