Family of former model found dead in east Nashville speaks out

(Courtesy: Carlson family)
(Courtesy: Carlson family)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Before she was found dead in a dry creek bed in east Nashville, Teresa Carlson had big dreams. She was a model, songwriter and very loved by her family in Minnesota.

The 46-year-old moved to Nashville nearly 20 years ago to pursue a songwriting career. To make ends meet, she performed at children’s birthday parties as Cinderella and Barbie.

But her beauty extended beyond character acting. She modeled at car shows and competed in pageants.

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She was also intelligent. Tess, as she was called, had a Master’s Degree in storytelling.

“She was kind,” her mother Carol Carlson told News 2 from their Minnesota home. “She was incessantly talented.”

“She loved children,” her sister-in-law, Jessica Kulsrud, continued. “She was charismatic, she was happy, just one of a kind.”

Her family says Tess also battled with mental illness. She had bipolar disorder and would sometimes go off her medication.

“Her parents helped her as much as they could,” Kulsrud said. “They would do anything in their power to help her, but when you don’t take your medicine and you have bipolar, you don’t want the help.”

They last heard from Tess two weeks ago when her mother sent her money. They’re not even sure if she received it.

On Saturday, Metro Police found her in a dry creek bed in east Nashville.

The cause and manner of her death haven’t been determined. Police say they are investigating if she died somewhere else and her body was brought there.

“Everybody just really loved her and wanted her to come home,” said Kulsrud. “I guess she never got that chance.”

Police are interviewing people who last saw Carlson alive, but they are still looking for information.

If you can help, contact investigations at 615-862-7525 or Crime Stoppers at 615-742-7463.