In September 2001, our nation was reeling from the devastation of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It was all anyone was talking about across the country. But at the same time, here in Clayton, our community was struggling with its own horrible tragedy.
Nineteen years ago, on this day, the Town of Clayton and the Clayton Police Department lost a dedicated officer and member of our family. Lt. Monica Carey was just 36 years old, a 10-year veteran of law enforcement, a wife and mother of a young boy and girl. On the morning of Friday, Sept. 14, she headed out to help arrest a suspected heroin dealer in an undercover drug buy at a parking lot on U.S. 70 Business. In an attempt to flee, the suspect backed over Lt. Carey with his car, dragging and killing her. Officers would later shoot and kill the suspect. $1,000 worth of heroin was found in his car.
We invite you to read through the reflections about Monica on the Officer Down Memorial Page, including several moving entries by Monica’s parents, daughter, Meghan, and son, Justin, who followed in his mother’s footsteps and now serves as a deputy for the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Department.
Here are just a few reflections from Monica’s mother:
It has been 6 years since we last spoke that morning of the 14th. I remember you saying you all were going after drug dealers and wanted to know if Daddy was here so you could talk to him about the heroin you were going after. I gave the phone to him at 9:30 am and at 10:10 am you were gone. I never did get to tell you to be careful and safe and tell you I loved you, but I know you knew. Nothing can ever make the heartache and tears go away, but I know you are by my side when I need you.. Justin is a wonderful young man and in his first year of college.. Meghan is a senior and doing her senior project on criminal justice. They are definitely going to follow in yours and Joe’s footsteps.There are so many friends and officers who call and let us know they’re thinking of us on your anniversary. We are so thankful to know that you are still in their thoughts and the Town of Clayton still mourns for you. What an impact you made there in such a very short time. I know you are watching over us all and doing God’s work helping to keep our officers safe. I will always miss and love you dearly… Rest well my sweet daughter until we meet again.
Momma and Daddy
Bill & Kitty Williams
Mom & Dad
September 15, 2007
Monica’s daughter shared this reflection:
So it’s almost 6 years and I think this is going to be the hardest one on me because in 3 days, I’ll be turning 18 and I will not be able to see my most WONDERFUL momma there at my party. I know my daddy is going to be there and you will be right by his side but I can’t stand the fact of you not physically being there. It’s HARD. But I know when I open the presents that you and daddy get me, you are right there beside me, giving me my hug and kiss that I get.
Well, I miss you momma and I can’t wait to see you again. I know it’s going to be a long time but I just want you know know I am thinking about you every second of the day. I have a wonderful boyfriend now who wishes he could have met you because a lot of the time it’s you that I talk about. If we do something, it’s you that always comes up in a conversation about what we are doing. I plan on taking him to Clayton to meet some of the people there and also see where we used to live and around the town.
Momma, you are ALWAYS in my heart and you will NEVER leave. Justin and I are thinking about getting matching tattoo’s with your initials and your call number 403 with the thin blue line.. He and I have grown SOO close to each other – it’s AMAZING. He is my TRUE best friend and I can’t ask for a better brother than him. I would also like to thank you for allowing me to have the life I do and the daddy that I have. Momma, you are a one of a kind momma no one can ever have.. I LOVE YOU MORE THAN WORDS. YOU’RE ONE TRUE MOTHER…
God bless and rest in peace…
Love, Monkey! *Kisses*
September 6, 2007
And Monica’s son shared these words:
Momma, it has been five years. within those five years, I have obtained the rank of Eagle Scout! If it wasn’t for your loving husband Joe always being on my butt about getting on the “DLG”, (Do Let’s Go), I would never of made it! He loves Meghan and I like we were his own children. He is a great man! We love him as if he were our real father. Meghan and I have experienced great things in the past five years that most people will never experience in their entire lives. But we would give it all back just to have you back with us!!! RDU named a yellow lab in memory of you. They use her to find bombs. I got a yellow lab and I named him after you also. It is Har-Leigh, because you liked Harley Davidson motorcycles and your middle name is Leigh, but most importantly you liked dogs named Harley!!! The whole family and friends all love and miss you deeply!!! We know you are still here with us today watching over us as we go about our lives!!!
In loving memory,
Your son, Justin “W. Carey”|
December 8, 2006
We also invite anyone to come by anytime to view our Officer Memorial inside the police station, a tribute to the three Clayton officers killed on in the line of duty. Their names are carved in granite – Monica Carey, Ray Gilmore and Charles Lee. It’s not how these officers died which made them heroes, it’s how they lived.