On the last morning she was seen alive, Cari Farver sent a heartbroken text message to her mother letting her know that she and her boyfriend split and she might check into a mental institution.
It was Nov. 13, 2012, and according to a source close to the investigation, Farver disappeared from Macedonia, Iowa, without so much as a hug or handshake. Three days later Farver’s employer received a Dear John text of their own: She was resigning to take another gig in Kansas.
The missives and the disappearance didn’t sit right with Farver’s mother, Nancy Raney, who went on to file a missing person’s report with the Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office (PDF).
Two months would pass before Farver reappeared—this time on Facebook.
A New Year’s Day post warned “friends” to ignore Farver’s original account claiming it had been hacked. The next day she revealed her boyfriend Dave had “proposed to me” on Christmas Eve.
“I said yes [sic] above is a picture of the ring,” the post read.
Two weeks after that Facebook post, Farver’s car turned up in the parking lot of Dave’s apartment complex in Omaha, Nebraska.
Four years later Omaha detectives, relying on new DNA and forensic evidence, say Farver wasn’t posting any nuptials or sending morbid texts.
She wasn’t even breathing.
In fact, police say, the 37-year-old woman was murdered by a romantic rival named Shanna Golyar.
David Wear, a prosecuting attorney for the Douglas County Attorney’s Office, accused Golyar of concealing “the fact that [Farver] was no longer alive” by “making numerous” attempts with text messages from Farver’s mobile phone to Facebook posts.
“There’s so many messages,” deputy prosecutor Brenda Beadle told The Daily Beast. “There’s more than one person that she was sending stuff to as Cari.”
Golyar was arrested on Dec. 22, 2016 in Iowa and extradited to a Nebraska jail where she is awaiting trial for the first-degree murder of Farver, whose body has not been found.
Not only did Golyar allegedly pose as Farver online, she went so far as to pick a fictitious feud with herself as Farver to make the missing woman’s appearance seem more real.
“Farver” attacked Golyar on April 23, 2013 in a post that read:
“So now the Herpes infested whore is going to hide from me. Can't be a woman and stand up for stealing me man. God will punish all whores.”
Playing along, authorities contend Golyar as Farver strikes again four days later blaming “Dave’s ex” for harassing Farver “through text messages.”
“Farver” posts: “She keeps saying that dave [sic] still loves her and that she is the love of his life. That she slept with him a few weeks ago. How crazy can you be to text someone such lies. If the other party won't back you up. This is to show how crazy the girl is.”
Farver returned the following month:
“This is the real Cari Farver I need to be alone right now people just need to give me space for right now.”
The next day “Farver” had more attacks for Golyar, calling her “a hoe that took my boyfriend away from me… She will be punished for taking my man.”
And the final “Farver” post on May 13, 2013 calls it quits with Facebook, deciding then and there to stop playing Farver online:
“I have answered enough questions to prove myself to everyone I am done,” Farver writes. “You can’t either believe I am your daughter, mother, sister and friend that you have know [sic] your whole life or you can just leave me alone...I am not missing I just don’t want to come home right now.”
Farver ends the post by apologizing “for hurting everyone” by bolting town and that the reason was “I needed to do this for me.”
“Sorry, and I hope some day you can forgive me.”
In a similar episode last year, Golyar claimed another potential romantic rival—the mother of Dave’s child—shot her in a park.
While walking along an isolated trail at Big Lake Park located in Council Bluffs, Iowa, Golyar told police a woman ordered her to “lie down on the ground” before swearing at her and shooting her in the left thigh.
Police immediately descended on the area but metal detectors failed to turn up shell casings. Later, Golyar told police she believed the shooter was none other than Dave’s ex. Council Bluffs Det. Matthew Kuhlman said Golyar failed a polygraph test about the incident.
“We believe that she shot herself but we couldn’t prove it and that’s why we didn’t charge her,” Kuhlman told The Daily Beast. “Her story didn’t add up from the beginning.”
Authorities from the same agency ended up booking Golyar for criminal mischief back in February after she used what is believed to be a mortar to “break out a window of [her] apartment” that was occupied by the woman she accused.
During their investigation, Kuhman said Golyar was discovered to have kept “several fraudulent email accounts pretending to be two women.”
Dave supposedly didn’t know his girlfriend stood accused of murdering his ex-girlfriend. Attempts to reach Dave were unsuccessful.
Golyar, 41, has been dating her 24-year-old boyfriend since June 2016, according to their gushing Facebook profiles.
On the day of her arrest last week, his parents say a call came for their son from a detective who rattled him when he said there was “a case that has your name on it.”
Racking his brain the young man, who is not a suspect and The Daily Beast is not naming, remembered only one summons he’d been given for expired license plate tags.
A meeting was set for later that day so authorities could interview him.
But, according to his parents who requested anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the criminal investigation, the detective was a no-show.
Then the phone rang again—the call came from the Pottawattamie County lockup.
“They arrested me with 10 sheriffs showing up at my house,” Shanna Golyar allegedly told her boyfriend of six months.
The arrest came as a devastating shock.
Then he shared the sobering details with his parents that the woman he loved was facing a murder rap.
“Can you believe that?” the stunned son asked his dad.
“What’s it for?” his father asked.
“I don’t know,” he said. “I have to wait till she calls me back.”
Because Farver’s remains have yet to be discovered, defense attorney James Martin Davis said pinning Golyar to the murder rap is a drastic reach.
“You can’t convict without a body,” he told The Daily Beast.
Davis said the only reason his client was ever pinned for Farver’s disappearance was that she was arrested on a warrant for being truant from court for a civil matter involving a car accident.
The attorney claims authorities used the warrant as an excuse to quiz his client about Farver’s demise.
“They were trying to interrogate her about the missing person case,” he said.
The deputy prosecutor Beadle confirmed that Golyar did lawyer up after murder charges were brought.
“She has a lawyer so we weren’t able to have a conversation.”
Davis maintains that Golyar pleaded her innocence.
“She’s denied it from the beginning and told them ‘I didn’t kill anybody. I don’t know that she’s even dead.’”
Moreover his client has only crossed paths with Farver during a pivotal moment where they were both visiting Dave.
“The only time Shanna thinks she saw Cari was when she was going into Dave’s apartment and Cari was coming out!”
And while prosecutors stressed in court that Golyar’s fingerprints had been found on a pack of gum in Farver’s forsaken car, Davis said it is a far leap to get to murder.
“It could have been in the apartment and the lady or the boyfriend could have put it in the car.”
The attorney also disputed blood evidence that was supposedly lifted from Dave’s apartment. “[Farver] was living with him for a while,” he said. “It could be a nosebleed, a cut or it could be a scratch,” he said.
He said unless there is proof Farver exsanguinated or bled profusely so that she couldn't survive it’s easy to contest. “I don’t know if it’s a droplet or what.”
Beadle argued that there was “nothing about any blood trail” released publicly and that it “was misinformation and inaccurate.”
While the affidavit remains sealed until Golyar’s preliminary trial, investigators believe the woman was killed inside an apartment located in central Omaha soon after she was last spotted on Nov. 13, 2012—it is believed to be the same location where Dave resided.
Beadle admits the missing case remained cold until, thanks to a 2014 National Institute of Justice grant, Omaha authorities got a DNA hit that they say nails Golyar as Farver’s killer. That funding allowed investigators to better test DNA evidence pulled from Farver’s abandoned car as well as process samples from the apartment where they believe the other woman killed her.
The fact that Farver’s corpse has never been found won’t faze prosecutors in trying to secure a guilty verdict against Golyar: According to Nebraska state law if a person has been missing after five years they are declared dead.
“It wouldn’t be the first time,” Beadle said. “We’ve been successful in the past at trying a case without a body… Certainly it presents its own set of challenges but obviously we thought we could overcome that otherwise we wouldn’t have filed these charges.”
Farver’s father Mark Raney would only say the family was preoccupied with Golyar’s preliminary trial.
“We’re not talking much about it yet until the hearing,” he told The Daily Beast.
In one of her last Facebook posts before her arrest, Golyar was defensive about dating a man almost half her age.
“I guess if people can not stop criticizing others for their relationships, then don’t be surprised if you lose those loved ones,” she wrote on Dec. 18. “People love who they love, and no one can control that or take it from you unless you let them.”
Golyar is due back in court for a preliminary hearing on Jan. 18. And perhaps her main supporter won’t give up on her.
“My son is he’s determined she’s innocent,” the mother of Golyar’s boyfriend said. “He believes everything she says to him.”
In an attempt to spare her beau of the murder drama since Golyar was arraigned and a judge set bail for $5 million, the parents say she broached ending the relationship.
“You should go on with your life. I don’t know what’s going to happen but I don’t want you involved anything and I love you very much,” she allegedly told the young man.
But Golyar’s boyfriend seems willing to sweat it out telling his parents: “If she gets out we’re going to have to sit down and have a long talk to go over all these lies.”
Though they disapprove of their son’s ties to Golyar, the parents maintain that if she’s innocent she should be set free.
“I don’t want her with my son,” the boyfriend’s mother said. “But there can’t be an innocent person going to jail. I’m sorry.”