Disclaimer: This article contains mentions of murder. Reader discretion is advised.
Netflix’s latest true-crime documentary Lover, Stalker, Killer explores a love triangle involving Cari Farver, Dave Kroupa, and Liz Golyar that turned fatal. The documentary premiered on the streaming service last Friday, February 9, 2024.
According to People Magazine, Cari Farver mysteriously vanished in November 2012. Before going missing, Farver had been casually seeing Dave Kroupa, who was also seeing another woman named Shanna “Liz” Golyar at the time. But, two weeks into dating Kroupa, Farver disappeared.
During this time, Farver allegedly started sending thousands of hateful messages and emails to both Kroupa and Golyar. The messages soon turned into harassment, stalking, and violence. Allegedly, she also set fire to Golyar’s home with her pets still inside. The ordeal continued for about three years, reported Business Insider.
Meanwhile, detectives continued to look into Farver’s missing case. The investigation eventually took a shocking turn when digital evidence led them to Golyar. Authorities believed Golyar had been impersonating Farver. While investigating Golyar, detectives found blood as well as digital evidence that proved she had killed Farver. Although they failed to find Farver’s body, they managed to secure Golyar’s murder conviction in 2017.
What really happened to Cari Farver?
A years-long investigation has proved that Cari Farver was involved in a love triangle between Dave Kroupa and Liz Golyar in 2012. Golyar, who was Farver’s romantic rival, murdered her and then impersonated the victim for about three years, per Business Insider.
People Magazine reported that the ordeal began when Farver and Kroupa started seeing each other casually in November 2012. It lasted for two weeks. However, at the same time, Kroupa was also in an on-again-off-again relationship with Golyar, whom he had met via a dating website. Both women had agreed to be non-exclusive.
The outlet reported that Farver and Golyar first crossed paths at Kroupa’s apartment. He had invited Farver to his house, but Golyar was unexpectedly there to pick up some of her things. Then, Farver and Kroupa spent the next two weeks together at his apartment because her workplace was three blocks from the place.
But one November morning in 2012, Farver reportedly sent Kroupa a text saying that they should move in together while he was at work. He responded by saying, “I thought we talked about this.” He then received multiple texts saying she never wanted to see him again.
Kroupa claimed that when he returned home, Farver and all her belongings left the apartment. Within days, he began receiving cruel and threatening messages from her. Around the same time the harassment began, Cari Farver’s mother, Nancy Raney, reported her missing. Raney claimed she last saw her daughter on November 13, 2012.
The People report mentioned that not long after, Golyar, who was still seeing Kroupa, claimed she was even receiving harassing messages from Farver. In the messages, there was evidence that proved Farver had been stalking and threatening them and breaking into their houses.
Dave Kroupa said in the doc, “I felt like Liz was being harassed because I dated this woman who’s now making her life hell too. 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.” Then, in August 2013, Golyar’s house was set on fire, and it burned down with all of her pets and belongings. Detectives suspected Farver was behind the arson.
The harassment, threats, and stalking continued, and so did the investigation into Farver’s disappearance. Detectives found all of her clothes and belongings still at her house. Moreover, her bank records showed that the only two transactions she made were one day before she disappeared in November 2012. The accounts had been dormant since. The missing person case soon pivoted to a murder investigation.
Who was responsible for Cari Farver’s disappearance?
Eventually, using the thousands of messages and emails Farver had allegedly sent, investigators tracked down the stalker to Todd Butterbaugh’s home in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Butterbaugh then revealed that his on-again-off-again girlfriend, Liz Golyar, had been living with him since her house burned down, per People Magazine‘s report.
The case took a shocking twist when detectives learned that Golyar had been impersonating Farver. Additionally, she had been harassing Dave Kroupa and his family and had burned down her own house.
Detectives then matched Golyar’s fingerprints to a print discovered inside Cari Farver’s vehicle. Inside the vehicle, investigators also found blood under the fabric cover of the passenger seat. Authorities were able to arrest Golyar despite not having found Farver’s body. They arrested Golyar on December 22, 2016, after finding sufficient evidence to link her to Farver’s murder.
According to Business Insider, detectives believed that the blood-stained seat in Farver’s car suggested Golyar had stabbed her to death on or around November 13, 2012. Before her arrest, authorities also believed that Golyar had shot herself in the leg and then tried to frame Kroupa’s ex, Amy Flora, for it. This happened in December 2015 when she was insisting that Flora was threatening her and was possibly responsible for Farver’s disappearance.
Later, Kroupa gave detectives an old tablet he found in a storage unit. In the SD card of the tablet, they discovered 11,000 deleted photos, most of which were Golyar selfies. One such photo was of a foot of a dead body, which they confirmed to be Cari Farver’s using a tattoo on the foot.
All the digital and blood evidence investigators found inside Farver’s vehicle was sufficient to secure Golyar’s murder conviction. In August 2017, Douglas County Judge Timothy Burns found Golyar guilty of first-degree murder and second-degree arson, per KETV. She received a life for murder and an additional consecutive sentence of 18 to 20 years on the arson count.
Lover, Stalker, Killer is now streaming on Netflix.