On June 17, 1972, a baby boy was found in a cardboard box left at the Oxford Church of Christ. An extensive search ensued for the parents of the newborn child, but they were never identified.

Health officials estimated that the infant was only a couple of days old, and hospital tests revealed that the child was dehydrated and going through heroin withdrawal.

Jane Asher, a nurse caring for the child at Baptist Memorial Hospital, fell in love with the baby. She and her husband, James, had long been waiting to adopt and had almost given up. James contacted the Adoption Unit of the Mississippi Department of Human Services to see if the Ashers could adopt this child his wife adored. Six months later, the adoption was final, and the baby was christened Carlton James Asher.

Carl was an independent child and seemed to prefer being alone until he was a teenager when he met Victor Jennings, and the two of them became thick as thieves. When they turned 18, Victor took Carl out and paid for the first of what would be many tattoos Carl got over the years.

Starting in middle school, Carl worked with the drama club. In high school, he directed a few plays and found that he was very good at it. He decided he wanted to be a film director. After graduation, he left Mississippi for a few years and took classes at the Academy of Art University in California.

After earning his directing degree, he had no luck getting work and eventually returned to Oxford. He ran into Victor at the Waffle House and discovered that Vic had become quite wealthy. Victor asked Carl to come to work for him and promised to help him get his foot in the door to directing. Knowing that Vic had connections and working with him could help him achieve his dream, Carl jumped at the opportunity.

Victor always referred to Carl as his researcher, and it was Carl's job to "verify and enhance" the information Victor's clients had included in their books. That meant Carl would do whatever it took to find out everything about the clients and the people they wrote about, including catching some of these people's activities on video. Victor would then take Carl's information and, as Victor put it, "optimize the return on investment," which could mean adding juicy tidbits to a tell-all book or "finding an alternate revenue stream."

Carl was very well-paid, but he still wanted to direct movies. Over the years, he started to think Victor just wanted him to clean up his messes, dig up information, and take care of anything that could cause Victor problems down the road. Each time Carl questioned Victor about what he was doing to help Carl's directing career, Victor always assured him that he "had several feelers out" and promised to find Carl the perfect project "any day now."

 

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