Dateline NBC: Who was Carrie Elaine Olson?

Carrie Olson
A still of Carrie Elaine Olson (Image via DatelineNBC/Twitter)

Carrie Elaine Olson went missing on December 28, 2013, and was found dead in a vacant lot on April 5, 2014. Her death was ruled off as a homicide by unspecified means till her autopsy reports came back with fibers from a carpet inside her ex-boyfriend's mat.

Carrie Elaine Olson was an employee at her father's business, Dave's Floor Trends. When she failed to turn up for work on December 30, 2013, she was reported missing to the Davenport Police Department.

The Dateline NBC episode titled Without a Trace: Carrie Olson offers the synopsis,

"Carrie Elaine Olson goes missing and the current boyfriend and ex-boyfriend are suspects. Circumstantial evidence starts mounting and pointing to one suspect."

Season 24 Episode 8 re-airs on December 30, 2023, at 9 p.m. EST on NBC.


Who was Carrie Elaine Olson? Details explored

Carrie Elaine Olson was born on August 8, 1984, in Davenport, Scott County, Iowa to parents Dave and Karen Olson. She graduated from Assumption High School in 2003 and went on to pursue studies at the Kirkwood Community College. Olson further studied at the La' James International College, Davenport.

Carrie Olson worked in her family's flooring and carpeting business, Dave's Floor Trends, for five years from 2009. She was deeply loved by her friends and family who spoke of her warm nature. Olson's friend since 11 years of age, Amanda Smith, spoke to Oxygen saying,

“She was outgoing, fun, she’d push you in the pool, she’d splash you, she’d give you the best bear hugs, you know, would just send tingles through your body. [She] made you feel so special.”

Carrie was an outdoor person who would occasionally enjoy a game or two of tennis. She loved her dog Kolby like her child and both went on walks. Olson had been allegedly waiting around for the right guy as her friends settled down at the age of 29.

Carrie finally met Timothy McVay who was a divorced father of two dealing in a karaoke night business through the Quad Cities. While the two got closer with time, Olson made it clear that she would not be welcoming children. Olson's friend Sarah Paxton spoke to Oxygen and shared,

“She wanted to be loved, she wanted a family, she wanted something stable in her life."

This became a point of concern for McVay and the two ended up splitting as a couple. However, the friendship between Olson and McVay remained strong and the two often spoke over 20 times a day, per Oxygen.

After McVay, Carrie Elaine Olson started dating an Iraq War veteran, Justin Mueller, who was rather reserved and opposite to Olson in his nature. Mueller allegedly dealt with bouts of post-traumatic stress disorder from his time in war.


What happened to Carrie Olson?

Carrie Elaine Olson was last spotted on December 28, 2013, in Davenport, Iowa by her family. When she failed to show up for work at her father's store, a missing person's report was registered with the Davenport Police Department two days later.

A quick look into the surveillance footage in the immediate surroundings could spot her recorded on a surveillance camera at the 7-Eleven on 38th Street in Rock Island, Illinois, around 4 pm the same day she went missing. However, her body was found by the investigators in a vacant lot, under a pine tree, seven miles southeast of downtown Hastings, South Minnesota.

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner identified the body to belong to Carrie Elaine Olson within a week. The autopsy reports pointed the investigators to the fibre shreds stuck to her hair which was found to be consistent with the fibres in the carpet in Tim McVay's Rock Island home.

Olson had allegedly stormed out of the home she shared with Justin Mueller and had allegedly visited McVay. In his statement to the detectives, Tim McVay said Olson had stayed the night and spoke of calling things off with Mueller. He told the police that he had dropped her off at her home before he borrowed her car to drive himself to the Minneapolis airport for his trip to Las Vegas.


Tim McVay was sentenced to 40 years in prison for charges of first-degree murder and concealment of a homicidal death. He did not plead guilty to either charge and maintains his innocence till today.

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Edited by Abigail Kevichusa