Liz Golyar is a killer from Nebraska who was convicted of the murder of Cari Farver
According to court documents Liz Golyar, whose actual name is Shanna “Liz” Golyar, was involved in a sexual relationship with David Kroupa who wanted nothing more than sex with her while she quickly became obsessed with the man
When Cari Farver went back to the home of David Kroupa and soon it became apparent he had strong feelings toward him. David Kroupa kept dating both Cari Farver and Liz Golyar however it was evident that he was more drawn to Cari
Liz Golyar would begin to stalk and harass Cari Farver until the day Cari would disappear.
Four years later police would learn that Liz Golyar had gone to Cari home where she would delete all of the phone messages and texts before kidnapping Farver Liz would stab the other woman to death before setting her body on fire. Police have never found the remains of Cari Farver
Liz Golyar would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to life in prison
Liz Golyar Now
Facility: NEBRASKA CORR CENTER FOR WOMEN
Liz Golyar Case
1. Golyar Meets David Kroupa
In late spring or early summer 2012, Liz Golyar started dating David Kroupa after meeting him through an online dating site. Kroupa described the relationship as “[c]asual” and informed Golyar he was also dating other women. From almost the beginning, however, Golyar wanted a commitment from Kroupa. The State’s general theory was that Liz Golyar was obsessed with Kroupa and did not want him dating other women.
2. Kroupa Meets Farver
Near the end of October 2012, Kroupa met the victim in this case, Farver. Kroupa’s first date with Farver was on October 29 at a restaurant in Omaha, Nebraska. During the date, Kroupa’s cell phone began “blowing up” with calls and text messages from Liz Golyar. He initially ignored the messages, but when they continued, he contacted Golyar and told her he was on a date and could not respond. When they left the restaurant, Kroupa and Farver went to Kroupa’s nearby apartment.
Almost immediately after they arrived, Liz Golyar started ringing the bell at the security door of Kroupa’s apartment building. Kroupa left Farver in his apartment and went to the security door to speak with Golyar. Liz Golyar was crying and upset and insisted Kroupa let her in so she could retrieve some of her belongings from his apartment. Kroupa left Golyar at the security door and went back to his apartment to explain the situation to Farver. Farver decided to leave, and as she did so, she passed by Golyar, who was still standing by the security door. Farver got into her black Ford Explorer, which was parked near the security door, and drove away.
After Farver left, Kroupa let Liz Golyar into his apartment to retrieve her belongings. She was still upset and did not stay long before he asked her to leave. Not long after Golyar left, Kroupa and Farver spoke on the telephone and Kroupa then traveled to Farver’s home in Macedonia, Iowa, where he spent the night.
Kroupa and Farver continued to see a lot of each other over the next several weeks. Kroupa also continued to see Liz Golyar during this time period. On November 9 or 10, 2012, Farver’s Explorer was vandalized with spray paint while parked in Macedonia. Investigators subsequently learned that Golyar, via a Facebook account she had created under a false persona, claimed to be in Macedonia during that time period. That imposter Facebook account had also attempted to “friend” Farver.
Farver worked in Omaha at a business not far from Kroupa’s apartment. Starting Monday, November 12, 2012, she was beginning a weeklong project at work that would require her to work late hours. Farver arranged for her teenage son to stay with her mother and stepfather during that week, and Kroupa agreed Farver could spend the week with him at his apartment. Farver went to work as planned on Monday, November 12, and left work between 8 and 9 p.m. Her coworkers expected her at work the next morning. Farver spent the night with Kroupa at his apartment.
Kroupa left for work on November 13, 2012, at approximately 6:20 a.m. At that time, Farver was awake and using her laptop computer. No one has seen Farver since.
3. Farver’s Cell Phone, Debit Card, and Facebook Account
Records from Farver’s employer showed she called in on the work project at 6:15 a.m. on November 13, 2012. Other records showed Farver logged into her Facebook account from Kroupa’s apartment at 6:39 a.m. and logged out at 6:42 a.m.
At 9:54 a.m., Farver’s Facebook account “unfriended” Kroupa. At 10 a.m., Kroupa received a text from Farver’s cell phone asking him if he wanted to live together. This surprised him, as he thought Farver agreed they were only involved in a casual relationship, and he responded, “No.” Twenty seconds later, he received an angry text from Farver’s cell phone breaking off the relationship.
Also on November 13, 2012, Farver’s cell phone texted Farver’s mother. The text said Farver had found a new job, which surprised her mother. Farver’s mother texted back over the course of the next several days and asked questions, including when Farver was coming to pick up her son for an upcoming family wedding, but received no response. This was unusual because Farver and her mother typically had daily contact. Farver’s mother reported her daughter missing on Friday, November 16.
On November 15, 2012, Farver’s employer received a text from her cell phone, stating that she was resigning and was sending “Shanna Golyar” to replace her. Later that day, Golyar filled out an online application with the employer. On November 16, Farver’s debit card was used to make purchases of $167.78 and $226.56 at two separate discount stores in Omaha. An item purchased at one of the stores was a shower curtain with a distinctive black-and-white floral pattern.
On November 17, 2012, Farver’s mother received another text from Farver’s cell phone. It included a photograph of a check for $5,000 made out to Farver and signed by Golyar, and asked Farver’s mother to let Liz Golyar into Farver’s home to retrieve a bedroom set Golyar had allegedly purchased via the check. Farver’s mother was suspicious about the text and contacted police. Police had Farver’s service provider “ping” her cell phone to attempt to locate it, and the ping showed that in the early hours of November 18, the cell phone was at an Omaha location not far from Golyar’s residence. Police searched for Farver’s cell phone, but it was never found.
Farver’s Facebook account continued to be active after November 13, 2012, making posts and sending messages. Trial evidence demonstrated, however, that the account making the posts and sending the messages was actually an imposter account, created using photographs and information available on Farver’s actual Facebook account. The imposter account making those posts was linked via digital evidence to Liz Golyar. This imposter account attempted to contact both Farver’s mother and Farver’s teenage son. Photographs from Farver’s original Facebook account were also used by Golyar to make online dating profiles in Farver’s name.
4. Harassment of Golyar and Kroupa
Beginning in November 2012 and continuing until approximately December 2015, both Liz Golyar and Kroupa began receiving frequent harassing texts and emails, purportedly from Farver. The texts came from as many as 30 different telephone numbers. The emails came from as many as 30 different email accounts. Kroupa alone received 50 to 60 such emails per day, in addition to frequent texts and missed telephone calls. The texts and emails frequently referred to Golyar as a “whore.”
Liz Golyar reported vandalism to her property, allegedly by Farver, on November 23, 2012, and February 12 and April 1, 2013. Liz Golyar also reported someone had broken into her garage prior to November 23, 2012, and stolen checks from her. Kroupa reported vandalism to his property in July, October, and December 2013. Many of these acts of vandalism involved messages referring to Golyar as a “whore.” Each time an act of vandalism occurred, Kroupa, Golyar, or both would receive a text or email from “Farver” taking responsibility for the act. The acts of vandalism tended to occur at times when Kroupa was becoming less interested in Golyar, and the two were drawn back together by their mutual fear or dislike of Farver.
In January 2013, with Kroupa’s consent, the police downloaded information from his cell phone to obtain data related to the texts and emails purportedly sent by Farver. At the same time, with Liz Golyar’s consent, police also downloaded similar information from her cell phone. The downloads were “logical” downloads, which did not include data previously deleted from the devices.
5. Todd Butterbaugh
Todd Butterbaugh met Liz Golyar in September 2010 through an online dating site, and they dated until September 2015. Butterbaugh understood the relationship was exclusive. During the course of that relationship, Butterbaugh helped Liz Golyar with her bills, helped her buy a car, let her move into his residence with her two children, and cared for her children.
In January 2013, Butterbaugh began receiving text and email messages, purportedly from Farver. In those messages, “Farver” explained she was one of Golyar’s friends and Liz Golyar had given her Butterbaugh’s contact information in case “Farver” ever needed an emergency contact for Golyar. When Butterbaugh asked Golyar about the messages, she confirmed this and said Farver was her friend. In general, the texts and emails between “Farver” and Butterbaugh discussed Butterbaugh’s relationship with Golyar. Butterbaugh did not learn of Kroupa until Liz Golyar’s cell phone was downloaded by the police. At that time, Golyar told Butterbaugh she had dated Kroupa before she met Butterbaugh and that they had remained friends.
Liz Golyar and her two children moved in with Butterbaugh in July 2013 and stayed until December 2015 or January 2016. During the time she dated and lived with Butterbaugh, Golyar did not tell him she was being harassed by Farver or anyone else. While staying with Butterbaugh, Golyar had access to his Wi-Fi network and several electronic devices, including a laptop and an iPod. Golyar and Butterbaugh broke up in October 2015.
6. August 17, 2013, Fire
Liz Golyar and Kroupa broke off their relationship in early August 2013. Shortly thereafter, on Saturday, August 17, at 8:14 a.m., a fire was reported at a residence Liz Golyar rented in Omaha. Golyar told investigators she and her children had left the residence at 3 p.m. the day before, and she had returned at approximately 7:30 a.m. the following day and discovered the fire. She told investigators she was in the process of moving from the residence, but they later learned she had been evicted. Firefighters found smoke in the home, but the fire had cooled and was no longer hot. Golyar’s four pets died in the fire.
Investigators discovered at least six different points of origin of the fire and found accelerants. They quickly determined the fire had been set intentionally.
Liz Golyar and Kroupa both received emails, purportedly from Farver, claiming responsibility for the fire. The email to Golyar was sent at 12:56 a.m. on August 17, 2013, and said “Farver” hoped Golyar and her children burned to death. The email to Kroupa was sent at 11:57 p.m. on August 16 and said, “I am not lying I set that nasty whores house on fire I hope the whore and her kids die in it.” Golyar and Kroupa got back together after the fire.
7. Amy Flora and December 5, 2015, Shooting
Before Kroupa met Liz Golyar and Farver, he had a long-term relationship with Amy Flora and they had two children together. Flora and Kroupa remained amicable after their breakup. Flora and the children lived in Omaha, and Golyar met Flora briefly when she accompanied Kroupa to pick up his children for parenting time. In 2013, Flora began receiving harassing Facebook and text messages purportedly from Farver. Some of the messages indicated Flora was being watched.
Liz Golyar and Kroupa broke up again in mid-November 2015, because Kroupa decided to have a “more serious” relationship with another woman. Shortly thereafter, on Friday, December 4, Golyar told police that Flora had been sending her harassing messages via Facebook and text. Golyar told police that she now suspected it was Flora, not Farver, who had been harassing her and Kroupa all along. Golyar consented to a download of her cell phone so police could review the harassing messages. After the download, the investigating officer told Golyar he would follow up with Flora on Monday.
On Saturday morning, Liz Golyar sent the officer additional harassing messages she claimed were sent to her by Flora. Later that day, at 6:40 p.m., officers were dispatched to a park located in a wilderness area in Council Bluffs, Iowa. They found Golyar sitting on the ground near the driver’s side of the only car in the parking lot. Golyar had been shot in the left thigh. Golyar’s accounts of how the shooting occurred varied significantly over the course of the next several days and weeks, but she insisted Flora had shot her.
Based on Golyar’s statements at the scene, police went to Flora’s home. Flora testified that she answered her door to find “police standing at [her] door with guns pointed at [her].” Flora had been home with her 2-year-old son, and officers noticed her car was cold to the touch, indicating it had not been used recently. Police questioned Flora and found her cooperative.
Police obtained consent from both Flora and Kroupa to download their cell phones on Monday, December 7, 2015. The download from Kroupa’s cell phone showed many of the emails he received from “Farver” were sent from Butterbaugh’s internet protocol (IP) address while Golyar was living with Butterbaugh. A digital forensic expert explained that an IP address is like a postal address for an electronic device and that it references a device’s access to the internet from a fixed location. He testified that if a device accessed a residence’s Wi-Fi, the IP address will be that residence.
In late January or early February 2016, Kroupa moved in with Flora over a weekend. The following week, Liz Golyar contacted police, very upset that Flora had not been charged in relation to the shooting. Golyar again consented to a download of her cell phone after telling police she had received additional harassing emails from “Flora.” At this time, police generally told Golyar that they suspected Flora in the shooting, but needed additional information to charge her. This was untrue, because by this time, police suspected Golyar had shot herself.
Liz Golyar then began receiving additional emails from “Flora” about Farver’s murder. These emails are dated between December 21, 2015, and February 24, 2016. Several of the emails confessed to the murder of Farver and the arson of Golyar’s residence, and at least one confessed to the shooting of Golyar. The emails confessing to killing Farver gave details of how the murder occurred. The emails contained various and sometimes inconsistent details about the murder, but consistently described that Farver was stabbed in her vehicle, her body was wrapped in a tarp then later burned and put in the garbage, her vehicle was cleaned afterward, the killer posed as Farver after the killing, and the killer went to Farver’s home after the killing. One email describes the interior of Farver’s home with precision.
8. Farver’s Explorer and Other Evidence
The January 8, 2013, download from Liz Golyar’s cell phone showed the cell phone had made six calls to Farver’s landline on November 6 and 7, 2012, just days before Farver disappeared. Also discovered in the download of Golyar’s cell phone was a photograph of Farver’s Ford Explorer. Metadata showed the photograph was taken December 24, 2012. This date was after Farver disappeared on November 13 and before her Explorer was found parked near Kroupa’s apartment in January 2013. The download of Golyar’s cell phone also included a video that was uploaded to YouTube, a video-sharing website, by “Farver.” The video showed an apartment complex that looked like Kroupa’s. The IP address used to access the YouTube account was Butterbaugh’s. The YouTube account was created in 2014, after Farver’s disappearance.
When Farver’s Explorer was initially discovered in Omaha in January 2013, it was examined by a crime scene technician. At the time, the technician was primarily looking for fingerprints and noticed the vehicle was very clean. The only fingerprints found were on a mint container in the center cupholder. In September 2015, investigators learned the fingerprints were Golyar’s.
On December 8, 2015, the Explorer was processed again by the same technician. This time she was looking for blood, but found none. On February 18, 2016, the technician processed the vehicle a third time. This time, she removed the cloth seat covers and found a large red stain on the passenger side seat foam. DNA testing showed it was Farver’s blood.
9. Search Warrants
In February 2016, investigators obtained warrants and searched the apartment where Golyar was living, as well as the residence where she had lived with Butterbaugh. The storage unit where Farver’s mother had moved Farver’s belongings was searched in March 2016.
Various items were found at Liz Golyar’s apartment, including LG cell phones; a black-and-white floral shower curtain that matched the description of the one purchased at the discount store with Farver’s debit card on November 16, 2012; a red Sony video camcorder; a Nikon Coolpix digital camera; and memory cards. Owners’ manuals for the Nikon camera and the red Sony camcorder were found among Farver’s belongings during the search of the storage unit, along with receipts from a furniture store showing Farver had purchased both items in October 2012.
10. Evidence Linked Golyar to “Farver” and “Flora” Emails
Police also obtained search warrants for a large number of email accounts, including 31 from Google, 9 from Yahoo!, and 5 from Microsoft. A digital forensic examiner gave detailed testimony linking Liz Golyar to all relevant messages sent by “Farver” after her disappearance from these accounts based on IP address and device usage. The forensic examiner explained that when using these “imposter” accounts, Golyar often attempted to hide her identity by using services that either disguised her IP address and/or sent messages at times other than when they were composed. The forensic examiner also gave detailed testimony linking Golyar to all relevant messages sent by “Flora” from these accounts based on IP address and device usage. At trial, Golyar did not contest the forensic evidence linking her to these imposter accounts. Similarly, on appeal, Golyar does not contest that the State proved the emails from “Farver” and “Flora” were actually authored by Golyar.
11. Evidence Relating to Farver’s Body
In one of the emails confessing to the murder, “Flora” described a “yin-yang” tattoo on Farver’s left hip. This tattoo had never been described to the public. Police located Farver’s ex-husband and learned that when the two married in 2009, they got matching yin-yang tattoos. Farver’s ex-husband’s tattoo was on his calf, and Farver’s was on her left hip. Police also obtained a photograph of Farver from her mother which showed a tattoo of the Chinese symbol for mother on the top of Farver’s left foot.
In February 2017, investigators recovered a tablet computer from Kroupa that had been accessible to Golyar while the two were dating. The tablet had a memory card known as a micro SD card inserted into it. The forensic digital examiner found no existing files on the SD card, but was able to recover many deleted ones. These included over 13,000 photographs and numerous text messages sent either to or from Golyar.
The tablet did not have text capabilities, so the examiner realized the SD card must have been used with another device at one time. He discovered that Golyar’s “LG VS920” cell phone, the contents of which were downloaded by police on January 8, 2013, was compatible with the SD card. The login file for Golyar’s cell phone showed it had used the SD card. And 458 of the 13,000 photographs on the card were also on Golyar’s cell phone when it was downloaded.
Several of the photographs on the SD card were images of what appears to be a blue and grey or silver tarp, taken from various angles. Another photograph depicts a flesh-colored object with a yin-yang symbol on it. A forensic video analyst compared the yin-yang symbol in this photograph to an image of the yin-yang symbol on Farver’s ex-husband’s calf and concluded they were very consistent with each other. Another photograph depicts a flesh-colored object with a Chinese symbol on it. The video analyst compared the symbol in this photograph to the image of the tattoo on Farver’s left foot provided by Farver’s mother, and concluded the images were also very consistent with one another.
A forensic pathologist testified that the photograph depicting the Chinese symbol was a photograph of the top part of a human left foot. The pathologist opined that the foot showed signs of decomposition, but admitted she could not tell from the photograph how long the foot had been decomposing.
Golyar waived a jury trial, and she did not testify at the bench trial. After the State rested, Golyar moved for a “directed motion of acquittal,” which the court overruled. The defense did not present any evidence. Golyar was convicted of one count of first degree murder and one count of second degree arson. She was sentenced to life imprisonment on the murder conviction and to 18 to 20 years’ imprisonment on the arson conviction, the sentences to run consecutively. She appeals, represented by new counsel.