Carla Rebecca Corley: Teen missing since 1980

Carla CorleyCarla Rebecca Corley, age 14, disappeared from her home at the Eastwood Projects in Birmingham, Alabama on August 12, 1980 (some reports say August 8).

That night, Carla and her mother were watching television together. Carla’s mom eventually went to bed; Carla stayed up. The next morning Carla’s mom awoke to the sound of the television channel going off air for the night (Back then, TV stations did not air shows all night, only up to a certain time).

Chairs had been pushed back from the living room table and a soda bottle overturned. Carla’s sandals were on the floor in the same spot she had left them the night before. Her belt was found outside the exterior door; the door itself was standing wide open.

All of Carla’s belongings, including her purse, money and seizure medications, were still inside the apartment.

18 years after Carla disappeared, police received information that in July 1980, Carla had been abducted by a group of men, taken to a nearby lake and raped. The attack lasted three hours before the men took Carla home. However, Birmingham Police said no police report was ever filed over that.

A week before Carla disappeared, this same group of men showed up at Carla’s home but she did not let them in.

According to her sister, Carla had seen something that could have had the men convicted.

Carla’s family believes this group of men is responsible for Carla’s abduction, rape, and murder.

An investigator close to the case told WBRC that “someone came forward and said Carla had been seen seen around green track in south Alabama and she was well and she was doing what she wanted to do and was just a runaway.”

Almost 36 years later, Carla remains missing. If alive, Carla would be 50 years old.

Several years after Carla went missing, her mother had her declared legally dead.

The case is still open. Anyone with information about it can contact the Birmingham Homicide unit at -205-254-1764, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST, or Crime Stoppers at 205-254-7777.

Sources: The Charley Project, WIAT.com

True Crime Diva’s Thoughts

The names of the group of men who allegedly kidnapped and raped Carla in July 1980 have never been released as far as I can tell. I am assuming all or some of them lived at Eastwood Projects.

If the gang rape did occur prior to Carla’s disappearance, then I have to wonder why she wasn’t killed then, especially if she saw something that she shouldn’t have seen. Why did the group let her go? If the group is responsible for her disappearance, why did they take her this time and not let her go?

If the first abduction and rape was committed to scare her into not talking about whatever Carla had seen, I would assume that would haven done the trick. I don’t think Carla would have been dumb enough to threaten this group of men about going to the police after that traumatic experience. I think she would have been scared shitless of them. Perhaps the real killer knew about the gang rape and wanted to pin her murder on the group.

And I have to ask why did it take 18 years before police received information about the abduction and gang rape?

What was the relationship like between Carla and her mother? I’d like to know. After all, her mother was the last known person to see her, and all the info we have about the final moments leading up to Carla’s disappearance comes from her mother. In one article I read, Carla’s older sister Cat, who did not reside with Carla, explained how they always talked with one another on the phone. Carla would always call at a certain time every day. When Cat hadn’t heard from Carla, she called their mom who said Carla was staying at a friend’s house.  So, why would the mother lie to the sister? Only after confronting her did the mom tell the story about watching TV and then going to bed. Now, I’m not saying that I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that the mom is hiding something, but one does have to wonder. Changing stories is never good.

Carla’s mom claimed that she woke up when she heard the television channel go off air for the night. She heard that but didn’t hear anything regarding Carla being taken from the house?  The mom had also said that the time she woke up was around 4:30 a.m. Well, back then TV stations stopped airing shows for the night way before then. This was called sign-off and almost always occurred during the overnight hours, typically starting between 11:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m. Sign-on would begin between 5:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. So, if the mom awoke to the sign-off, it was way before 4:30 a.m.

To me, it feels as if the crime scene was staged. If she was abducted, I would think there would have been more evidence suggesting a struggle took place. All we have are chairs pushed back from a table; they were not overturned. The soda can was the only thing overturned. Some reports do say that furniture was knocked over, but I don’t know if that is true or not. Of course, if it is true, then there’s the evidence of a struggle. It’s so irritating reading different versions of what happened. All reports should be the same!

If there was a struggle, how did Carla’s mom NOT hear that but heard when sign-off occurred on the television? She didn’t hear chairs being knocked over?

And the belt, well, that’s just strange, isn’t it? I mean, how did the belt get off of her? Why was the belt found but not her pants or any other clothing she had on that night?

What about fingerprints? Did the police find any in the apartment?

I don’t believe the group of young men kidnapped and killed Carla. I think if this had occurred someone would have talked by now, whether that was one of the men or someone they told.  I also think they would have inadvertently left behind evidence of some sort.

I’m not convinced that Carla didn’t run away. I know from experience that some children run away without taking any personal belongings with them. It’s not unheard of. Someone else could have helped her out.  She could have made the apartment look like a kidnapping.

One last thought. If police believed Carla was a runaway and alive, how could her mother have her declared legally dead? Why did her mother do this without any evidence suggesting she was dead?

I could not find any info on Carla’s mom, not even a name. I found an old Facebook page set up in Carla’s name but it has not been active since 2011.

There was a similar case in July 1988. Brenda Kay Green, 15, was last seen in Abernant, AL, about 35 miles southwest of Birmingham. Brenda lived in Brookwood, AL but was visiting friends in Abernant when she went missing. Brenda and Carla both had brown hair, were around the same age and close in weight and height and disappeared during the summer. Both have never been found.

I hate the fact that almost 36 years later, there has been no justice for this young girl. That is an injustice in itself.

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Author: truecrimediva

True crime blogger

  • I noted the “TV sign-off” part of the story and remember that stuff. When I remember it from would probably be the mid-late 1980’s and early 1990’s. I remember them signing off earlier (2:00 or so) earlier during the week and have movies on until about 4:00 weekends. That was a little later so I know things were probably different in 1980 (I was a baby then so don’t remember). That kind of is the short time of advancements and stuff (i.e. vinyl > tapes > CD’s, etc). Shortly after when I was talking about, when I actually watched TV as a kid, it started to be infomercials and church shoes rather than a “sign” off.

    And Brenda is shown what she looks with blonde hair (she apparently bleached frequently) and I can’t tell if her or Corley would look alike as with dark hair. If she were blonde. She kind of looks totally different with blonde hair and nothing like Corley. then.

  • Josette

    Wow this is a interesting sad story. I think it is possible the mother not be able to hear if a struggle went on. Perhaps she did hear something and think it was just the tv show/noise and went back to sleep without thinking about it. I do it a lot when I fall asleep with a DVD in and fade in and out when the music of the dvd plays thinking the movie was still on. I am a extremely light sleeper and wake up numerous times a night and not remember all of them.
    I think the gang rape story is the part of her murder if in fact she is no longer with us. I feel like either a) one of the 3 had enough morals not to kill her at the time of the rape and she was allowed to live, like in the Brandon Teena story later silence her when the rape story got out. B) or the murder/raped happened on the very same night and perhaps one of the guilty guys told someone to make it seem like he only was involved in the rape not murder.

    Keep up the great work you are doing with the blogs.

    • Cat Corley

      Grateful that you at least thinking of Carla, however the names of suspects are not released for good reason at this time, you are correct mother’s story should not be changed, as far as runaway I take great insult to that, for Carla would have talk with me,she had lived with me prior, there are lots of facts that can not be disclosed at this time, and detectives held back on info about suspects for several reasons.Like how you did with time frame. However does not line up as you say, can tell you since i am the contact for all LE, NCMEC, and other AGENCIES on behave of Carla, and for the first 17 yrs, spending 365, BPD, Missing person dept, and now for many years, BPD Homicide, should have just gave me a bed there for i practically lived there, it has been very frustrating (the word is not sufficient to describe) for myself and the seasoned and real/caring detectives, and DA’S and DEPT.OF JUSTICE,and NCMEC, because of what we do know, i want so bad to blast all we know, but it would hurt Carla’s case and alleged other victims, we have to use the word alleged for legal reasons. Love a couple of your questions, 1.Belt? that was found outside, wished could tell you more about that.2. Why did mother have her declared dead, and might add, the timeline insurance requires to collect, oh well went this far with you, why not add another question you ask, Why did it take 18 yrs for us to learn of the clan (not gang)? Very good ???, that has now been made public, and not by LE or myself, reporters are allowed to like you did to public info, though it hurts the victims, so not just the fact we did not hear of this for almost a generation shocked us, but what the potential damage to the cases, again wished i could answer you, but i will not let Carla nor, other alleged victims of these alleged suspects, be revictimised. Can tell where you say someone would be talking about it by now, they have and are, these alleged suspects are notorious, and bragged to many about the evil deeds, so many were scared to have testified for a long time. It is horrific what they did to all that we know of especially the one’s/one in particular that did testify, I Pray that I haven’t said to much, I Pray you would not state such as runaway about Carla again, be careful these are innocent children, and laws make it very delicate to tread, on the facts for now, can tell you I do believe justice will prevail and all will be made known. It is so hard to FATHOM the horrific evil these people have done and bragged to people,or that this even happens to anyone, it has been and is at this moment, so hard to except Carla not being here, or why and what really happened to her, words can not describe what is like to have a child missing (though my baby sister), she was more like my child for reasons i cannot speak of at this time, and what one goes through to find the answers, the pain, the energy,time, the pressing, the endurance, and the loses of yes monies, but friends and marriage, jobs, etc… because you have to keep it alive/open push it, and whom want’s to listen to it for 24/7-365 for now going on 36 yrs, so you don’t talk about to others the way its happening in myself like that, your told how strong, yet really your, breaking, shattered inside. See as now I rarely get to talk about Carla except to LE Agencies, and its not about how wonderful she was and all the sweetness and amazing person she was, its cruel, and evil details about what happened. If you want to talk about Carla dig in read all, and take note some of the reports are misquoted and mixed up, and edited, there is 1989 news reel the tells show us our first story of mother and other that we hear news from that what? The reason for facebook not posted since 2011, due to illness and taunting from alleged family, and loss of info connection, and now illness again so yaay made it back in, these people have such a cluster of clan on fb and alike and are listening and watching, and things have changed on how privacy is on fb and alike. Pray this does help you to see that things can get so distorted, and that harms us whom await closure for our love ones.

      • Cat Corley, My name is Jessica Capel, If you would like some psychic insight on this case i will be happy to help in any way. My sister is also a Psychic Medium and I have a few friends that are also, and we have a page on facebook called Gifted spiritual Readers For Missing Children & People Etc And all you have to do is join the page and then post a picture of your sister. All you have to say as the caption is that she has been missing for a long time. And also it is free, some of the psychics charge but because im an Administrator of the page ill mark it as free. you can Contact me on Facebook also, my name on there is Jess Capel ! Hope i here from you soon ! <3

      • Cat Corley, My name is Jessica Capel, If you would like some psychic insight on this case i will be happy to help in any way. My sister is also a Psychic Medium and i have a few friends that are also, we have a page on Facebook called Gifted spiritual Readers For Missing Children & People Etc And all you have to do is join the page and then post a picture of your sister. All you have to say on the caption of the picture is that She has been missing for a long time and really would like a reading. And also its free. Some of the other psychics charge but because im an Administrator of the page Ill mark it as free. You can Message me on Facebook, my name on there is Jess Capel. I hope i hear from you soon. Anything can help !!! <3

      • Marissa

        Hello Cat,

        My name is Marissa And I have been all kinds of interested in Carla’s case. Probably because I have lived in the Birmingham area my whole life and had never once heard of Carla’s story until about a year ago when I got curious to know if there were any long term missing people from Bham. It saddens me that it has been 38 years of no justice for Carla (although I’m sure justice is on its way) and it irritates me (just like you) that some people still think that she could be a possible runaway. I know that at 14 years old kids are still maturing and all that but I don’t think -even at 14 years old- someone would completely blow off a Medical condition as serious as Carla’s and leave medicine behind. I also noticed that some of the sources (specifically news paper sources) seem to be contradicting and questionable not to mention confusing and untrustworthy!

        I have been trying to find out the truth for some time now and I am hoping that I could ask you some questions. I know there is information that can’t be given out given that this is an on going case but there is an amazing man named John Lordan on YouTube who does wonders for missing/unsolved cases such as Carla’s even if it’s just getting the word out there and I have been trying to get him to do a story on Carla for a while but I don’t trust any of the information from all the news sources I found. And without the right information he can’t do a good story on Carla’s dissapearance. I was hoping that maybe you could enlighten me on what the real information is so we can get things straight. And stop all the faulty accusations. I don’t want to know any information that could be damaging to the case and I respect your decision not to talk about it. But i would love to be able to shed light on the true facts of Carla’s case and not some made up nonsense news articles like to post to make a better story.

        Once again I understand if you do not want to talk but if you do decide to you can email me Mbelcher708@gmail.com

        Thank you!