The family of a central Arkansas woman who was kidnapped and murdered is suing the real estate firm where she worked, saying the company failed to provide her with training, guidance and tools to keep her safe on the job.
A lawsuit filed Sept. 29 by Beverly Carter's husband and two sons alleges that Crye-Leike Real Estate knew that she faced "life-threatening" dangers while working in the real-estate industry. The firm never trained her to handle such situations or enabled her to prevent them, the suit says.
"Criminally, this matter has been adjudicated; two individuals have been convicted of murder, and have been rightfully imprisoned," the suit's introduction reads. "However, Crye-Leike has not been held responsible for its part in this tragedy."
Carter disappeared in September 2014 after driving to Scott to show a home to a client, later identified by police as Arron Lewis. Her body was discovered bound in duct tape and buried behind a concrete plant where Lewis once worked.
Lewis was sentenced to two life terms in prison. His then-wife, Crystal Lowery, pleaded guilty in Carter's death in exchange for a reduced sentence of 30 years and the requirement that she testify against her husband.
The suit states that Crye-Leike never ran background checks on potential home buyers or encouraged its employees to do so. The firm also didn't encourage its Realtors to travel in groups when showing rural homes or homes to strangers, or encourage them arrange preliminary meetings to prevent acts of deception, according to the filing.
Further, the suit says, the company didn't tell employees to use technology, such as cellphone applications, emergency buttons or GPS tracking, that would alert authorities if they encountered danger on the job.
The suit said one to three unidentified individuals and entities, in addition to Crye-Leike, are believed to be involved or have legal liability in Carter's death.
Read Friday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.