Where is Michelle Carter now? The true story behind The Girl From Plainville

Warning: this article contains references to suicide.

Michelle Carter now as The Girl From Plainville airs on Starzplay. Picture shows the real Michelle Carter
(Image credit: Getty/Future)

The story of Michelle Carter has been turned into a true crime drama airing on Starzplay.

Elle Fanning portrays Michelle Carter, a teenager struggling with her mental health, in Starzplay’s latest true crime adaptation. When Carter begins a relationship with a boy fighting his own internal battles, an unhealthy relationship ensues. Following months of secret text messages, the devastating consequences shook the US, and the court case involving the teens drew global attention. Here’s all we know about the case, and what happened to Michelle Carter in the aftermath.

True crime is dominating the streaming services of late, with Skye Borgman’s latest investigation into Franklin Floyd (opens in new tab), culminating in the documentary Girl in The Picture. The story of hijacker D. B Cooper (opens in new tab) is similarly explored in another Netflix docu-series, whilst viewers of The Secret are curious as to where Colin Howell and Hazel Stewart are now (opens in new tab)- the two people behind the deaths of Trevor Buchanan and Lesley Howell.

Where is Michelle Carter now? 

Michelle Carter’s whereabouts are currently unknown. She remains on probation, and terms of her probation forbid her to profit from her story. It is speculated that she must still reside in the US, as her probation status would prevent her from leaving the country. 

She has no identifiable social media profiles, and although rumours surfaced that she attended and graduated college, there is no available evidence to verify this. Her probation ends in August 2022, where she may leave the US and publicly discuss her story.

Michelle Carter sentence

Michelle Carter was sentenced to 2 and a half years in prison, and 4 years on probation. According to Harper's Bazaar (opens in new tab), the case made history as the first time a person was tried and convicted of manslaughter via text message. 

Further evidence emerged during the trial that Carter had been on the phone to Roy during his final act. Roy had changed his mind and got out of his fume-filled car, but Carter became angry and told him to get back in. With this damning evidence, the judge imposed a prison sentence, citing Carter’s “failure to act, where she had a self-created duty, constituted each and all wanton and reckless conduct” as the reason.

Following several appeals, Carter’s prison sentence was reduced to 15 months. She actually served only 11 months, and was released early for exemplary behaviour in January 2020. 

In the aftermath of the case, Roy's mother, Lynn St. Denis, has been working to pass ‘Conrad's Law’. This would criminalise suicide coercion, as Massachusetts currently has no such law. Speaking to Esquire (opens in new tab), St. Denis spoke of her hope that The Girl From Plainville would help get the law passed. She said “If we get the law passed - when we do - that’s going to be a win for me, for him. I just want my son to be proud of me”.

What did Michelle Carter do and who is Conrad Roy? 

Conrad Roy was 18-years-old when he was found dead on July 13th, 2014. Michelle Carter was later indicted for Roy’s involuntary manslaughter. Both from Massachusetts, the two met in Florida when visiting family - Carter was around 15-years-old, and Roy 16. 

For viewers curious about the ‘Plainville’ reference, this is the name of the town Carter was from. She and Roy formed a friendship in Florida that later turned romantic. However, they lived 1 hour apart, and only met in person a handful of times - most of their relationship was conducted over text messages.

a medium shot of Michelle Carter sat in court

(Image credit: Getty)

They felt united in their mental health struggles, with Carter having taken antidepressants from a young age, and at some point admitted to a treatment centre for an eating disorder. Roy had known mental health problems, making several previous suicide attempts prior to meeting Carter. It is also alleged that his father was physically abusive, and he suffered mental abuse at the hands of his grandfather. 

Roy began incessantly messaging Carter about taking his own life. Initially, she appeared to help him with his struggles, before events took a dark turn. Carter instead indulged Roy in his suicide ideation, openly discussing the most effective methods he could use to kill himself. In over 1000 messages exchanged between the pair, Carter predominantly actively encouraged Roy to take his life, with her messages becoming increasingly urgent that he should get it done.

Parking his car behind a supermarket, Roy killed himself by carbon monoxide poisoning. The case was ruled a suicide until Carter arrived at his memorial service and actively made herself known to his family. She alerted his sister to her possible involvement in his death, by sending her text messages wanting to discuss the circumstances surrounding it. When Roy’s phone was searched, it became clear Carter had played a significant part in coercing him to take his life.

How much of The Girl From Plainville is true? 

According to Collider (opens in new tab), The Girl From Plainville stays very close to true events. Compared to the 2019 documentary I Love You, Now Die: The Commonwealth v. Michelle Carter, information included in text messages, and the most shocking moments of the show, are confirmed as fact by the documentary. 

Very small discrepancies exist, such as the character of Susie Pierce. She doesn’t exist in real life, but is thought to be based on Carter’s former real-life best friend, Alice Felzmann. Felzmann’s mother wasn’t happy with her friendship with Carter, encouraging her to cut her off. Felzmann followed these wishes, and the two were no longer friends. Carter was said to be very upset about the loss of this friendship, feeling that no other friend would match up to Felzmann.

It’s also been suggested that the show doesn’t provide enough depth of information regarding biochemical reasons for Carter’s behaviour. A medical expert involved in the trial put forward the idea that antidepressants can cause nightmares. With Carter and Roy saying they had seen the devil, the expert proposed this could be a result of the medications they were taking, therefore feeding suicide ideation. 

Carter also swapped medications, which could have disrupted her neurochemistry and resulted in hypomania, also according to the expert. Such details were omitted from the show, although they were heard in the real court case. 

The Girl From Plainville: Cast 

  • Elle Fanning (Maleficent, The Great) as Michelle Carter 
  • Chloë Sevigny (Bloodline, Russian Doll) as Lynn Roy
  • Cara Buono (Mad Men, Stranger Things) as Gail Carter
  • Kai Lennox (Green Room, Unbelievable) as David Carter
  • Colton Ryan (Homeland, Little Voice) as Conrad "Coco" Roy III
  • Norbert Leo Butz (Bloodline, Mercy Street) as Conrad "Co" Roy II
  • Kelly AuCoin (The Good Wife, Blue Bloods) as Scott Gordon
  • Scott William Winters (Dexter, Station 19) as Eric Dawicki
  • Kristin Griffith (Succession, Big Dogs) as Janice Roy 
  • Peter Gerety (Sneaky Pete, Ray Donovan) as Conrad Roy, Sr.
  • Pearl Amanda Dickson (Lucy In The Sky, Legion) as Susie Pierce  
  • Aya Cash (The Boys, The First Lady) as Katie Rayburn     

Speaking to Elle (opens in new tab) about playing Carter, Elle Fanning discussed the role of social media in the lives of young people. She said “In high school, I had social media and phones and you’re waiting for that text back; your whole world is on your phone. I mean, my whole world is still on my phone. So I could understand how the lines of fantasy and reality were blurred, which we play with a lot in the show”.

Michelle Carter now picture shows Elle Fanning and Cara Buono in The Girl From Plainville

Elle Faniing as Michelle and Cara Buono as her mother in The Girl From Plainville

(Image credit: Starzplay)

On how Carter was portrayed at the time of the trial, Fanning added “I do remember seeing her face flashed on the TV, and this very one-sided, one-dimensional view of her. That she was a black widow, a manipulator, and that Conrad was the victim in her schemes. And he very much was a victim, and it ended in the worst way possible, but at the same time, he was painted in a very one-dimensional way too. 

She added: "We didn’t get to know him as the young man that he was. The media likes to villainize young women a lot of the time, and it felt like that was happening. I don’t know if I had the wherewithal to know that, at that time - I probably bought into it a little bit”.

Where can I watch The Girl From Plainville in the UK? 

The  Girl From Plainville is currently airing on Starzplay in the UK, with it released on July 10, 2022. The show initially aired in the US from March 29, but had no UK distributor. Starzplay (opens in new tab) picked up the distribution rights, and costs £5.99 per month for a subscription. A free trial is available prior to any commitment.  

If you’ve been affected by information in this article, please call the Samaritans for free on 116 123. They are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

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Lucy Wigley
Lucy Wigley

Lucy is a multi-award nominated writer and blogger with six years’ experience writing about entertainment, parenting and family life. Lucy has contributed content to PopSugar and moms.com. In the last three years, she has transformed her passion for streaming countless hours of television into specialising in entertainment writing. There is now nothing she loves more than watching the best shows on television and telling you why you should watch them.