A 32-year-old unresolved murder continues to haunt Eve Carson of Indianapolis, a Danville native.
For the past several years, Carson has been investigating the death of her sister-in-law, Joan Webster. The Harvard University graduate student disappeared in November 1981 from Boston’s Logan Airport; her remains were found buried in Hamilton, Mass., in April 1990.
Carson has funneled her research into a book, “Mommy’s a Mole: Unraveling the Joan Webster Murder and Other Secrets in a CIA Family.”
She will be in Danville on Saturday, Feb. 22, to sign copies of her book at Book World in the Village Mall.
“I never thought I’d investigate a murder case and write a book about it,” Carson said during a recent visit to Danville. “I trusted the family and authorities.”
Carson, a 1970 graduate of Danville High School, is the daughter of Suzanne Carson of Indianapolis and the late Joe Carson, whose father, Ben, founded Carson Pharmacy. She has relatives in the area, including an uncle, Dr. William Hensold.
All of the Carsons have a stubborn streak, Carson said, and that has helped in her quest to find answers to Webster’s death.
Also, she said, her upbringing in Danville gave her a strong core to get through the tragedy.
Carson married Webster’s brother, Steve, in January 1980, and was part of the immediate family when her sister-in-law disappeared. She and Steve divorced in 2004.
“She was just a peach,” Carson said of Webster. “She was extremely bright and enthusiastic about going back to graduate school. She was a very genuine, kind, caring person.”
The prime suspect in Webster’s death was Leonard Paradiso, a shellfish merchant. In 1982, he was arrested on suspicion of the 1979 murder of Marie Iannuzzi; he was later convicted and sentenced to life in prison. One of his fellow inmates claimed that Paradiso had admitted to killing Webster.
Paradiso died in 2008 — the same year that prosecutor Tim Burke released a book called “The Paradiso Files,” which discusses both young women’s deaths.
Carson learned that Burke was writing the book in 2006, and that began her journey into trying to solve the case. From her home in Indianapolis, she hired a private investigator and attorney to get records from Massachusetts.
She believes Paradiso was framed for the murder, and that police and the Webster family were involved in a coverup. Webster’s parents once worked for the CIA — thus, the book’s title.
“I’m telling secrets they don’t want to come out,” she said of the Webster family.
The Webster case at the time was a sensational one, she said, and highly publicized. The book “Times 17” links Webster’s death to the Zodiac murders, which took place from 1966-81.
“There’s so much evidence of wrongdoing by authorities,” she said. “It is extremely complicated. There’s so much corruption, coerced witnesses, manufactured and suppressed evidence. Why is this case being covered up?”
Carson had an attorney review her book before it was published.
However, the book and its research took a toll on her personal life. “Part of what I encountered is that I’m the bad guy — I’m rocking the boat,” she said, adding that she’s estranged now from her grown daughters.
“I took on a monumental task to unravel a 32-year-old unresolved murder,” Carson said, “especially when there is resistance from authorities. It has taken a lot of love and resolve to get to answers.”
There were days when she thought of giving up, but, she said, “I’ve been extremely persistent. The whole thing is terribly tragic.”
She said, “I would love to see this investigation be legitimately reopened. Once they see it’s a fabricated case, they can finally give her the respect she deserves.”
She also hopes her experiences will lead to stronger sunshine laws that will protect victims.
This is Carson’s first book in her name, and she said it will appeal to people who like mysteries.
She also published an article in Crime Magazine about the case on Sept. 3, 2012.
Carson is a graduate of Purdue University with a degree in economics and industrial management.
She was a supervisor for General Motors and a marketing representative for IBM before taking time to be a stay-at-home mom. She has not worked while doing research for the book.
The 424-page book is published by Mommy’s a Mole, LLC.
Eve Carson will sign copies of "Mommy's a Mole" from 1-5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22, at Book World in the Village Mall. The paperback book costs $19.95, and is available through www.amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com. Learn more at Carson's website www.mommysamole.com.