Amanda Van Scyoc was just eighteen in the fall of 2001, but she’d already experienced a great deal in her short life. The Boonville teen had fallen in a with a criminal element, been implicated in an auto theft, wound up on probation, become a narcotics informant, and testified in court against ex-boyfriend Chad Leroy Goodwin, resulting in a robbery conviction. Still, Amanda was young. She had the rest of her life to make amends for her mistakes.
But someone had other plans.
According to her mother, Linda Warner, Amanda was last seen alive on the morning of November 9th. She told police Amanda had a second interview at WalMart later on that day, despite already being employed at Schnuck’s grocery store. (It’s unclear whether police ever verified this information with the retailer.) Warner further claimed that, after making sure Amanda was awake and preparing for the appointment, she then left for work, leaving her daughter alone in the residence they shared with her husband, John.
A few hours later, Linda reportedly called home to make sure Amanda had actually gone to the interview, but no one answered the telephone. Seemingly satisfied by this lack of a response, she hung up without speaking to anyone, even though Amanda’s stepfather was allegedly home at the time.
Hours passed and Amanda didn’t come home. Then days passed and she still didn’t come home. At the time, John and Linda discussed notifying police but decided against it. After all, they said, they didn’t want to do anything to endanger Amanda’s probation. So they remained silent, even though Linda claimed her daughter had received threats in connection with her work as a police informant. “She had spoken of those to us. She was really scared at times to come home, she had said get your gun and keep it close and lock the doors.”
However, police would later recover clues that would bring all of the couple’s statements into question.
On November 13th, two deer hunters discovered Amanda’s body in nearby Yankeetown. She had been strangled to death, her nude body wrapped in a carpet and tossed in a rural area locally regarded as a “drug hotspot.” Amanda was known to have frequented the location, but Indiana State Police detective Marvin Heilman cast doubt on the theory that’s where she was killed. “We believe she was killed four to five days before she was found and that location of the crime we haven’t been able to pinpoint. She was not killed where she was found.”
At the time her body was discovered, all of Amanda’s belongings, including her purse, were still at the home she shared with her mother and stepfather. After an autopsy revealed the presence of John Warner’s bodily fluid on her corpse, he eventually admitted to having sex with his then-barely legal stepdaughter but claimed their “relationship” had been consensual. Although he denied knowing anything about the teen’s death, both his wife Linda and Amanda’s father, Brad Van Scyoc, stated they had been told by police that Warner had failed his polygraph test.
Despite the evidence, Linda Warner publicly defended her husband John’s innocence. The couple stayed together until his death in an automobile accident in 2004, when his car crossed the center line and struck another vehicle.
No one was ever charged in connection with Amanda’s murder. Her case remains officially unsolved.
Anyone with information about this case is encouraged to contact:
Indiana State Police: Evansville Division
1-812-867-2079 or 1-800-852-3970