It was a crime scene that shocked even the most hardened veteran detectives among them: Large pools of blood covered the tile floor and the wall of the family room where the teen clearly struggled to fend off her attacker, a man who police say wore a size 10 LA Gear sneaker.
Aside from the shoe print made from the teen’s own blood, police in Miramar 19 years ago found a chair knocked over, a glass jar shattered on the floor and a couch that had been pushed across the room against the window and blinds.
Farrah Carter’s blood soaked a bedspread in her mother’s room. But it was in the 15-year-old’s bedroom where police found Farrah dead from multiple stab wounds.
An ATP Tour hat that no one in the family had seen before was processed for DNA, among other things.
A man across the street told police he saw the teen speaking with a man through the door on the morning of her death. He said the man wore a hat and was trying to talk his way into the house. The neighbor said he saw the man give up and leave.
Eventually, a man was successful at getting in as there were no signs of forced entry in the house, police say.
Police and family desperately clung to hope that the promise of $1,000 for information about the killer announced on the 80 fliers that were splayed around town would ferret out Farrah’s killer. But days turned to months and months turned to years, nearly two decades worth.
Tuesday, just days after what would have been Farrah’s 35 birthday, police in Miramar stood with the dead teen’s family and announced they found her killer: Joseph Pollard.
The person police say was the killer, it turns out, wasn’t on the run all that long. In the summer of 2004, just two years after the 15-year-old was attacked and killed, Pollard was ordered to spend the rest of his life in prison for an unrelated case involving kidnapping, burglary and robbery.
Officials in Miramar say Pollard had long history of violence against women before he was sentenced to a life behind bars at the age of 39. Pollard is now 56. Miramar police detective Joe Tomlin said the state will continue its case against Pollard, regardless of his life sentence.
Pollard’s criminal record goes back decades ranging from possession of cocaine to vehicle theft to lewd and lascivious acts involving minors. In most cases he was cut a break, sentenced to a couple months in jail or adjudication withheld all together.
Police in Miramar say Pollard was a free man but on probation on May 22, 2002, when Farrah’s mother and sisters came home and found her in the three-bedroom house they’d recently rented on Southwest 27th Street.
“This was a murder that shocked the community,” said Tania Rues, a spokeswoman for the Miramar Police Department. “It was one of the most horrific crime scenes our detectives have ever come across and it is a case they could never forget.”
The family also cannot shake the images left in their minds all these years later.
“You wouldn’t think that at 8 years old you could remember that much,” Farrah’s sister Keli Craig said Tuesday. “But I remember that day as if it was yesterday.”
Pollard is currently serving his life sentence at the Taylor Correctional Institution in Perry.
Pollard, who mostly lived in Miami-Dade County was using a Hollywood address in 2002, will be extradited next week by the Broward Sheriff’s Office, officials with Miramar Police said.
Farrah Carter’s family appreciated the fact someone has been indicted, but the development didn’t ease their decades-old pain.
“For the detectives to come through with this information,” said Kim Battle, Farrah’s mother, “it’s very pleasing, in a sense, but it’s very heartbreaking.”
Battle and other family members said they’ll never recover from Farrah’s death.
“There’s a still big hole in my heart that will never be filled,” she said.
The same is true for Farrah’s father, Tony Carter.
“For 19 years,” he said, wiping tears from his eyes, “I haven’t been able to get my life together. Everything’s changed in my life.
“Right now is like the first day of the rest of my life. I’m hoping to get a new start on it. But I miss my baby so much.”
Tony Carter said he went to Farrah’s grave recently, placed flowers on it, and told her there was an indictment.
“It’s just really, really fuzzy for me,” he said. “Nothing makes sense for me.”
Battle said she’s also still struggling, 19 years later.
“For many nights after this I would sit in the living room in a big chair hoping she would come through that door,” Battle said.
The case went cold for years. Miramar detectives would run the blood sample collected at the scene through various databases, but always the same result: Nothing.
Then, in 2019, a DNA evidence breakthrough allowed Miramar police to get a minor hit on blood evidence collected from a bedroom door and they got a minor match with Pollard.
After obtaining a search warrant in 2020, Miramar police twice questioned Pollard while he was in prison and he denied involvement in Farrah Carter’s death.
However, the DNA match of blood from a pair of shoes and the bedroom door gave enough evidence to lead to an indictment.
“Today is overwhelming for us,” Craig said, “but also like my mom said, there’s really no closure, the only closure we would feel would be if my sister were to walk through that door and say, ‘Hey, y’all, I’m Ok. It was a joke; it was a trick.’”
Eileen Kelley can be reached at 772-925-9193 or email@example.com. Follow on Twitter@reporterkell.