On December 5th, 2015, Dave Kroupa was shocked to learn that his on-again off-again girlfriend, Liz Golyar, had been shot. Liz explained that she was taking a walk at Big Lake Park in Council Bluffs, Iowa. She saw a shadow emerge through the darkness before she was shot in the thigh. Liz was only mildly hurt, but this was the most serious in a series of four years of bizarre instances occurring over the past three years. Ever since Liz had begun dating Dave Kroupa, her life had been filled with drama and terrifying instances. This is the story of Beyond Obsessed: A Twisted Tale of Jealousy in the Midwest.
In 2011, Dave Kroupa and his longtime girlfriend, Amy, broke up after twelve years together. Together, Dave and Amy shared two children, but Dave’s reluctance to get married contributed to the breakdown of the relationship. Despite the end of their romantic relationship, Amy and Dave remained amicable and close friends as they raised their children. In fact, Dave and Amy often spent the holidays together with their children.
By the summer of 2012, Dave was ready to start dating again but was not seeking any commitments. He wanted to meet women and have fun, plain and simple. His lift revolved around his job at Hyatt Tire and his children. Dave wanted to find a woman or women who were likeminded and not looking for commitment. He turned to Plenty of Fish, an online dating website. The first person he met online was Liz Golyar.
Shanna Elizabeth Golyar, who went by Liz, was born June 28th, 1975, in Michigan. Her life of tumultuous from the beginning. Born Shanna Kay, Liz was born to a mother who had already lost custody of two children related to being in an abusive relationship with Shanna’s father. Shanna’s father was an ex-convict who beat her mother daily and had a history of “indecent liberties with a child in 1967” (Rule, 2020). When Shanna was just a toddler, her baby brother was born. Eventually, the abuse in the family caused Shanna and her brother to be taken into foster care, just as her older brothers had been. Shanna’s mother was working to get her and her little brother back and was just two weeks away from being reunited in 1978 when she was struck by a car and died. Afterwards, her father “drank himself to death” (Rule, 2020). Shanna and her brothers were all separated in the foster system and Shanna was eventually adopted and her named changed to Shanna Elizabeth.
Dave and Liz shared their first date in 2012. Dave found Liz to be a sexy vivacious woman. They both had children around the same age, and Liz claimed to share Dave’s desire to have only a casual relationship. Liz had her own business, performing housekeeping services. The two hit it off immediately and enjoyed each other’s company. Over the next few weeks, they began seeing each other regularly, carrying on a sexual relationship that they both enjoyed. Dave admits, however, that Liz was never going to be more to him because “She was not well read. I couldn’t have conversation with her about the news” (Rule, 2020).
Despite the mutual understanding that the relationship was to be casual only, Liz started to get very clingy. She wanted to spend more and more time with Dave, who valued his independence. She would question him about his actions on nights they did not spend together, to which he reminded her was none of her business. Dave was not in a committed relationship and continued to see other women in addition to Liz. Dave encouraged Liz to see other men to, but she deleted her Plenty of Fish profile and explained to Dave she did not feel comfortable sleeping with multiple people at the same time.
Dave continued to see Liz, despite his irritation with her clinginess. He realized, however, that Liz got upset when he would spend time with his kids and ex-girlfriend Amy. He reminded her, time and time again, that they were not in a committed relationship, and he could do whatever he wanted to do. Sometimes, Dave would be getting ready for a date when Liz would show up, claiming to want sex. Dave was always willing to have sex but would then leave on his date. Liz claimed to be on board with the arrangement, but her actions indicated she wanted more than what Dave was willing to offer. This caused Dave to pull away.
One day in the fall of 2012, Dave was working his job at Hyatt Tire when a pretty woman walked in, catching his attention. He was instantly attracted to her but didn’t speak up. Later, he found the woman on Plenty of Fish. Her name was Cari Farver. Dave messaged her, but it wasn’t until she came back into his place of work that he asked the pretty woman out. She accepted and they made plans to meet up in November of 2012.
Cari Lea Farver was born November 30th, 1974. She was a smart and beautiful woman who worked as a computer programmer with expertise in coding. The thirty-seven-year-old was divorced with a teenage son. Cari was gorgeous, classy, and the kind of woman Dave could carry on an intelligent conversation with. However, Dave was distracted during their date from multiple text messages and calls from Liz Golyar. Liz claimed she had to get something from his apartment that she had left there and needed it now. Once back at his apartment, Dave explained the situation to Cari. Cari was very understanding and didn’t seem phased at all by another woman stopping by her date’s apartment. After all, Cari and Dave had agreed to a casual relationship only.
Cari may have been understanding, but Liz was clearly upset when she saw Cari at Dave’s apartment. Liz, once again, pushed Dave for commitment, causing him to pull away even more. He started spending more time with Cari, who he found intellectually stimulating as well as sexually attractive. Dave said, of his relationship with Cari, “I felt like I hit the jackpot” (Rule, 2020). Liz continued to send Dave emails, suggesting that after putting months into their relationship, she thought it was only wise for the two to give it a real shot. Dave did not want to be in a monogamous relationship with Liz but was open to continuing a sexual relationship. He was not going to stop seeing Cari or anyone else for Liz, however.
Shortly after starting to see Cari, Dave invited her to stay the night a few nights a week at his apartment. Cari lived in Iowa but worked across the border in Nebraska where Dave lived. She was working on a big project and being closer to work would be beneficial. Dave enjoyed her company and was fine with her staying for a few days. Cari didn’t’ seem to be aggressively pursuing anything serious, but just having fun and enjoying the convenience of Dave’s apartment to her job.
In early November, while staying with Dave, Cari received a few Facebook friend requests from people she wasn’t sure she knew. However, she realized that one of the people was from her hometown of Macedonia, Iowa. Cari decided to message the person, asking “Do I know you?”. Cari never received a response. Dave Kroupa left work on November 13th, 2012, saying goodbye to his house guest on the way out. He had no idea that day would change his life forever.
On November 13th, 2012, Cari Farver failed to show up to work. This was very unlike her, as she was always very punctual and reliable. That morning, Dave received a text message from Cari, requesting the two of them move in together. Dave was surprised by the suggestion since he and Cari had already discussed keeping things casual. He responded that he didn’t think it was a good idea. He was not prepared from the text message he received back from Cari, “Fine. Fuck You! I’m seeing somebody else. Don’t contact me again” (Rule, 2020). Dave was flabbergasted.
He certainly believed that Cari was a cool person who shared his views on long-term relationships. Over the past few weeks, Dave and Cari had been having so much fun, and she never indicated she wanted to change their situation. He noticed soon after that Cari had unfriended him on Facebook. Dave was disappointed, but not devastated. After all, this was only a casual relationship. When he returned home that evening, everything Cari had brought with her was gone as if she had never been there.
In the days following the abrupt end to Dave and Cari’s relationship, Dave started getting numerous text messages and emails from Cari. They were pretty nasty, calling Dave’s other dates “whores”, especially the one Cari had met, Liz. Liz started to receive text messages and emails too, calling her “fat ugly whore” and other vulgar names. Some messaged threatened Liz to stay away from Dave or else. Liz contacted Dave, who shared that he too as getting bombarded with ugly messages from Cari. Dave felt responsible for dragging Liz into this, so he apologized and agreed to see her more frequently. In fact, she convinced him to dedicate every Wednesday night to her.
Dave and Liz weren’t the only ones receiving disturbing messages from Cari. Her family became concerned as a few days went by with no word from Cari. Finally, she texted to tell them she took another job in Kansas and was moving away. Her family did believe that she would leave her teenage son, but they learned Cari had not shown up to work for several days. She had once lived in Kansas, but her mother truly did not believe she would just move like that. Cari’s brother was getting married that weekend, an event Cari surely wound not miss.
The wedding came and went without Cari’s presence. Her best friend’s baby shower, which she was hosting, also came and went without Cari. Her mother grew concerned, but Cari continued to text her. The text messages indicated she just wanted to be alone and that her mother was too controlling, but her mother felt something was very wrong and reported Cari missing. When police came to take the missing persons report, they learned that Cari suffered from bipolar disorder and her medications were left at home, meaning she was likely unmedicated. There was no law against an adult disappearing on their own free will, so the police didn’t aggressively pursue the case given these facts.
According to the Mayo Clinic, bipolar disorder is “a mental health condition that causes extreme mood swings that include emotional highs and lows” (Mayo Clinic, n.d.). Mood swings include feelings of euphoria, hyperactivity, unusual irritability, sleep disturbances, impaired judgement and behavior, and inability to think clearly. It certainly seems plausible that Cari’s actions could be explained by an uncontrolled mental health condition.
Soon, the incessant messages from Cari to Liz and Dave turned vulgar and threatening. One day, Liz came home to find her garage had been vandalized and “Whore from Dave” was written on the wall of her garage with paint. Liz also said some old checks from an older account she had were missing. Liz was furious, and Dave could not blame her. A police report had been made, and Dave hoped the harassment would soon end. That night, he received an email from Cari, admitting to being the vandal of Liz’s property.
On November 17th, Cari texted a photo of signed check to her mother. She explained that she had sold her furniture, and someone was coming to get it. The check was made out to Cari for $5,000 and signed by someone named Shanna Golyar. Little did Cari’s mother know that Shanna was someone who went by Liz and was also seeing the same mad as her daughter. No one ever came by to get the furniture. Cari’s mother requested that Cari called her so she could hear her voice. She wasn’t convinced her daughter would so these things, and she needed proof.
“Cari was meticulous with her grammar and spelling. Texts and emails had to be perfect, or she’d correct them” her mother said (Rule, 2020). These texts were sloppy and filled with grammatical errors, another thing Dave Kroupa had noted too. He didn’t know Cari well, however, and so he had no reason to think it was anyone but her texting. Cari’s mother, however, was not so sure. Not only were Cari’s messages poorly written, but her tone was mean and angry. Cari was not known to be a mean or angry person.
Soon, Cari’s supervisor received her letter of resignation. In the letter, she suggested that a friend of hers would be coming in to apply for her position. She stated the person was Shanna Golyar. In fact, Liz Golyar did apply at the business, but she did not meet the minimum qualifications for hire. In the meantime, police attempted to track the cell phone activity from Cari’s phone in order to locate her. Police were focused more on stopping the harassment of Liz and Dave because they didn’t consider Cari endangered and believed she was missing by her own choice.
The pings were located in the general vicinity of Dave’s apartment, but not close enough to either Dave or Liz to be coming from their homes. When they searched the areas where her phone pinged, they found no sign of Cari or her vehicle. However, Liz and Dave were still receiving hundreds of texts and emails each day. Often, they would be watching a movie together when both of their phones would sound with threatening and nasty messages from Cari. The constant harassment was frustrating and sometimes scary, but it did bring Dave and Liz together as they shared a common stalker.
During one of her numerous reports to police, Liz explained that Cari blamed her for her breakup with Dave. She explained that the check Cari sent to her mother was one stolen from Liz’s garage during the vandalism incident. Dave and Liz were informed by police that Cari’s family had reported her missing. The police had attempted to contact Cari several times, without success. After they spoke to Liz and Dave, however, the Sherriff received this text message from Cari, “I don’t care about this missing person report, but I would really appreciate it if you leave Dave Kroupa out of it. I will be leaving the state. My mother overreacted. I have been to my house a few times” (Rule, 2020). She later admitted to stealing Liz’s checkbook via texted, prompting a warning from police that when someone finds her, even in another state, she will be held on that warrant.
Months went by and Cari remained out of sight, but certainly not out of anyone’s mind. She was continuing to send harassing text messages and emails, often telling Dave what he was wearing correctly. No matter how many times he attempted to catch her stalking him through his window, he never could. Cari’s father passed away, and Cari’s family grew increasingly concerned when she missed the funeral. She texted her apologizes, but no one had heard her voice in months. Cari’s family knew something wasn’t right.
Cari’s Facebook account remained active. She posted that she moved to Kansas for a great job. She even said “Hey got a great guy, David Kroupa. Moving down to Kansas. Now if I can get my son to move with me, I’d be so happy” (Rule, 2020). However, her son had turned fifteen without so much as a call from his mother. She had basically abandoned him, so her parents were granted custody through the Iowa court system.
Dave and Liz continued to see each other, but Dave felt the need to pull away at times when Liz became increasingly needy and clingy. Although she claimed to be fine with a more casual arrangement, she continued to suggest she wanted more. Whenever Dave would get frustrated with Liz and break things off, Cari would ramp up the harassment. Liz dubbed their stalker “Crazy Cari”. “We’d both become victims. We had something in common that we didn’t have with anyone else” (Rule, 2020). The stalking continued to bring the two back to each other.
At one point, Cari claimed to be pregnant by Dave. Dave had a vasectomy years before, so knew that even if she was pregnant, it was not his. He did not know that Cari had a hysterectomy years ago, making it impossible for her to even be pregnant. Perhaps this was just another crazy delusion of a mentally ill stalker. Cari texted Liz, “Dave and I want to provide a happy home for this baby, so I am kindly asking you to please back off and leave Dave alone” (Rule, 2020). Liz responded, “Listen. Just leave me alone. If you want David that bad, have him. I am so sick of all this drama. I don’t want to be in the middle of it anymore. You are terrorizing me, and I don’t need it” (Rule, 2020). However, Liz and Dave continued to see each other.
At some point, Dave noticed a car parked in the parking lot that he recognized. It was Cari’s car! Police processed the vehicle but found no signs to indicate where Cari was. The car had a scratch on one side, but no fingerprints on the outside of the vehicle or the steering wheel. It was odd that there were no fingerprints on the steering wheel, not even Cari’s. They did find a single fingerprint, however, on a tin of mints in the center counsel. The print did not match Cari or anyone in the system. The car was extremely clean except a small pink stain on the passenger seat of the vehicle, which looked like spilled strawberry milk. Photographs were taken and the vehicle was eventually released to Cari’s parents, who technically owned the vehicle.
In Spring of 2013, a man called Cari’s mother and identified himself as Dave Kroupa. He told the worried mother that Cari called stating she was at a homeless shelter in Omaha and wanted picked up. Filled with hope, Cari’s family and police rushed to the homeless shelter only to find out Cari was not there and never had been. It was later determined that the caller was not Dave Kroupa and the whole incident was just a cruel joke.
Cari’s harassment continued as she sent pictures of Liz and her children to Dave, threatening to hurt them if Dave didn’t leave Liz alone. Meanwhile, Dave grew bored with Liz and met another woman online. He accepted a Facebook friend request from her, only to be bombarded by messages from Cari within an hour. The woman received messages to, including this one: “So, you must be Dave’s new whore. He has herpes from the whore he was dating. I would watch out for him” (Rule, 2020). Jessica quickly broke off contact with Dave, but the harassment continued. Cari made threats against the woman and her kids, sending pictures of them to make sure she was taken seriously. The woman made a harassment report to police.
As time continued to pass, Liz annoyed Dave more with her neediness and jealousy. He already had “Crazy Cari” stalking him, and he didn’t want to deal with anymore drama. He continued to distance himself from Liz. Liz was jealous of Dave’s relationship with his children and their mother, Amy. Amy met Liz on occasion and found her to be rude and unfriendly. Dave finally broke things off with Liz, but soon after tragedy struck.
One night in the Summer of 2013, Liz Golyar called 911 because her house was on fire. Liz told police she received a message from Cari hours earlier threatening to kill her and her children, but she received those types of messages regularly from Cari. Although the fire was determined to be arson, no humans were hurt. However, Liz’s pets were all succumbed during the house fire. Liz told Dave she was moving and not sharing her address with him, in hopes that Cari would not be able to find her. However, the two continued to see each other casually for the next two years.
Liz didn’t have many friends, but when she befriended a woman at work, they bonded instantly. Liz sensed that Dave was pulling away from her again, so she floated the idea of a threesome with her friend. Dave was possibly interested, but her friend was married and not interested. Dave’s ex-girlfriend, Amy, meanwhile had a baby by another man, but the relationship did not work out. On holidays, Dave would often spend time with Amy and all three kids, developing a bond with Amy’s youngest child. This infuriated Liz.
By December of 2015, Cari Farver had not been seen by her family in three years. However, the harassment to Liz and Dave never stopped. Police, however, had become suspicious. Why would someone who dated Dave for less than two weeks stalk him and his ex-girlfriend for years? It just didn’t make much sense. Liz Golyar showed up at the police station, however, with a new complaint. She said that she was being threatened, but not by Cari Farver.
According to Liz, Dave’s ex-girlfriend Amy was sending her nasty text messages and emails. She said that someone had stolen a gun from Dave’s apartment, which he confirmed. She said that she was scared that Amy was going to attack her and perhaps Amy had attacked Cari. She seemed to have the same thoughts as police: Why would someone stalk someone for years after a brief period of dating? Liz voluntarily let police download her phone data and messages in hopes that they could arrest Amy. Soon after, Liz was shot in the park. She was able to identify the shooter as Amy.
Police questioned Amy, who was visibly shaken by the accusation. After intense interrogation, the woman continued to deny that she had been in the park. Her older children were with their father, Dave Kroupa, but her young son was asleep in his crib. Police eventually determined that Amy was probably telling the truth, so no arrest was made. Soon after, Liz brought an email to police that she claimed was from Amy, giving a full confession to not only shooting her, but also killing Cari Farver.
The confession gave very specific details about Cari being abducted the morning of November 13th, 2012. Cari had logged on to Facebook around 6:45 am. The next time she logged in, three hours later, it was to unfriend Dave Kroupa. According to the “confession” from Amy, she abducted Cari during that time. She described Cari’s tattoos correctly, including one not mentioned in the missing persons flier. The confession said Cari was stabbed in the stomach or chest area before being burned beyond recognition and thrown in the garbage. The details included information about Cari’s vehicle and home that was not public knowledge, leading police to believe that Cari had, in fact, been murdered over three years earlier.
Police did not, however, believe that Amy Flora was the culprit. They were already suspicious of Liz Golyar, who provided this email she had allegedly received from Amy. The download of Liz’s phone, unbeknownst to her, revealed information she had deleted from her phone. They found that Liz had been using applications that scrambled cell phone tower pings, making it hard to track where messages had come from. Another application she used was designed to delay outgoing text messages, explaining why she often received messages from “Cari” while in Dave’s presence.
Police did not, however, have a body. They did learn that Liz was days from being evicted when her house was burned down and had already moved most of her and her children’s’ belonging into a friend’s house. Police wanted more evidence to make a case against Liz, so they asked to search Cari’s vehicle again. The vehicle had been sold, but the new owners granted permission for the search. Again, they found nothing.
The police wanted to confirm their suspicions and asked Liz for help “to catch Amy”. Meanwhile, they warned Dave that Liz was dangerous, and he should move in temporarily with his ex and children. He moved in with Amy, although in disbelief that Liz was anything more than annoying. This enraged Liz, so the investigators satisfaction. They wanted her upset so she would make mistakes. She called police in tears, venting her frustration that Amy got to commit murder, shoot her, and still gets to be with Dave. Police had her right where they wanted her. They asked her to try to get a more detailed confession from Amy. Hours later, Liz forwarded them another confession email.
This time, the writer explained that Cari was murdered in her own vehicle, on the passenger side. She was stabbed in the chest and abdomen. She said she then put her in garbage bags and burned her body. Finally, she says she threw her way with her trash that week, not thinking twice about eliminated perceived threats to her relationship with Dave. The writer threatened to do the same to Liz. A third search of the vehicle included removing the passenger seat cover. This time, they found a massive blood stain in the foam that was confirmed to belong to Cari Farver.
Detectives experienced in technology had a lot of work to do to track the hundreds of thousands of messages sent over the year. Through a long and tedious investigation, they determined the IP address in which Amy’s confession emails originated belonged to a man named Garrett. Garrett was living with a woman he had considered his girlfriend of many years, Shanna Golyar.
Garret explained he had been dating Shanna, known as Liz to others, for years, even before this whole fiasco began in 2012. He said that Shanna would often be distant, but he cared deeply for her. When she was losing her house to eviction, he allowed her and her kids to move in with him. He often cared for her kids while Shanna went out. She was distant with him after she moved in and rarely slept in the same room as him. She had allowed Garrett to pay her bills and be her babysitter but did not contribute much to the relationship. For a professional housekeeper, she was a slob. Garrett often had to clean the room in the basement where Shanna stayed by herself. She was always on the computer, which police suspected was due to the time commitment it took to stalk Dave Kroupa, herself, and others. Police showed Garret that in Shanna’s phone, he was labeled as “fat ass”. He was deeply hurt to learn that and that she had been seeing Dave Kroupa for three years behind his back.
Garrett allowed them to search his home including where Shanna, aka Liz, was staying. They didn’t find anything useful, but a search of her former apartment did lead to evidence. They found multiple cell phones and electronics, including a camera identified as belonging to Cari Farver. The camera contained a video of Cari with friends, proving it belonged to her. One of the phones they found was proven to be used to call Cari’s mother on the day the man claimed she was at the homeless shelter. There was also an app to disguise voices. Finally, police matched the fingerprint on the mint can in Cari’s vehicle to Shanna Liz Golyar.
Omaha police arrested Liz Golyar for the murder of Cari Farver on December 16th, 2016. Four years had passed since Cari disappeared, but not police felt they had a solid case against Liz. She denied knowing anything about Cari’s disappearance and insisted Amy was the murderer. She stuck to her victim story before asking for a lawyer. In 2017, Shanna Elizabeth Golyar stood trial for the murder of Cari Farver. While awaiting trial, an SD card belonging to Liz was found to contain a picture of a human foot in advanced stages of decay. On the foot, was a tattoo matching Cari Farver’s known tattoo.
Her defense team opted for a bench trial, meaning the judge would decide her guilt as opposed to a jury. The mountains of complicated electronic evidence were presented along with the physical evidence. The defense poked holes in the fingerprint on the mint tin, explaining that Liz could have touches it at Dave’s apartment and Cari later taken it. The defense insisted that “Not only was there no body, there was no crime scene, there was no murder weapon… There was no proof she even died” (Gowen, 2020).
However, the prosecution insisted that the amount of Cari’s blood found on the passenger seat of her vehicle was consistent with the stabbing confession received form the IP address where Liz was living. It was determined not to be menstrual blood. The photograph demonstrated that Cari was in fact deceased and that Liz took a photo of her body after death. The double life the woman had been living proved she was a pathological liar. All of the stalking messages had originated from Liz Golyar. She stalked Dave, herself, Cari’s family, and anyone Dave dared to date for years.
This wasn’t the first time Liz displayed obsessive behavior, either. When the father of her youngest child ended their relationship, she stalked his new girlfriend. When the girlfriend married her ex and had a child with him, Liz continued to stalk her. When they divorced, she still stalked her despite the “threat” being eliminated. It was also discovered that Liz once had a young son named Cody. Cody’s father adored his son, but Liz kept him at a distance. Liz was dating a man with questionable mental faculties. When Cody was found unconscious, it was determined he had died of shaken baby syndrome. Liz’s boyfriend admitted to the crime and was sent to prison, despite his family believing whole-heartedly that Liz herself had killed her child.
In 2017, Shanna Elizabeth Golyar was found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole in the Nebraska Department of Corrections. She also received twenty years for second degree arson, as she was found guilty of setting her rental home on fire. Golyar immediately appealed, but the appeal was denied. She is currently serving her sentence at the Nebraska Correctional Center for Women. She continues to maintain her innocence. Cari Farver’s body has never been found.
Cari’s mother recalls a dream one night, while Cari was still considered missing. Her ex-husband, Cari’s father, had recently passed away and appeared in the dream. He told her not to worry and that “Cari is with me”. Cari’s mother wants her daughter to be remembered as “the fun-loving, talented, smart woman that she was” (ABC News, 2020). In Cari’s memory, the Cari Farver Memorial Scholarship at the Pottawattamie County Community Foundation was established. The scholarship is awarded to students pursuing a degree it information technology.
Rule, L. (2020) A Tangled Web. Citadel Press
Snapped (2018). Liz Golyar. Season 24, episode 15. Available on Peacock Streaming