Cold Justice Franchise Wiki
Trip to Nowhere
Season: 3
Episode: 12
Original airdate: May 1, 2015
Episode chronology
Previous episode: Lying in Wait
Next episode: Justice Served (2)


When a daughter returns home from school to find her mother gone without explanation in 1981, the team must sift through clues that are now decades old, making this the oldest missing person's case the team has yet to face.

"What would you say if I told you your mom wasn't coming home?"
That was the question Mearl Mackey asked his stepdaughter, Kelly Carpenter, just a few days after her mother, Evelyn "Laverne" Mackey, vanished from their home in Hernando County, Florida in 1981.
Mearl initially claimed that Laverne was in Ohio, taking care of her brother's sick wife. Later, however, he told law enforcement numerous conflicting statements, including that Laverne had instead gone to Tampa, that she returned home and became involved with a boyfriend, and that she got into missionary work.
"Mearl had more stories than Grimms Brothers at this point," said Hernando County Sheriff's Office Detective George Loydgren.
Confused and afraid, Carpenter asked Mearl to take her to her biological father's house, and for the next year, investigators attempted to track down answers in Laverne's disappearance.

Detectives learned that on the day she went missing, money had been withdrawn from her banking account multiple times. Months later, the account was completely empty.
But while investigators believed "Mearl wasn't telling everything" he knew about his wife's vanishing and that something was "wrong," there was "no physical evidence" or "sense of any crime scene," said Det. Loydgren.
At that point, the case went cold, and it was not until Sergeant Phil Lankin attended the National Homicide Conference 33 years later that an inquiry into Laverne's disappearance was reignited. During the seminar, Sgt. Lankin pitched the case to former prosecutor and "Cold Justice" host Kelly Siegler, who agreed to reinvestigate with the Hernando County Sheriff's Office.
Siegler and the rest of the "Cold Justice" team interviewed multiple witnesses, which further established their belief that Laverne did not simply pick up and abandon her family.
"After 33 years, we believe that only Mearl can explain Laverne's disappearance," Detective Randy Williamson said.



  • Hernando County, Florida (November 5, 1981)


  • Evelyn "Laverne" Mackey (40)


  • Merl Mackey - sentenced to 10 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to second degree murder.

Background information and Notes


Cold Justice season 3
Episodes Still of the NightMiss CongenialityBurnedMother Daughter TragedyOperator, Hurry!The Record KeeperLittle League DadAmerican DreamThe AlleyDevotedLying in WaitTrip to NowhereJustice Served (2)Beloved DoctorSmoking GunThe Good LifeOff the Beaten PathRoom No.10The Escape?Up in FlamesTrajectoryJustice Served (3)In the Neighborhood, Part 1In the Neighborhood, Part 2
Other Seasons Season 1Season 2Season 4Season 5Season 6