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Relatives of murder victim, officials review lessons learned from 'calculated and bizarre' case

Relatives of murder victim, officials review lessons learned from 'calculated and bizarre' case

Shanna Golyar in court

Shanna Golyar listens in May as a judge reads the guilty verdict in Golyar's first-degree murder trial. Golyar was convicted of killing Cari Farver, who went missing in November 2012.

When Cari Farver went missing in 2012, emails and texts sent under her name fooled authorities into thinking she just didn’t want to be found.

“It threw everyone off the scent, as far as law enforcement went,” said Pottawattamie County Attorney Matt Wilber. “I think it’s a good lesson that maybe this case wasn’t taken as seriously as it should have initially.”

Nancy Raney knew her daughter hadn’t intentionally disappeared, missing important family events and not saying goodbye to her son.

Raney and her daughter both lived in Macedonia, Iowa, but Farver worked in Omaha, where authorities later found her SUV. They eventually found Farver’s blood on the front passenger seat bottom. Also in the vehicle, they found a mint container with two fingerprints on it that matched Shanna Golyar’s.

It took Raney’s persistence, detectives who listened to her and law enforcement teamwork on both sides of the Missouri River to secure the first-degree murder conviction of Golyar.

Authorities determined that Golyar, 42, was behind the thousands of emails, texts and Internet profiles used to both damage Farver’s name and keep her alive online in order to cover up the murder.

Golyar was sentenced in August to life in prison without parole in one of the most “calculated and bizarre” cases Chief Deputy Douglas County Attorney Brenda Beadle said she has ever worked on.

Beadle, the three Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office detectives who were key players in investigating the case, plus Raney and Farver’s son, Max Farver, spoke Monday about the case at the 11th National Crime Victims’ Rights luncheon in Council Bluffs.

Deputies Ryan Avis, Jim Doty and Anthony Kava explained the twists and turns of the case in an hourlong presentation. Golyar killed Farver, her romantic rival, in November 2012, but Golyar wasn’t arrested until 2016.

Authorities never found Farver’s remains, something that created a huge challenge for investigators, Beadle said. Beadle praised the hard work of the deputies and stressed the importance of working together for the sake of finding justice and giving closure to victims’ families.

While preparing for trial, the deputies were camped out in the Douglas County Attorney’s Office, and Beadle thanked the Pottawattamie County sheriff for allowing them to spend time on the case.

“There isn’t time for turf wars or egos,” Beadle said. “When you reach out, beyond your little circle, you can find success.”

Raney called the deputies her “boys” and said Beadle is a good friend.

“We really struggled for the first two years until (the deputies) came and said, ‘I don’t think (Farver) left on her own.’ That was the first time that I had anybody tell me she didn’t leave on her own,” Raney said. “I just can’t thank everybody enough for getting the conviction we did and subsequently getting to clear my daughter’s name.”

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Alia Conley covers breaking news, crime, crime trends, the Omaha Police Department and initial court hearings. Follow her on Twitter @aliaconleyOWH. Phone: 402-444-1068.

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