Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

A Profile of Tim Miller and Texas EquuSearch

Finding Teeky

Teketria "Teeky" Buggs

They focused their efforts once again on the river, two miles from the house from which Teeky had disappeared. Continuing with the side-scanning sonar, brought in from out of state, they worried about ominous weather conditions. When it rained, the river rose, picking up speed and force, and thereby increasing the chances that if Teeky's remains were in the river, she could be swept into the Gulf waters, where she might never turn up. They had to work faster.

A team brought in a cadaver dog trained to alert specifically on the odors of human remains, even in water. The dog went into the boat with the searchers and equipment. Standing at one end, it focused under its handler's guidance on the water.

Days went by with no indication from dog or device that they were getting warmer, but Miller's policy is to keep going. On an earlier case, he had manned a search on and off for twenty months, and in the end they did find that person. "We never give up," he insists.

Still, the weather patterns were disturbing. On Wednesday, December 14, it started to rain fairly hard. The searchers grew increasingly concerned, but they continued to focus on the river. There were not as many of them now, but those who remained were dogged in their determination to locate this girl. No one believed now that Teeky would be found alive, but bringing her body back to her family remained a vital mission.

Then on Thursday, around 1:00 in the afternoon, nearly two weeks after Teeky had disappeared, the dog on the boat went into "alert" mode and shortly thereafter a body surfaced in the river, right alongside the four-man crew. They called Miller, who was on a bridge a mile away with a county investigator, and they sent for the sheriff and medical examiner. When the remains were identified as those of the missing girl, the team felt a grim sense of triumph: Their determination had paid off, but little Teeky had clearly been murdered. The autopsy indicated that she had been beaten with a blunt instrument and stabbed with a knife.

Three days later, Carrington confessed to shooting Corey Brooks in 1998, but he denied involvement in his stepdaughter's killing. As suspected, he had indeed murdered Brooks during a heated argument, and several acquaintances had assisted him to dump the body into the river, swollen that night from a storm. No one doubted that Carrington had also murdered Teeky, but the family prepared for her funeral without that closure.

Little Teeky Buggs was buried on December 23, two days before Christmas, and seven hours later, Carrington finally revealed how he had killed her. He'd been smoking crack cocaine, he admitted, and when she'd approached him the evening she disappeared, he had hallucinated and thought she was the dead Brooks. So he'd hit her and then stabbed her. He took her body to the same bridge from which he'd thrown Brooks into the river and dumped her. Yet the police had reason to believe that his confession was flawed, and that he'd sexually assaulted the girl. They found the place where he had burned her clothing and his shoes, recovering the knife they believed he had used to stab her, as well as Carrington's mother's Lincoln Town Car, in which he had transported the body. They now had good evidence for a trial.

Despite his alleged confused mental state, investigators believe they can try Carrington for assault and first-degree murder. As of this writing, the case is pending, and Carrington remains in jail on $500,000 bond.

In the meantime, Texas EquuSearch remains busy, having completed more than five hundred searches in the half a dozen years they've been in existence. Let's see where it all began.

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