The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the U.S. Marshal led Arizona WANTED Violent Offender Task Force, and the Arizona Department of Public Safety announces the arrest of 46-year old James Ty Flanders for the 2011 Murder of Marie Carlson of Fort Walton Beach. Flanders, former pastor of Calvary Chapel Emerald Coast at 407 Racetrack Road, was taken into custody at his home in Cochise Arizona by members of the Task Force and Department of Public Safety. He was arrested in connection with an Okaloosa County Warrant of Second Degree Murder, signed by Circuit Judge William Stone. (Attached to news release) Investigators with the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office are in Arizona as this case continues to develop.
Carlson’s suspicious disappearance was recently featured on the national television show “Cold Justice” on TNT, bringing national attention to her missing person case. Marie was reportedly last seen on October 17, 2011 by Flanders, the father of her then newborn child, at the home on Revere Avenue that they shared with Flanders’s wife. Flanders told investigators Marie was there when he left the residence between 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. on October 17th. She was later reported missing/endangered to the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office on October 24, 2011 by her ex-husband, Jeff Carlson. Carlson, who resides in Kentucky with his and Marie’s 8 year old daughter, became concerned after being unable to make contact with Marie.
On October 19, 2011, a text message, purportedly from Marie, was received by several people. The text message stated that she (Marie) had left Fort Walton Beach on October 18, 2011 to do something she had always wanted to do. The text did not contain any information as to what this was or where it was to be done. Receivers of this message included James Flanders, her ex-husband Jeff Carlson, and other family members and friends in the Fort Walton Beach area.
Marie’s vehicle was located at the Northwest Florida Regional Airport (NFRA) on October 21, 2011 by James Flanders. The investigation into Marie’s disappearance determined that she did not leave the Fort Walton Beach area by flying out of or renting a vehicle from the NFRA, now known as the Destin – Fort Walton Beach Airport. Flanders was arrested today without incident. His first appearance will take place in Cochise Co. Arizona as determined by their court authorities.