Ardena Carter was savagely murdered by boyfriend Michael Natson and dumped in the woods at Fort Benning more than a decade ago. TV One’s Fatal Attraction is documenting the story. Ardena Carter, who everyone called “Dena,” graduated from Howard University before relocating to Statesboro, Georgia to pursue a master’s degree in education. Ardena disappeared on her way to the library to study. According to Fatal Attraction on TV One, the case went cold for two years until Michael Natson, a former Ft. Benning police officer and soldier was arrested for her murder and that of her unborn child.
Fatal Attraction episode “Fatal Attraction” teaser
At six months pregnant, Ardena Carter has it all. The graduate student studies at a local college and is in love with Michael Natson, a handsome soldier with a commanding presence. But when she disappears from her campus apartment without a trace, the case sends detectives deep into the woods, where they’ll make a shocking discovery.
The Murder of Ardena Carter
The case is still difficult to talk about for Ardena Carter’s loved ones who remember her as a happy and smiling young woman with goals. However, their lives took a drastic turn when Ardena “Dena” Carter disappeared on September 11, 2003. Police learned Ardena Carter was last seen going to the local library to study. She wasn’t heard from again until 2 a.m. the next morning when she told her friend, Tia, she was going with Michael Natson to pick up her new car.
After that, the pregnant grad student failed to show up to any of her college classes, and there was no activity on her credit cards. Ardena Carter spoke with her mother by phone daily, and she would never walk away without telling anyone. On the surface, it looked like Ardena Carter was living a fairytale life. However, behind the curtain, there were some complications that would end up leading to her demise.
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Ardena Carter was reported missing about a week after she first disappeared. The six-months pregnant woman was due to give birth on Christmas Day. Sadly, several weeks before Christmas, hunters happened upon her scattered skeletal remains in the woods behind Georgia’s Fort Benning base, WTOC reported.
Medical examiners also determined she was shot in the back of the head. The case was solved when a shell casing found in the woods matched Michael Natson’s gun. Cell phone calls made from his phone also indicated he wasn’t home when the murder took place.
Georgia investigators arrested Michael Natson and charged him with Ardena Carter’s death. At trial, a former cellmate told the court Michael Natson said he tricked Adena Carter into leaving with him that night. Ardena must have felt something wasn’t right because she called her friend to let her know who she was with.
Michael Natson was found guilty in March of 2007. Due to the nature of the crime, Natson was eligible for the death penalty. Instead, he was sentenced to life without the chance of parole. In recent years, he has tried to appeal his sentence. However, his conviction still stands. Meanwhile, Ardena Carter’s mother still remembers the day she went to Ardena’s University Point apartment to move her things out to take back to California. It was an empty and gut-wrenching feeling no one can explain.
Ardena was a smart and successful teacher who could have raised the baby alone. She was excited to be a mother and was proud of all that she had accomplished. Her entire life was taken from her in a matter of minutes by a man who didn’t love her and who didn’t want to pay child support.
Sources say at trial, Michael Natson testified on his own behalf, trying to convince the jury he had nothing to do with the crime. And when they found him guilty, he sat there devoid of emotion.
— Rosalyn Charles (@ResolveNow) July 28, 2017
When Ardena Carter vanished, many complained she was not getting the public attention by the media because she was African American. Her murder and the murders of several other pregnant mothers occurred around the same time.
For further research, read the stories of Thelma Jones, Evelyn Hernandez, Latoyia Figueroa, Melesha Francis, and Tasha Winters. Take a look at two other important sites about Ardena Carter’s tragic story.
- A very old site dedicated to the case of Ardena Carter
- A document from Court Listener
- A video tribute. If you go to the website, Ardena appears in one of the videos.
Fatal Attraction airs tonight at 10/9 p.m. Central on TV One. Tell TV Crime Sky what you thought about the story.
[Main Image via Angel Fire/Missing & Pregnant/Ardena Carter]