Another season without answers Johnsburg teen disappeared in ’02
By Amanda Marrazzo | Special to the Chicago Tribune December 21, 2007
Time has only brought more pain to Terry Carrick instead of healing.
It has been five years since her youngest son, Brian, went missing from the family’s Johnsburg home. If his body had been found, she could have buried him. If someone had been charged with his death, maybe she could have forgiven.
“It is very difficult to forgive when you don’t know who you are forgiving,” she said. “It is important people keep talking, because someday someone with a conscience will not be able to carry [the truth] around any longer.”
Police say the teen, a junior at Johnsburg High School, was the victim of foul play.
“Somebody out there knows what happened, and at some point in time their conscience is going to make them come forward, and we would like to have that [be] sooner [rather] than later,” said Johnsburg Police Chief Ken Rydberg.
It was five days before Christmas 2002 and nothing seemed out of the ordinary at the large farmhouse where the 14 Carrick brothers and sisters celebrated the holidays.
Brian Carrick, 17, left the home Friday, Dec. 20, at 6:15 p.m. and walked across the road to Val’s Foods, where he worked stocking shelves. He cashed his $150 paycheck, bought a pizza and told a co-worker that he planned to rent a movie at the video store down the road and that he would be at home for the rest of the night. (update: these details have changed since this story ran, timeline is later, attorneys claim he went back to the store between 6:30and 6:45. The story also changed in that he bought the pizza earlier like 4:30 after cashing his check, went home ate it then went back out to the store)
He never arrived at the video store or returned home.
“I don’t even remember what I was doing and I didn’t even notice him leaving,” said William Carrick, Brian’s father. “There was no premonition.”
But Terry Carrick sensed something was wrong Saturday, when she found out he didn’t show up for work.
“Brian never missed work. If he was late he’d call. If they called for him to come in on his day off, he was out the door,” she said.
She went to the Johnsburg Police Department that afternoon and urged them to start looking for her son.
A day later, investigators found blood inside Val’s produce-storage space and on a trash compactor, which later was confirmed to be Brian’s blood.
Volunteers and dozens of investigators, including the FBI, searched areas Carrick was known to frequent. They also looked at a 2-mile stretch along the banks of the Fox River but found nothing.
Brian was the 11th in the family of nine boys and five girls. The children, ranging in age from 17 to 34, have suffered emotionally over the loss of their brother.
However, each has achieved successes. One is a film editor, another an electrical engineer, and two are occupational therapists.
Just as the last four seasons have been, this Christmas will be quiet. The tree has yet to be put up.
The family has found strength within their small town and around the world. Terry Carrick said there are churches in South Africa and Rome praying for her family. There have been knocks at the door from friends and strangers offering support.
On New Year’s Day 2003, more than 1,000 people attended a candlelight vigil outside the grocery store. On the one-year anniversary, a standing-room-only memorial service was held in St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Johnsburg.
A development in the case came this June. Mario A. Casciaro, 24, who worked with Brian at the grocery, was arrested on nine counts of perjury for lying to a grand jury in February about Brian’s disappearance.
Casciaro, of the 2700 block of Patricia Lane in McHenry, was arrested June 7 and released from police custody after posting $5,000 bail.
The perjury charges stem from “no” answers Casciaro gave when asked about the whereabouts of Carrick’s body and his disappearance, according to court records. Prosecutors said his answers contradict statements from other witnesses.
Casciaro is scheduled to appear in court Jan. 24 on motions filed to dismiss three of the perjury counts. Casciaro and his attorney could not be reached for comment. (update: he was acquitted of these charges, arrested later in 2010 and charged with murder, had two trials, hung jury in 2012, convicted of first-degree murder with intimidation in 2013, serving 26 years in prison, his conviction is on appeal)
“We still have Brian’s picture posted around the station as a reminder to keep [this case] in everyone’s mind,” Rydberg said.