Lover, Stalker, Killer is the latest addition to Netflix’s true-crime documentary library, and the case here is a rather intriguing and bewildering one. The documentary film is based on events that took place around 2012 in Omaha, USA, in which a vengeful ex-lover crossed all limits to cause harm to a man named Dave Kroupa and truly turned his and all his acquaintances’ lives into a living hell. Lover, Stalker, Killer is satisfyingly precise and well-presented, making it an intriguing watch despite lacking varying perspectives in it.
How did Dave Kroupa find himself in a troubling romantic situation?
The story of Lover, Stalker, Killer begins with an introduction to the man who found himself caught in the middle of a bizarre and dangerous situation around 2012–13. An automobile mechanic by profession, Dave found his first true love in a woman named Amy Flora. As the two were colleagues at a truck stop, they started dating, soon fell in love, and started a family of their own within some time. As parents to a young girl and a boy, both Dave and Amy had to work very hard to earn enough to keep the family afloat, and they had to do multiple shifts throughout the day. The work pressure became such that the couple could hardly spend time with each other anymore, and this started to wedge a distance between them. Over the next few years, Dave and Amy grew apart from each other, and upon realizing that they were really not in love any longer, the couple decided to split and part ways. However, since they still had to look after their children, who would be staying with Amy, Dave decided to move in somewhere close to his ex-partner so that the children would not be affected by their split.
It was at this time that Dave first moved to Omaha, in Nebraska, and started working at a repair garage as a mechanic. Still full of age at thirty-five, the man wanted to meet new people and possibly even try his luck at love once again, and so he decided to check out the online dating scene. Creating an account on the Plenty of Fish dating website, which was quite common at the time, he waited for responses and finally found one match with a woman named Shanna “Liz” Golyar. The match instantly excited Dave, for he was of the opinion that he and Liz had quite a few common interests, and their first date was also equally promising. Dave was not looking for any serious relationship and had been clear about this from the very beginning, and Liz was also of the same opinion. Their unattached romantic frenzy took off, and Dave and Liz had quite some fun together for a few weeks. He maintains in the documentary interview that he had expressed to Liz that he had no intention of settling down yet and that the woman was fine with it as well.
A few weeks later, Dave was back on the dating website once again, and he now found the profile of an attractive woman named Cari Farver, whom he instantly recognized. Sometime earlier, Cari had gone to the repair garage where Dave had fixed her car, and the man had remembered her because of how pretty she looked. Seeing her on the dating site made Dave reach out to Cari, and they soon went out on a date, which went pretty well, too. There were similarities and matching interests between this couple as well, and soon, they started their own fling, getting intimate over multiple instances. But during one of the initial times, when Cari went over to Dave’s apartment, Liz suddenly appeared outside his door, wanting to take something of hers from his place. Although the situation was extremely awkward, it did not deter Cari at the time. Dave had been honest about his wishes and intentions for Cari as well, and the woman did not mind getting casually involved with him.
But Dave Kroupa’s life took a sudden turn one day when he received a message from Cari asking him to make their relationship more permanent. Merely weeks after meeting and getting casually involved with each other, Cari wanted to move in together with Dave. The man, who had been open about his disinterest in any serious relationship, naturally denied the request but immediately received threatening responses from Cari. The first few texts were mostly about how he had played with her feelings and how she was left hurt by this bitter experience, and it eventually stopped for a few days. Dave believed that it was only an emotional response from Cari, and although it was genuinely weird for someone to ask to move in together only after a few weeks, especially after agreeing to keep things casual, he did not pursue the matter anymore. However, after a few days, the messages started once more, this time becoming much more threatening and abusive, stating how Dave’s life and that of his close ones would be hampered because of these decisions.
The threatening texts took on a very real form when Dave was visited by Liz one evening, and he was shown that the side of her car had been intentionally scratched by someone with a sharp object. To make matters even worse, Cari had texted Liz as well, threatening to hurt and kill her if she did not leave Dave. There was nothing going on between Dave and Liz at the time, and yet Cari wanted to hurt the woman. Within the next few days, all limits were crossed by Cari as she kept stalking Dave, messaging him threats whenever he met Liz or any other women who simply came to his garage for repairs. The threats extended to his ex-partner Amy and their children as well, as Cari started to text Amy, telling her to be away from the man’s life. There were tremendously frightening instances as well, like when Cari followed Amy and her children to a park and threatened to kill the kids over similar texts. But all hell finally broke loose when Liz’s house was broken into and set on fire, killing all her pets and causing significant damage. Although Dave and Liz had come close to each other during this time, the woman decided to move away from the town with her kids after the horrific fire, and Dave obviously supported her decision.
Why did the police not catch Cari for stalking?
The stalking and threatening against Dave and his close friends and family continued for more than a year, and it even continued when the man changed his address, phone number, and job. Despite starting afresh, Dave did create a profile on a dating website, and he was once again tracked down by the vengeful Cari, who continued to threaten him. Dave had already asked for the help of Omaha police quite a while back, and investigators did take up the case, but the most difficult part of the matter was that Cari had been missing for all this time. Cari Farver had been last seen and found track of on the 13th of November, 2012, the same day when she asked to move in with Dave over text, and nobody had seen her since then. Her mother, Nancy Raney, had also contacted the police when her daughter did not return home after a few days, and Dave was contacted by the authorities regarding the matter.
An official investigation began as Cari seemed to have left her house, deserting her mother and her young son behind. However, she did keep messaging her mother as well, stating that she was safe but did not want to return home at the time. Cari then also told her mother that she was moving away and had found a new job and a new life in Kansas. The police searched Cari’s house and found all her clothes and belongings intact, as if she had simply vanished from existence and not moved away. She had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and had been prescribed medications for it, but these medicines were also found in the house, making it seem like she had intentionally left them behind. Therefore, the Omaha police were of the opinion that Cari’s stalking and blackmailing episode was because of her bipolar disorder getting out of hand because of the lack of medication.
However, when the Pottawattamie County police took over the case in their own interest, their investigation resulted in some very different results. The text messages sent by Cari were looked into by an IT expert, and although numerous different internet servers had been used, the most frequently used server was tracked down to a house in the area. The police were now of the opinion that Cari was not the real perpetrator and that someone else was impersonating her, and soon, their suspicion took a definite shape. The ISP address led to a man who reported that his on-again, off-again girlfriend stayed with him for a long time after her house had burned down.
Could the investigators find Cari Farver?
It was indeed Liz Golyar who became the suspect in this sudden twist in the tale, but she could not be directly approached by the police. The investigators knew that they needed to know more about where Cari Farver was, and the whole case was looked into as one of murder and not just simple stalking. It was gradually becoming clearer that it was Liz who had been pretending to be Cari for all this while, out of sheer jealousy and obsessive behavior toward Dave Kroupa. The woman even went to the extent of breaking into Dave’s new residence, removing a handgun he had bought for his safety, and then shooting herself with the same gun, claiming that Amy Flora had attacked her. But the cards gradually began to fall for Liz when the detectives managed to gain her trust and place her in a trap of her own doing. Liz continued with the lie that Cari still frequently sent her threatening texts, and she forwarded these to the police upon their asking.
In this manner, the authorities managed to make Liz reveal more things about Cari as she forwarded these fake messages, and it was roughly estimated that Cari Farver had been stabbed to death around the 13th of November, when she had gone missing. By this time, Cari’s car had also been found and intensely investigated, with blood stains from the woman being found inside. Interestingly, a box of mint found in the car revealed Liz’s fingerprints, placing her at a possible crime scene. Liz Goylar was arrested by the police for the suspected murder of Cari and the impersonation that followed, but the police still needed some more incriminating evidence against her. Sadly, Cari Farver’s body was never found, and her grieving mother and son had to settle with only the confirmation of her passing.
What happened to Liz Goylar?
Towards the end of the prosecution investigation, the authorities managed to find an old memory card from some of Dave’s belongings, which Liz had clearly used during 2012. Going through the contents of the card, the police finally found a single photograph of what looked like the foot of a dead woman. Although it could not be proved that this was most definitely the body of Cari, the police were sure that it would be enough to put Liz behind bars for a long time. The judge did express apprehensions regarding the exercise of the law in the matter since Cari’s dead body was not found. However, he did admit that all suggestions pointed towards Liz being the suspect behind the woman’s disappearance, and ultimately, Liz Goylar was sentenced to life imprisonment. At the moment, Liz continues to be in jail, as her sentence also came with no chance of parole, while Cari’s mother, Nancy, and her son Maxwell still live on with the memory of their loved one, just like Dave Kroupa, who still bears the guilt of introducing Liz and Cari, which ended in such a tragedy.