NBC News’ ‘Dateline: Secrets on the Emerald Coast’ delves into what happened to 37-year-old Marie Carlson in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. The young mother seemingly vanished into thin air. However, upon investigation, the authorities found out Marie Carlson was killed during an altercation. James Flanders, a local pastor, eventually confessed to the crime. When the incident occurred, he had been married to Tanya Flanders, and the couple was in a polygamous relationship with Marie. So, if you’re curious to find out more, here’s what we know.
Who is Tanya Flanders?
Tanya and James Flanders had taken Marie in and had helped her with bills and other things in the years leading up to her disappearance. When questioned, Tanya mentioned that Marie had moved in with them in October 2009 and briefly went to Arizona to stay with James’ parents. At the time of Marie’s disappearance, her daughter, Grace, was about 3-months-old. As per reports, Grace’s father is James.
During Tanya’s interview with the police, she claimed that Marie agreed to be a surrogate mother for them. According to her, James and Marie had conceived Grace not by artificial insemination but by getting drunk and having sex. Tanya added that she was in the room observing the act. By Thanksgiving 2010, Marie told her about being pregnant. Tanya further stated that after Grace was born, Marie would be withdrawn any time they brought up adoption.
Regarding the day when Marie was believed to have gone missing, Tanya said that she first came home from church to find James at home and Marie asleep. In the interview, she mentioned that James told her about Marie looking “down.” Later, Tanya took Grace along for some shopping and then picked up James from his run. When the couple returned home, they realized that Marie and her car were gone. James and Tanya received the suspicious group message on October 19, 2011.
Where is Tanya Flanders Today?
But after Marie’s disappearance, James, Tanya, and Grace abruptly left Florida and moved to Arizona. Sometime in 2013, James filed for termination of Marie’s parental rights, citing her disappearance. He wanted legal and physical custody of Grace, receiving it in October 2013. The investigation then revealed that James was responsible for Marie Carlson’s death, and he buried the body in the backyard of their Fort Walton Beach home.
As per the show, James insisted that Tanya had nothing to do with Marie’s death and asserted that she was away with Grace when the incident occurred. While Tanya was never charged in relation to the murder, the authorities did feel that she knew more than she let on. After a legal battle with Marie’s family, Tanya retained custody of Grace. It seems like she currently lives in Cochise, Arizona, with Grace. Tanya has maintained a low profile since then, and little is known about what she currently does.
Read More: Where Are Marie Carlson’s Kids Now?