Tim Carney: What Happened to Him? Was He Found?

A cherished son and brother with a promising future, Tim Carney was a resident of New Jersey. One morning in September 2004, his roommate witnessed him leaving the apartment, but he never arrived at his workplace. As days elapsed without any trace of Tim, his family became increasingly worried, prompting an investigation. In the episode of Investigation Discovery’s ‘Disappeared’ titled Final Prayer,’ the exploration delves into whether foul play played a role in Tim’s disappearance or if he chose to vanish deliberately.

Tim Carney was a Member of Gospel Outreach

Timothy Edward Carney, the beloved son of Ed and Phyllis Carney, was welcomed into the world on August 22, 1979, and raised with affection along with his two sisters. Lovingly referred to as Tim by his family, he was a reserved child, exceptionally intelligent but not prone to making many school friends. He usually kept to himself, and he had a passion for writing from an early age. A perfectionist in his craft, Tim would only share his written work with his family when he believed it met his high standards.

Tim enrolled at Montclair State University to pursue a major in English and joined the Christian church named Gospel Outreach during his college years. This small religious community, centered in Pequannock, New Jersey, and led by Jim Lethbridge, became a significant part of his life. Initially, his family viewed this involvement positively, considering it a constructive addition to his life. As a religious family, they believed he had found a community where he could connect with like-minded individuals. Over time, Tim’s family became increasingly worried about his involvement with the church, allegedly perceiving it as highly controlling. They observed him gradually distancing himself from them.

A notable incident that raised concerns occurred when Tim visited his aunt in the hospital. During this visit, someone from the church allegedly accompanied him to verify the legitimacy of his aunt’s illness, indicating a level of scrutiny that troubled his family. Following his graduation, Tim secured a job in the Department of Labor and shared an apartment with a fellow member of the Gospel Outreach. He later revealed that he was dating a woman from the church. Though he seemed content on the surface, there were aspects of the relationship that raised concerns for Tim’s family.

The family members mentioned observing an unusually conservative dynamic between Tim and his girlfriend, noting instances where even simple acts like holding hands involved avoiding direct contact. Both of them held opposite ends of a fork when they wanted to show affection for each other. Seven months after introducing his girlfriend to the family, Tim suddenly informed them that he had broken up with her. However, discussions about the church became increasingly contentious, with him vehemently defending its practices. Despite the strained conversations, on September 25, 2004, he enthusiastically attended his parents’ marriage anniversary dinner.

As he left, Tim expressed his love for them and mentioned that he would see them soon. On September 27, Tim contacted his sister, Meghan, inviting her to lunch. While he was unusually persuasive that day, Meghan, in a bad mood, decided not to go. The next day, on September 28, 2004, his roommate observed him leaving the house at 5 am, a routine for his 7 am prayer meeting. However, he never reached his destination. Around 8:20 am, he called his supervisor, informing him of his tardiness.

Tim had been consistently late for work since his breakup, so initially, this did not raise immediate concerns among his colleagues. This marked the last known contact with the then-25-year-old. When he failed to show up for work and did not return home, his concerned roommate reached out to his family to inquire about his whereabouts. The family, upon learning that he was not with them, promptly contacted the police, initiating an investigation into his disappearance.

The Police Suspected that Tim Had Left of His Own Accord

The initial police response involved searching Tim Carney’s residence. They observed that all of his personal belongings were undisturbed, except for a silver briefcase containing his writings. On October 7, 2004, his car was discovered on the side of a road near a construction site along the route between his office and home at the Elizabeth-Newark border. The circumstances were perplexing, as there was no apparent reason for him to leave his car there, leading his parents to suspect that something untoward might have befallen him. The rainy weather and the delayed identification of the car as linked to a missing person meant that no forensic evidence could be extracted from it.

A wallet was discovered near a deli in Elizabeth, New Jersey, and upon being reported, Tim’s roommate was informed. He also took some time to notify the authorities. The police observed that all of his credit cards and cash were intact, except for his driver’s license. In light of these findings, law enforcement began to suspect that he might have voluntarily left on his own accord. Tim’s family, despite considering the possibility of him leaving voluntarily, found it highly unusual for him not to contact them for such an extended period. They sought assistance from Jim Lethbridge to aid in the search for him.

However, Lethbridge mentioned that he had taken his group on a weekend retreat and committed to helping in the search upon his return. Unfortunately, his family never received any further communication from him. A week after Tim’s car was discovered, the police obtained CCTV footage from an ATM showing a man closely resembling him, wearing a baseball cap low on his face, withdrawing cash using his ATM. Additionally, a supermarket near New Jersey reported that someone who looked like him was a regular customer, often purchasing soda, which happened to be his favorite.

The store also mentioned that he bought a new phone kit. The search for Tim concluded on September 23, 2011, when he was discovered alive. According to his family, he is believed to be in Chicago, and he has reportedly communicated with the authorities, leading to his removal from the missing person list. Despite this development, he has not reached out to his family or disclosed his current location. Nevertheless, they are still content with the fact that he is safe and happy.

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