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Man dumped personal papers in Oregon before dying mysteriously with daughter
By GLENDA ANDERSON
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Questions about the mysterious deaths of a renowned movie producer and his 9-year-old daughter stretched Thursday from Clearlake Oaks, where their bodies were found inside a car, to a short-lived attempt at a new life in Oregon and his long career in Hollywood.
The identity of Terry Martin Carr, 62, as a producer and screenwriter whose credits include "On Golden Pond" and "Predator 2" was revealed Thursday, three days after he and his daughter were discovered dead inside their Jeep Cherokee at the Tower Mart gas station in Clearlake Oaks.
The day before the bodies were found, Carr abandoned his wife at a market in Ashland, Ore., where they had just rented an apartment after moving from Los Angeles.
He may have driven to Clearlake Oaks because a brother, John, lives there, down Highway 20 from Tower Mart. But he did not contact his brother, Lake County sheriff's detectives said.
Police on Thursday still did know how or why Terry and Arieka Carr died. There was no evidence of physical trauma on their bodies. A toxicology report is pending.
Also baffling is why Carr abruptly deserted his wife, Chika Carr in Oregon.
She told Ashland Police Detective Brent Jensen they had not been fighting. They had eaten and she went to use the rest room. When she returned, her husband and daughter were gone.
A surveillance camera in the store shows Terry and Arieka walking to their car and driving away, Jensen said.
"It's pretty bizarre," he said. "You read about these things in 'Twilight Zone' movies where somebody is there and suddenly they're not. They go and you never see them again."
One of the few clues something had been amiss before the disappearance was a box of personal belongings, including important personal papers, Carr apparently dumped in a pasture on the outskirts of Ashland, Jensen said.
"It suggests to me either he was going to start a new chapter of his life or some sort of closure situation," he said.
Director Gregory Marquette worked with Carr on one of his last films, "Innocents," a suspense thriller released in 2002.
"He was a very good producer. Huge," Marquette said. "He worked with Sydney Pollack, Robert Redford, Dino DeLaurentis. He set some very big movies."
Other movies on Carr's credit list include "The Boost," "Yes," "Giorgio," "Coast to Coast," "Welcome to 18," "An Almost Perfect Affair" and "The Bad News Bears Go to Japan."
It had been several years since Carr worked on a film, Marquette said.
Family members and friends were stunned by the news.
"It's a complete mystery. We're still in shock," said his niece, Heather Price.
They said deserting Chika, who is frail and needs his care, was out of character for Carr.
They also can't believe he would harm his only daughter.
"He just adored and worshipped his daughter," Price said.
"I've got to believe this is a dreadful accident," Marquette said.
Marquette, who last saw Carr about a year ago, described his friend as calm, steadfast, caring and a family man.
"He never lost his temper. You could drop a bomb beside him and he wouldn't even blink," he said.
In mentality, "he was not a Hollywood guy. He was a family guy," Marquette added.
Carr was born and raised in the Bay Area, his family said.
He attended Stanford University when he was just 15, then spent several years in Germany, working on his master's degree.
Carr decided to move to Oregon to escape Los Angeles life, his family said.
He'd planned to move to Oregon's Myrtle Beach area, near Coos Bay, but it didn't work out for some reason, they said.