Circumstances around woman’s murder still a mystery despite 2 being charged

A St. Louis grandmother’s mysterious murder has her family questioning what’s being kept from them as they fight for justice.
Published: May. 9, 2023 at 10:37 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- A St. Louis grandmother’s mysterious murder has her family questioning what’s being kept from them as they fight for justice.

Carolyn Jenkins, a 63-year-old mom and grandmother, was last seen alive on August 11, 2022.

According to the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, surveillance video from that day shows Jenkins walking into her home at the Metropolitan Village Apartments off Franklin Avenue in Midtown. Police records say Jenkins was murdered by her neighbor, and a second neighbor helped hide her body.

News 4 Investigates uncovered disturbing surveillance video that purportedly shows the two men wheeling Jenkins’ body out of the building and past a security guard.

“They destroyed our family, what do we do now?” questioned Jenkins’ daughter Carla Smith.

For Smith, this is only the beginning of a case with so many turns. She’s questioning if her family will ever get the answers they need.

“It was really strange, just all the bizarre circumstances surrounding this,” Smith said. “You are supposed to protect and serve, who can people trust?”

Police records from August 11, 2022, obtained by News 4 Investigates show officers received a call for a wellness check on Jenkins. A police statement explains officers found the apartment “in disarray” and saw “a small pool of blood” on the floor. According to the police statement, Jenkins was not there.

Six days passed without a word from Jenkins.

“My cousin called and said they were headed over to her apartment because they felt like something was wrong,” Smith said.

Police records from August 17, 2022, show a second call for help to Jenkins’ apartment.

“It turned into an active crime scene at that point,” Smith recalled. “They found her in the bushes behind the apartment complex.”

Smith doesn’t think it should have taken almost a week to find her mom.

“A body that’s been outside for six days in August with no air moving, nobody smelled decomposition?” Smith questioned.

Smith also points to surveillance video recordings that her family shared with News 4 Investigates. Her family took recordings of surveillance video they were recently shown during a meeting with prosecutors. Smith says they were only shown clips and not all of the footage despite asking for it.

Police records say surveillance video shows Jenkins going into her apartment and David Harvey “rush inside behind her.” He leaves a few minutes later and locks the door. According to police, Harvey goes back with “an associate” and Jenkins’ body “is loaded onto a dolly and wheeled outside.”

“You see him on the dolly taking her to the elevator, he kicks her foot up under there,” Smith added.

Video from the lobby shows a security guard sitting at the front desk and the dolly passing inches away.

“It was 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning, she never asked what are you doing, what is that? Nothing. My mother’s foot was dragging,” Smith explained.

News 4 Investigates took the family’s questions to building management. The onsite manager would not comment and said any questions had to be directed to corporate.

The building is managed by the Sansone Group LLC. A spokesperson for the company did not return requests for comment.

News 4 Investigates found police records showing SLMPD is familiar with the apartment building. Officers have been called there almost 200 times in the past three years.

Jenkins’ family has even more unanswered questions about how she was murdered.

According to the St. Louis Medical Examiner Office’s report, both Jenkins’ cause and manner of death are “undetermined.”

“We were shocked,” Smith said.

The family wanted a second opinion and paid for a private autopsy with a pathologist, Dr. Stephen Godfrey. In his report, Godfrey put the manner of death as “homicide” and said he found Jenkins was stabbed seven times including in her leg, face, and neck.

“We are sick about this,” Smith added.

St. Louis City Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Michael Graham claims Godfrey’s report isn’t accurate because the alleged stab marks were made during the first autopsy, which Graham explained was part of a standard exam.

Godfrey added a new section to his report, putting the “cause of death back to undetermined.”

Both Graham and Godfrey spoke to News 4 Investigates on the phone but declined interviews.

News 4 Investigates took the reports to Dr. Jane Turner, a forensic pathologist who runs Virchow Consulting Services.

“When you have a body that’s left out in the August sun that is going to change everything,” Turner explained.

Turner said that an undetermined cause and manner of death is not common in a murder case, but can happen.

“Oftentimes they involve individuals that have undergone decomposition or skeletonization because you don’t have much to work with,” Turner said.

When asked where a family who wants answers is supposed to turn in a case like this, Turner responded, “In a case like this it’s going to be dependent on police investigation. That’s all that’s left.”

Turner also said if a medical examiner makes a cut, it’s best practice to note it in the report.

“You never know when there’s going to be a second autopsy and something like this can create some confusion,” Turner added.

For Jenkins’ daughter Carla Smith, her list of questions is only growing.

“How do you have the right to not document what happened? This is a legal document,” Smith said. “You’re concealing information, how is it not possible for you to share this with us?”

Police arrested 72-year-old David Harvey in the case, who was charged with several felonies including murder. According to police, Harvey is Jenkins’ ex-boyfriend and her neighbor. He lived a door away.

Harvey is no stranger to police. He’s been convicted of a list of felonies dating back to the 1970s including burglary and assault.

On top of that, Harvey has faced murder charges before. In 2015 he was accused of shooting and killing a pregnant woman. Ultimately, the jury found Harvey was not guilty of murder but did convict him of multiple gun charges. Harvey was on probation for those gun charges at the time Jenkins was murdered.

“He is a danger and a threat to the community. Why is he out?” Smith questioned.

According to SLMPD, the “associate” seen on video helping Harvey after the murder is 73-year-old John Day. He’s also a neighbor and lived in the same building. Day was charged more than seven months after Jenkins was murdered. Police records say Day “admitted to assisting with removing and disposing” Jenkins’ body.

“We’re terrified that it’s just going to get swept under the rug, no one will know what happened, no one will ever know the true story,” Smith said.

SLMPD released a redacted police report to News 4 Investigates. The report was three pages long and included basic time and location information along with a list of responding officers. Missing from the report was the narrative section where police and detectives describe what they found. SLMPD claims the case is still an open investigation, making that part of the public record closed.

The Metropolitan Village Apartments are partly funded by taxpayer dollars. News 4 Investigates learned the building is privately owned but federally subsidized by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

A regional spokesperson for HUD sent News 4 Investigates the following statement:

“HUD takes the safety and security of residents living in privately-owned but federally subsidized properties very seriously and we work to communicate in a timely manner with property owners, their managers and local fire/safety officials when issues like this happen. Metropolitan Village Apartments receives federal subsidies to support affordable housing and that contract is administered by the Missouri Housing Development Commission, on behalf of HUD. We lament this tragic event and are glad that emergency responders and the police were able to utilize security footage provided by the property’s management team, to swiftly identify the assailant and bring him to justice.”