Cold Case Arrests and Pending Trials

Arrests have been made in the following cases and are making their way through Iowa's judicial system.

NOTE: We make every effort to keep this list current, but trials are often continued for a number of reasons. If you’re aware of changes in a trial date, please email us at Thank you in advance.

Shanna Golyar, 41, of Persia, Iowa, was arrested Thursday, Dec. 22, 2016, and charged with first-degree murder in the Nov. 13, 2012 disappearance of 37-year-old Cari Lea Farver of Macedonia, Iowa. In February 2016, Pottawattamie County detectives asked the Omaha Police Department’s Cold Case Unit to assist in the investigation, which resulted in Golyar’s arrest. Golyar on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017, waived her right to a jury trial and opted for a bench trial. Douglas County District Judge Timothy Burns will decide whether Golyar is guilty in the disappearance and presumed death of Cari Farver, who was last seen in Omaha more than four years ago. Golyar’s trial has been set for May 10, 2017.

Tait Otis Purk, 50, was charged with Murder in the First Degree on Dec. 9, 2016, after a grand jury returned a True Bill indictment for his role in the death of Cora Ann Okonski, 23, who went missing from Tama, Iowa, April 16, 2000, and whose remains have yet to be found. In March of 2015, the investigation into Okonski’s disappearance was reopened by the Iowa Department of Public Safety’s (DPS) Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI). If convicted, Purk faces a life sentence without the possibility of parole. Purk’s trial is scheduled to begin May 1, 2017, at the Tama County Courthouse.

Susan Kersten’s former boyfriend, Steven J. Klein (now 56), was arrested in Muscatine on Friday, July 17, 2015, and charged with first-degree murder in Kersten’s nearly 20-year-old unsolved homicide. His trial, originally set to begin in April 2016, was postponed until July 25, 2016, and then postponed until spring 2017. Sixth Judicial District Judge Chad Kepros said in an order filed Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017, he was informed Klein wishes to enter a plea and be immediately sentenced. The sentencing will occur Friday at 9:30 a.m. at the Johnson County Courthouse, where Klein was already expected to show up for a hearing..

Christopher Joseph Yenger, 28, of Ottumwa, and Zachary Allen Dye, 27, of Council Bluffs, were charged with two counts of felony murder on Monday, Jan. 25, 2016, in the March 5, 2006 double homicide of 20-year-old Nathan Messer and 22-year-old Seth Anderson, both who perished after an arson fire set at a rural Wapello County home after a party. Jury selection in the trial began Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, at the Wapello County Courthouse.


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