Marie Carlson

This case was once featured on the show Cold Justice on TNT.  When I first started watching that television show I really enjoyed it.  As time went on I became frustrated with it.  I noticed that several cases on the show would end with the arrest of the suspect that had been "decided on."  Nearly every episode had a few suspects in the case when the show started and it was narrowed down.  There were a few episodes in which it ended with the main investigators openly saying there was not enough evidence to support an arrest but those were few.  Many times when the episode ended the notice of an arrest was added at the very end, so between the filming of the episode and the airing on television.  I started doing research on several of the cases and I discovered that not only did many of the cases see arrests on evidence that even I did not feel was enough to secure a conviction, many of the defendants were claiming that pressure had been put on law enforcement to make the arrest before the episode aired by producers of the show. In fact I know of at least one case that ended in a not guilty verdict due to the fact that the prosecution simply did not have enough to prove to a jury that the defendant was guilty.  To be fair, at least to law enforcement and the investigators on the show, this case was not one of those cases.

James Ty Flanders had once been the minister at Calvary Emerald Coast Church in Fort Walton Beach Florida.  He and his wife Tanya were suspected by parishioners as being involved in a polygamous relationship, and they were right.  Flanders had brought in another woman, Marie Carlson into their home and considered her his second wife. Tanya has been quoted as calling her her "sister wife."

In October 2011 Marie was reported missing by her ex-husband, Jeff Carlson. A few days later Marie's vehicle was found at the local airport and when investigators spoke to James Flanders he stated that she had left the family the week before in her truck. Strangely,  Marie had left her infant daughter, conceived by Flanders, with James and Tanya.  There was really nothing that investigators could find, or do.

In 2012, after the rumors and allegations surrounding them, the Flanders decided to move to Arizona.  

James was arrested on My 14, 2015 a few weeks after Cold Justice aired their show about this case.  Flanders would confess to investigators and lead them to Marie's body.  He would claim that he and Marie had had an argument and that he had grabbed her and held her in a bear hug until they both fell to the floor. He would claim to continue to hold her until she stopped moving, at which time she was dead.  He had then taken her body and buried her in the backyard of the home the Flanders were living in at the time.  

James Flanders was able to negotiate a deal with prosecutors in which he would plead guilty to manslaughter, instead of the 2nd degree murder charge he was facing.  I found information stating that his plea was made in April of 2016 with a sentencing hearing scheduled the following July.  The plea agreement had him facing "up to 15 years" but he could have gotten as few as just a few years. Oddly I could find no articles that discussed his July hearing and had to rely on information on the Florida Department of Corrections to get the information.  It appears that he did receive the maximum of fifteen years as it states his release is schedule for April of 2030.  

Reports are that there was not any information to ever charge Tanya Flanders in this case but most find it odd that she would have known nothing and not been involved.  It was said that Tanya retained custody of the child Marie had with James and despite efforts by Marie's family they have only received visitation with the child.  It is also said that Tanya resents this.


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