For brother of Rolling victim, tragedy again

Published June 13, 1997|Updated Oct. 1, 2005

Seven years ago, Jim Larson's sister was one of the five college students murdered in one bloody weekend in Gainesville by Danny Rolling.

Larson's wife has been missing since Tuesday, and a body was found Thursday night discovered a body near the place where she was last seen.

Carla Larson, a 30-year-old construction engineer, disappeared at a Publix supermarket on International Drive during her lunch break.

Deputy Mike Pagan said Thursday night that a body was found in a dense, wooded area about 150-200 yards north of Osceola Parkway and west of Interstate 4 in Orange County. However, he said he could not confirm whether it was Carla Larson's.

Co-workers of Mrs. Larson had been searching in the area, about a quarter-mile from where she disappeared, when they stumbled upon the body, Pagan said. The deputy said the body was covered but did not say with what.

Jim Larson and relatives had been driving in the area, conducting their own search, when they saw the patrol cars, Pagan said. A police chaplain informed Larson of the discovery.

Deputies said Mrs. Larson had used a credit card to buy lunch shortly after noon Tuesday. Also missing was her white and gray Ford Explorer with license tag TGX99V.

Relatives said it was unlikely that Mrs. Larson had left her family because she had a 1-year-old daughter and a strong marriage.

Jim Larson, 37, said he worked until 3 p.m. Tuesday at Home Depot. About 4 p.m., he said, someone from Centex Rooney, his wife's employer, called to say she had not been seen since noon. About 5 p.m., Larson called the Orange County Sheriff's Office to report his wife missing.

Larson's sister, Sonja, was an 18-year-old freshman when she was murdered by Rolling in her Gainesville apartment bedroom in August 1990. Rolling, who is on death row, was convicted for the rapes and mutilation murders of Sonja Larson and four other college students.

Just Thursday, the state Supreme Court in Tallahassee refused to reconsider its March decision upholding Rolling's death sentence. His lawyers can now appeal his case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The families of the murdered students have grown close over the years and on Thursday were giving support to the Larsons with phone calls.

_ Information from the Orlando Sentinel was used in this report.