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On July 18, authorities received a 911 call about an ongoing kidnapping situation in Van Buren and a possible homicide. The witness explained how a couple had taken her sister after she witnessed a murder, but she knew where her sister was being held captive. After alerting authorities about the location, police descended on the apartment complex.

Inside, they discovered the kidnapped victim and three carnival workers. Outside, authorities discovered a camper shell registered to Alfred and Pauline Carpenter. Everyone was taken to the police station for further questioning.

Michael Fowler Jr., one of the carnival workers, immediately broke down upon arriving to the station. He instantly confessed to murdering Alfred and Pauline Carpenter while back in Kansas. He admitted that the other two carnival workers, Rusty Frasier and Kimberly Younger, were witnesses to the shooting. Next, the carnival workers drove the couple’s truck with their bodies inside over 320 miles to Arkansas. They dug a shallow grave in a secluded area off of State Highway 59, and they dumped the bodies.

Authorities confirmed Fowler’s statements when they visited the location and successfully exhumed the bodies of Alfred and Pauline Carpenter. While charges are still pending, the three carnival workers are expected to be charged with felony theft, tampering with physical evidence and suspicion of abuse of a corpse. Police have not yet made any statements about what motivated this violent shooting, and they have not commented further on the kidnapping aspect of this case. The kidnapping victim was released after a brief interview with police.