A Turlock woman is asking the Lodi community for any information about her brother, a Lodi resident who hasn’t been heard from in more than a month.
Nancy Galli said her brother Larry Carter disappeared from their mother’s trailer at Tower Park near Terminous on July 31 without a trace, and the family fears he might have been the victim of a homicide.
“It’s very obvious something has happened,” Galli said. “He just wouldn’t take off like that and not tell anyone. Even when he was on the streets, my mom knew where he was and wanted him to call every day.”
Carter, 53, had been homeless about five years ago, Galli said. But when he won the lottery in recent years, he bought a motorhome and started to turn his life around, helping others in need along the way, according to Galli.
He had been living with his mother in Tower Park at the time of his disappearance.
Carter said their mother left the trailer to go to the store around noon on July 31, and when she came back around 4 p.m., Carter was gone.
“Mom didn’t think anything about it,” she said. “But the next morning, he wasn’t there, so she tried calling his phone and it went straight to voicemail. I told her not to worry, he was probably just with friends or with his ex-wife.”
On Aug. 1, Galli said an acquaintance of her brother’s came to her mother’s trailer with Carter’s dog, with which he never parted. He said he had found the dog near Highway 12 and Interstate 5.
When the family asked the man about Carter’s whereabouts, he was surprised to learn he hadn’t returned, she said.
The following day, Carter’s van was found in the same area the dog had been, completely destroyed by fire. A body has not been located, Galli said.
Three days after he disappeared, Carter still hadn’t returned. Calls to his cellphone continued to go to voicemail, Galli said, and that’s when she began to panic.
First the family reported Carter missing to Lodi Police Department, which told them to report his disappearance to the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office.
A few days prior to his disappearance, Galli said, Carter entered into a dispute with a couple living near Highway 12 and Interstate 5, with the man threatening to harm Carter. She did not know what the dispute was about, but she claimed the couple disappeared days after her brother went missing.
She said the male half of the couple was located at the Flying J in Flag City last week, and was in possession of her brother’s belongings.
Galli and relatives located the acquaintance that returned Carter’s dog, and found her brother’s identification, food cards and knife at the man’s residence, she said.
The family alerted detectives with the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office, and on Thursday, the acquaintance was arrested on weapons charges. He was not arrested in connection with Carter’s disappearance, Galli said.
Deputy Sandra Mendez, spokeswoman for the Sheriff’s Office, said the case is actively being investigated and she could not disclose specifics on the case.
The family has reported Carter missing with the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, and has submitted his information to the California Lost and Missing Facebook page, Galli said.
Carter, a veteran, is described as a Caucasian man standing about 6 feet tall and weighing about 225 pounds. He has short, cropped dark brown hair and brown eyes, and part of the middle finger on his right hand is missing.
He has a large eagle tattooed on his upper left arm and “The higher power lives in me” tattooed across his chest.
“I never want to hear again that he left on his own,” Galli said. “He’s been living with our mother. He wouldn’t just up and leave. We’re not talking about someone who went on a vacation.”
To report any information about Carter, call the Sheriff’s Office at 209-468-5087 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, and reference case MP20-17946.