By Trevor Bach
By Francisco Alvarado
By Trevor Bach
By Michael E. Miller
By Allie Conti
By David Villano
By Jose D. Duran
By Michael E. Miller
By 2006, Gary's cold war with police had thawed some, perhaps because by then he had logged hundreds of hours discussing his daughter's investigation with them. Though he paid the bills at home with occasional odd jobs, at one point running a hot-dog cart outside the Broward County Jail, he filled most of his hours with Marissa.
"He was distracting, but you know, it does help out in a way," retired BSO Det. Ray Carmody says. "You work harder for a parent who cares."
Over time, Gary's head became a flow chart of names and dates. In 2006, he called Sunrise police and asked to see the case file on the triple shooting off Oakland Park Boulevard. He was flipping through the pages at the department when he saw the name of Marissa's boyfriend, Coakley.
And that wasn't the only development to come crashing in on the fifth anniversary of the crime.
On November 6, Fox News reported that two BSO deputies had been fatally shot during a routine traffic stop. One of the suspects was Devon Ingraham, the man whom witnesses said had argued with Marissa the night she was killed.
Ingraham and two other Bahamians were arrested without incident at 4 a.m. in Dania Beach the day following the shooting and charged with the deputy's murder.
But Ingraham shed no light on Marissa's case, so Gary headed to the Bahamas in search of Coakley. He spent eight days in Nassau. The Bahamian government fronted the airfare and put him up at the Wyndham Nassau Resort. At the airport, he was met by officers from the Royal Bahamas Police, who provided an escort.
At the Wyndham, he held a news conference, where about a dozen members of the local media listened to Marissa's story. Gary held up 36-by-24-inch photographs of Coakley.
The trip culminated in a phone call. Bahamian police found the man who had been paralyzed in the Sunrise triple shooting. He said he could identify his assailant. Gary figured this information might prove important to linking this crime to his daughter's murder.
But when he presented this evidence to cops back home, no one seemed interested. "Nothing was ever really followed up on," Gary says bluntly. "Nobody wanted to go to the Bahamas to do this the way it should have been done."
On a quiet weekday between Christmas and New Year's, Gary Karp walks the halls of BSO's Criminal Investigation Division, pleasantly chatting up the few cops stuck at their desks while the rest of the office is out.
Even though he's dapper in a dress shirt and dark pants, he seems to carry more mileage than the average 58-year-old. A stroke last summer has slowed him, and his mind — once armed with a total recall of Marissa's case — now struggles to pull up certain details.
The public eye hasn't drifted far from Marissa's case thanks to Gary's persistence over the years. Since 2005, the family has put a yearly billboard on Hallandale Beach Boulevard asking for information. A $12,800 reward awaits anyone with vital information, and the story was featured on a 2012 episode of America's Most Wanted.
Time has vindicated Gary's lone-wolf, long-shot hunches about the killings related to Marissa's end. In August 2011, prosecutors issued an arrest warrant for Coakley and another Bahamian for first-degree murder in the 2002 triple shooting.
"My father is not a detective. My father didn't know what end was up before this, but he managed to put together these things before anyone else," says Josh, admiration caking his voice. "If we had waited for them to do their job, there is a very big possibility we wouldn't be where we are today."
In the years since Gary's trip to the Bahamas, investigators have been able to hammer together further connections between the killings and other members of the drug crew — specifically, after the Sunrise shooting, Coakley handed over the guns to Ingraham for disposal.
If Coakley, who is likely hiding out in the Bahamas, can be forced to describe the night of Marissa's murder in Hallandale Beach, detectives believe the mystery will finally be solved.
But Gary isn't doing any victory laps. "The way I see it, truth, justice, and the American way — it's a crock. It's overrated," he says one afternoon while sitting in a BSO conference room discussing the case. Not long after, he adds, "I never really believed in the death penalty. Now, you know the saying, 'An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth?' No, two eyes."
Gary serves on the board of Crime Stoppers, the department's in-house victims' advocacy group. In that role, he coaches others through grief. He brings a revival-tent intensity to the work as someone who's personally been inside the agony. The pain following a crime, he says, isn't something you can eventually wrestle to a standstill. It's an ever-evolving piece of your makeup.
"There's no closure," he says. "There's learning to live with it."
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Don't give up Mr. Karp. You give hope to loved one's working on unresolved cases and remind the murderer's not to underestimate the determination or ability of a victims' loved one to get to the truth.
Perhaps your article shedding more light on this case will eventually help solve this murder and give some measure of closure to this heartbroken father and brother. This is my first knowledge of it but I will be following in the future.