Karlie Lain Guse went missing after smoking marijuana at a party she wasn’t supposed to be at. She lied to her stepmother earlier that day and told her she was going to a football game. She asked her boyfriend if they could walk to his house because she wasn’t feeling well. While walking with him, she suddenly became afraid and ran away. He did not follow her. Karlie called her stepmother to come to pick her up. She was so scared and paranoid, she was running down the street. Her stepmother could only see her by the light of her cellphone. When Karlie got into the car, she jumped in the backseat, not wanting to take the time to go around the car to the passenger side of the front. Karlie admitted she smoked marijuana to her stepmother. Her stepmother said, ‘marijuana, like ok.” Her eyes were very dilated and she was acting very paranoid. Karlie was acting so out of control and paranoid that when they got home, her stepmother had her eat something. Karlie then watched a movie with her family before asking if her stepmother would sleep with her. Her stepmother recorded audio of Karlie acting paranoid so she could have Karlie hear how she sounded on drugs.
Her stepmother went to bed and when she woke up the next morning checked on Karlie, just like she does every morning. Her stepmother then stayed in bed all night with her. Karlie barely slept. Her stepmother couldn’t keep her eyes open any longer because she had been up all night dealing with Karlie. When the stepmother woke up, Karlie was gone. She looked all over. She went out searching by herself, desperate to find Karlie. When Karlie’s dad woke up, he wondered where they were and he called stepmother’s phone. She woke up Karlie’s dad and they went out searching. They searched for two hours and five minutes. Karlie’s dad called Karlie’s mom to tell her Karlie was ‘gone’. They then called law enforcement to report her missing. Two witnesses reported seeing Karlie walk by their homes to the highway on the morning in question. One witness saw Karlie standing behind a barbed-wire fence at the corner of WME Rd and Hwy 6. Karlie then vanished. She was probably taken by someone on the highway. No one’s sure though…she could’ve run away. She was in counseling too, so it’s possible she killed herself. “The biggest clue is there are no clues.” says the Mono County Sheriff and the Guse’s, parroting each other. One thing they all want to convey is the certainty that…three ‘confirmed’ people definitely saw a female matching a description of Karlie Karlie that morning.
What is a narrative? A narrative is when someone crafts a story to influence, sway, and manipulate the listener or reader. The speaker/author wants to bring their audience over to their side of thinking or believing. This is done by setting the stage, establishing the plot, and casting the characters to built up to what they want their audience to understand about the problem or believe about what happened.
The story we’ve recounted above about the night and morning of Karlie’s disappearance has a narrative as well. The words chosen to describe Karlie were not accidental, they were by design. Describing Karlie’s actions as less than honorable was purposeful. Notice how the stepmother paints herself as the heroic figure in Karlie’s life? Marijuana? No big deal. I’ll sleep with you all night in your bed. The witnesses? They definitely saw her walking towards the highway to the early bird pedophile abductor waiting to traffick her. The piece of paper the first witness saw Karlie holding up to the ‘stars’? There’s an explanation for that as well. Karlie’s stepmother thinks it was a paper that Karlie wanted to return to her school counselor… on a Saturday morning. Either that or it may have been a suicide note. The stepmother’s not sure. Oh, and months later, the second witness now recalls he saw Karlie holding the piece of paper as she walked by his house, mirroring the first witness’ statement. Memory doesn’t get better with time folks. When memory changes, that’s a sign of misinformation and contamination…we’ll get into that later.
If you feel as if you’re being led by the nose down every path of possible explanation, except the obvious one, you are not alone.
We are deconstructing the narratives of Karlie’s story that has been so artfully crafted by her stepmother, father, their attorneys, PR representatives, and yes, even local law enforcement. All have something to gain with their narrative building. It’s up to the reader to decide what that ‘something’ is.