Liz Golyar murdered Cari Farver after they both dated Dave Kroupa
Kroupa was casually dating two women near Omaha, Nebraska, in 2012: Cari Farver and Liz Golyar. Despite maintaining to both women that he wasn't looking for a serious relationship, the ordeal ended up turning into a twisted tale of stalking, arson and murder.
Farver went missing two weeks into her relationship with Kroupa. Not long after, Kroupa and Golyar began receiving messages from Farver that started out as harassment and escalated to vandalism and threats. The stalking continued for years, and even Kroupa's ex-partner and children were stalked at their home.
Eventually, Golyar's house burned down with her pets inside, and initially, Kroupa and authorities believed Farver was to blame.
"I thought I'd seen it all," retired Omaha Police Department Detective Chris Legrow, who investigated the case, said in Lover, Stalker, Killer. "I hadn't seen anything like this."
It took years for investigators to find out the truth, which was even more terrifying for Kroupa than what it seemed like from his hundreds of thousands of threatening emails and text messages.
Find out what happened to Dave Kroupa, Cari Farver and Liz Golyar and where they are now.
Who is Dave Kroupa?
Dave Kroupa and his longtime partner, Amy Flora, had a son and daughter together after meeting in 2000 while working together at a truck stop. They began growing apart after their work schedules conflicted, leading them to split. Flora moved back to her hometown of Omaha with their children, and Kroupa relocated as well to be close to their kids.
Kroupa soon got a job as a mechanic and began online dating.
"I was starting over as a single person," Kroupa said in Lover, Stalker, Killer. He signed up for online dating, but wasn't looking for anything serious. Days later, he connected with Liz Golyar, a recently single mother of two.
Who is Liz Golyar?
Shanna "Liz" Golyar was one of the first women Kroupa met through the dating site Plenty of Fish.
"She seemed very cool, very down to Earth," Kroupa said in Lover, Stalker, Killer of Golyar. "Very smiley, very energetic, very full of life." He recalled that Golyar owned a cleaning company, had a lot of pets and was an animal lover. She and Kroupa shared passions for motorcycles, heavy metal music and sci-fi movies, and they bonded over each of them having a son and daughter.
"We were both lonely," Kroupa said. Their first date went well, and they began seeing each other somewhat regularly in downtown Omaha. "It was exactly the right mix: I had my personal space, but there was someone around if I wanted to chat or hang out," Kroupa said. "It was exactly what I needed at that part of my life."
He added, "As early as my first date, I had made it clear to Liz [that] I absolutely was not going to be tied down."
Who was Cari Farver?
Amid Kroupa's on-and-off relationship with Golyar, he met Cari Farver, a 37-year-old single mom who came into the auto shop that he managed. A few weeks later, he saw Farver's profile on a dating site and reached out.
Kroupa recalled in Lover, Stalker, Killer that Farver was "smart and sexy" and "out of [his] league all the way around," but invited her to his place anyway after their first date. When they arrived at his apartment, Golyar was there unexpectedly picking up some of her things, and passed Farver in the building's hallway. It was a chance encounter that would prove to be fatal.
Farver left, but later invited Kroupa to her home in Macedonia, Iowa. They agreed that neither of them wanted to be monogamous, and spent much of the next two weeks together because she worked three blocks from his apartment.
"We were involved," he said, adding that neither of them wanted to get "that involved."
What happened to Dave Kroupa?
One morning in November 2012, Kroupa headed to work and kissed Farver goodbye. Hours later, he got a text from her saying they should move in together. He replied, "I thought we talked about this," then got a barrage of texts back from Farver's number saying she never wanted to see him again.
“All morning my text messages were pinging, pinging, pinging, and it’s all this nasty stuff,” Kroupa recalled to PEOPLE.
When he went home, Farver and all of her things were gone from his apartment. Kroupa said he was "a little sad" that it didn't work out, but tried to move on with his life. Within days, he began receiving cruel and threatening messages from Farver.
According to the documentary, at the same time that Farver began harassing Kroupa, Farver's mother, Nancy Raney, received a message from Farver, first saying she had gotten a new job in Kansas and would be leaving her son, Max, with Raney. Raney reported Farver missing, having not seen her since Nov. 13, 2012.
Investigators looking into Farver's disappearance noted that Farver had been diagnosed with depression and bipolar disorder and first attributed her vanishing as "the result of a mental health crisis."
Shortly after Golyar, whom Kroupa continued to date, started showing him harassing messages she'd allegedly received from Farver over text and email and said that her car had been keyed. “We’d be hanging out on a Saturday and both of our emails would start blowing up at the same time,” Kroupa told PEOPLE.
Kroupa began getting 30 to 40 text messages and more than 100 emails daily from different numbers and aliases. "I could tell they were all Cari because the verbage was all the same," he said. Some of the emails had specific details about customers he'd spoken with outside of his workplace. Eventually, she sent him photos from inside Golyar's house, where there were spray-painted insults on the wall of Golyar's garage. In late November 2012, Golyar reported the incident to police, according to ABC News.
"I felt like Liz was being harassed because I dated this woman who's now making her life hell too," Kroupa said in Lover, Stalker, Killer. "I felt like she was the real victim in all of things and I wanted to try to protect her. We felt safe together and our relationship rekindled."
In January 2013, Kroupa recognized Farver's car in a nearby parking lot and reported the sighting to police.
What other crimes did the stalker commit?
The stalking escalated, targeting not just Kroupa and Golyar, but also Kroupa's ex Flora and their children. Flora wouldn't allow the children to visit Kroupa at his apartment, making him come to her home instead out of fear for their safety, Kroupa recalled in Lover, Stalker, Killer.
At one point, Golyar called Kroupa at work and said one of her windows was smashed in, her walls were vandalized and her clothing was "stabbed and slashed with a knife, like murder-style." Detectives had probable cause to arrest Farver in a stalking case, but couldn't find her.
"Your normal slowly descends to abnormal," Kroupa said in the documentary. "The paranoia is your life. You're thinking about the 'what-ifs' all the time. It was hard to know sometimes what was real and what I was imagining."
Kroupa said he began drinking to "take the edge off" during the stalking, explaining, "I was on the road to having a mental breakdown."
In August 2013, Golyar's house burned down with all of her pets and belongings inside, though she and her kids weren't home at the time. Detectives suspected Farver was behind the arson. After the fire, Golyar moved and didn't tell Kroupa where, which he said he understood because it was to protect herself from Farver.
"I had lost my partner, the one person who understood what I was going through," he said in Lover, Stalker, Killer. "I felt like the only thing I could do was pack up and move. I changed phones and got a new job. I wanted to rebuild my life away from Cari, but in the back of my mind, I knew that she was still out there."
Kroupa eventually made a profile on a new dating site, but his tormenter found him there and escalated their stalking of his family.
"I did feel that it was only a matter of time before someone gets hurt for real," Kroupa said in the documentary.
Who was David Kroupa's stalker?
In spring 2015, Farver hadn't been seen for more than two years, but was still harassing Kroupa and Flora. Ryan Avis and Jim Doty, investigators from the Pottawattamie County Sheriff's Office in Council Bluffs, Iowa, began looking into Farver's disappearance. They found Farver's home still full of her clothes and belongings, and observed that her bank records indicated two transactions the day before she disappeared in November 2012, then none ever again after that.
"It's not normal for adults to just up and leave and literally spend no money. No one's seen them and no one's heard their voice ... It just didn't make sense," Avis told ABC News. "I had come to the conclusion that I could not prove she was actually alive."
The investigation pivoted to a death investigation. Avis and Doty enlisted an IT specialist, deputy Tony Kava, to examine the messages from Farver's numbers and accounts. Kava recalled in Lover, Stalker, Killer that out of thousands of communications, he connected an IP address to his colleague Todd Butterbaugh's home in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Investigators obtained a warrant to search Butterbaugh's home. Butterbaugh revealed his on-again-off-again girlfriend, Liz Golyar, had been living with him since her house burned down.
In a shocking twist, Golyar had been impersonating Farver all along. She had relentlessly stalked Kroupa and his family for years, and burned down her own house.
Kroupa said in Lover, Stalker, Killer that investigators came to the auto shop where he was working and told him Golyar was behind the harassment, stalking and arson.
"My brain was spinning," Kroupa said. "I went to the back of the shop where my toolbox was and just leaned on it and cried. I'm tryin' to go through the pieces of the puzzle and put them together … It was Liz stalking me this whole time. It was such a mind f---."
"It didn't take me long, checking the boxes in my head, to figure out that Cari was probably dead," he added. "And that's tough to swallow. That's beyond tough."
How did Liz Golyar get caught?
In early December 2015, Kroupa arrived home at his apartment and discovered that his gun was gone.
At the same time, Golyar met with Avis and Doty to file a harassment complaint against another one of Kroupa's exes, Flora. During her talk with Doty and Avis, she described Kroupa's gun in detail and said Flora likely stole it. Avis and Doty told ABC News that Golyar signed a consent form permitting them to search her phone records for what she believed would be evidence of Flora's harassment, when in reality, they were searching for evidence of her stalking Kroupa and potentially killing Farver.
Investigators looked back at data from Golyar's phone and found a photo of Farver's vehicle from Christmas Eve 2012. They looked into the actual car once more, matching Golyar's fingerprints to a fingerprint on a mint container in the center console. Investigators then put a tracker on Golyar's vehicle to monitor her location at all times and found her circling around Flora's home daily.
The next day, Golyar called 911 and said she'd been shot at Big Lake Park in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
"I found it highly suspicious that the day before she felt the need to tell me that Dave Kroupa's gun had been stolen … and less than 24 hours later, she is shot," Avis told ABC News. "It was pretty quickly determined that most likely Liz Golyar had shot herself."
Two weeks after the shooting, Golyar met with Doty and Avis again, pressuring them to investigate and arrest Flora. Avis and Doty pretended to believe Golyar and told her that if she could provide proof that Flora was sending threatening and harassing messages and emails, they'd be able to build a better case against her. They told her to reach out to Flora to see if Flora would tell her any details about Farver's disappearance.
Falling for the ruse, Golyar forwarded the investigative team messages purportedly from Flora, rife with details about Farver's murder, including that she stabbed Farver to death, burned Farver's body with a tarp and put her in a "local dumpster." Investigators then searched Farver's vehicle and found blood under the fabric cover of the passenger seat.
While they didn't have Farver's body, the blood and digital evidence were enough for them to arrest Golyar. She was charged with first-degree murder, though she denied any wrongdoing or involvement.
Kroupa said in the documentary that when Golyar got caught, he felt some relief. "In that moment it did feel like a weight was lifted off my shoulders, but not all of it," he said. "You can't wind up slowly over four years and then just turn it off. That's not the way it works."
Investigators asked Kroupa if he had any electronics lying around that they hadn't seen yet, per the documentary. He found an old tablet in a storage unit, and Kava found 11,000 deleted photos on the tablet's micro SD card, many of which were selfies of Golyar from around the time Farver went missing. Among the photos was one of a foot of a dead body. A tattoo on the foot matched Farver's.
What was Liz Golyar's sentence?
Prosecutor Brenda Beadle was worried that the case seemed far-fetched because of all the ways Golyar victimized herself, as well as because Farver's body had still not been recovered.
"Part of me wanted to believe that it was a foregone conclusion that she was guilty," Kroupa said. "But we were all worried there was every possibility she could walk out of there."
Despite the lack of Farver's body, the digital evidence and the blood from the vehicle were enough to sway the jury. KETV Omaha reported that Golyar was found guilty of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole, plus an additional 18 to 20 years for arson and trying to frame Farver for burning down her home.
Where is Liz Golyar now?
Golyar is serving her prison sentence at the Nebraska Correctional Center for Women.
“She ruined my life,” Kroupa told PEOPLE of Golyar. “As much as you can without actually killing me.”
Where is Dave Kroupa now?
Kroupa has kept a low profile since Golyar's apprehension, and he said he feels somewhat responsible for Farver's death.
"I don't feel blameless in all of this. A lot of bad things happened to good people, all because of a series of events that I'm at the center of," he explained in Lover, Stalker, Killer. "The woman that I dated had goals, and was smiley and wanted to do something. She was just trying to make her way in this world."
"I'm very sorry for what happened," he said. "If I hadn't met Cari, she wouldn't have met Liz and this all wouldn't have happened. If I'd have known the choice was this craziness or tell Cari I'm not interested, I would've told Cari I'm not interested. But you don't get that choice."
Kroupa currently lives in Nebraska with his girlfriend Margie Hover. As Hover told PEOPLE, the scars from what her boyfriend went through still linger. During a recent trip to California, however, she saw him finally start to relax.
“He said, ‘I don’t have to be looking over my shoulder,' " she shared. Kroupa still closely protects his email address and phone number, though.
"I don’t mind watching a movie with a terrible twist,” he told PEOPLE, “but I never want that in my life again.”
For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!
Read the original article on People.