After Nearly 40 Years, a Larry Eyler Victim Has Finally Been Identified

Billy Lewis, forever 19

In 1982, 19-year-old William Joseph “Billy” Lewis attended a funeral in Texas then left to return to his home in Peru, Indiana, hitchhiking his way across the US.

He was never seen alive again.

In the many years to come, both of his parents would die without ever knowing what had happened to their son. But thanks to advances in forensic science and a determined Jasper County coroner, Billy Lewis has finally come home.

In October 1983, a fox hunter stumbled upon human remains in a rural Jasper County field. Despite collecting clothing and other evidence from the scene, including a distinctive Zippo lighter engraved with the name “Arlene,” police were unable to match the John Doe with any missing person report. No one stepped forward to claim the body. Eventually, Officer Paul Ricker, who was the first officer on the scene when the unidentified remains were discovered, and other first responders crowdfunded a gravestone for “John Doe” at the Sayler Makeever Cemetery.

The first break in the case came in 1994 when, two days after murderer Larry Eyler died in prison, his attorney Kathleen Zellner announced that he had confessed to killing more than 20 men in the late 70’s and early 80’s, including “Jasper County John Doe.” According to the serial killer, he’d picked up the victim on November 20, 1982, as the young man was hitchhiking alone on US 41 near Vincennes. After he got the man selected at random into his vehicle, Eyler gave him beer and Placidyl, a powerful sedative, and then began driving north. Once they reached Jasper County,the hitchhiker was reportedly “semiconscious” and unable to defend himself. Eyler stabbed the victim to death before burying him in a shallow grave.

Despite Eyler’s confession, he claimed not to know the name of the victim referred to as “Jasper County John Doe.” Although DNA was first used in a criminal case in 1986, it still was not widely in use at the time and, without any other leads, the case went cold.

It would remain that way until this past January, when Jasper County Coroner Andrew Boersma hired a geneological forensics company, Redgrave Research Forensic Services, to help identify the Eyler victim. Researchers were able to link DNA taken from “John Doe” to Lewis’s extended family through a geneology website, and it eventually led them to his siblings. Almost 40 years after his death, Billy Lewis reclaimed his identity.

Now that he has finally been found, Billy’s surviving family members plan on giving him a funeral then reinterring him next to his father.

The Murder of Amanda Van Scyoc, Part Two: Lingering Questions

After discovering the basic facts behind Amanda Van Scyoc’s shocking homicide, even the most casual of observers is no doubt left with more questions than answers. In this post, we’ll review what few clues exist and the possible leads law enforcement may have missed or failed to follow up on.

  • The last person to admit to seeing Amanda alive was her mother, Linda Warner. Warner also stated that later in the day, she had attempted to call Amanda at the residence they shared with her husband, John Warner, but received no answer. Amanda’s stepfather told police he had been home all day, but no witnesses were available to verify his whereabouts. If John Warner was really home all day, as he reportedly told police, why didn’t he answer the phone when Linda called?
  • Despite the odd circumstances surrounding her daughter’s disappearance, Linda Warner told police the reason her parents did not report Amanda missing was because it would have been a violation of her probation, and they did not want to risk getting her in trouble. That seems quite plausible. However, Linda has also been quite vocal about her belief that Amanda’s murder happened as a direct result of her brief stint as a narcotics informant. If Linda truly believed that was the case, why didn’t she inform police after the first day or two her daughter didn’t return home? Why didn’t she bother calling them until four days later, when the local news announced that a body matching the description of her daughter had been found?
  • Amanda’s purse and other personal effects were found in a police search of the home she shared with Linda and John Warner. Where did her mother think she had gone without those items? And under what exact circumstances did she think Amanda would’ve been able to survive without clothes, money, or identification?
  • The Warrick County Sheriff’s Department denies Amanda’s death had anything to do with her informant status, in part because Amanda was such a terrible informant as to be virtually useless to them. She had apparently gone around telling all her friends about her work with police, possibly to avoid being put into a situation where she’d be forced to inform on them. Although she had phoned in some information to the police, absolutely none of her so-called tips resulted in any arrests. However, Amanda had previously testified against her ex-boyfriend in a robbery trial, and the theory that her murder was retribution for cooperation with prosecutors must be considered.
  • What, if anything, can we learn from the physical evidence in the case? Everything
    about the discovery of Amanda’s body was odd, beginning with where she was found. It was a well-known place for drug activity, and it seems as though Amanda was familiar with the area…which would seem to indicate that it would be the last place for anyone to leave Amanda’s body if they didn’t want her found. In another unusual turn, police had received a call about suspicious activity at the same location earlier that day, but responding officers hadn’t spotted anything out of the ordinary. They were forced to return a few hours later though, after deer hunters reported the discovery of a body. This leads to some interesting questions: Is it possible that the first phone call police received that day was actually meant to direct them to Amanda’s body? Had a witness accidentally stumbled upon something horrible and unexpected? Or was the Amanda’s killer also someone who cared about her and wanted her body found?
  • Amanda was found nude but wrapped in a carpet. Where did the carpet come from? Was it new, indicating a recent purchase, or had it come from someone’s house? Was it searched for fiber evidence? Why did the killer (presumably) remove Amanda’s clothes but then conceal her body within a rolled up carpet? Was there evidence of sexual assault? Were Amanda’s clothes ever found? If so, were they found at the same location or had they been dumped elsewhere?
  • An autopsy revealed Amanda had been strangled to death. Forensic psychologist Helinä Häkkänen has found that “in a high percentage of cases, the offender and the victim have a family relationship.” She also cites prevous studies which show “the most frequent motives for homicidal strangulation have been rape , sexual jealousy, and personal rivalry.” Also, strangulation is an extremely up-close, personal method of murder, and it would be fairly safe to assume Amanda struggled with her attacker. Did she have anyone’s DNA under her fingernails? Were any of her relatives or known associates searched for defensive wounds?
  • Amanda’s autopsy further revealed the presence of John Warner’s DNA on her corpse. When asked about the possibility of a sexual relationship with his stepdaughter, Warner initially denied it. However, when confronted with the DNA evidence, he admitted having sex with his barely-legal stepdaughter but claimed the “relationship” was consensual. Amanda had not only turned 18 just a few months before her death, but she’d also recently been incarcerated, bringing into question just when this supposed consensual relationship developed and whether it existed at all. Amanda over-shared with her friends about becoming a police informant. Did she ever mention to them about being involved in some kind of forbidden relationship? Was there anyone at all who could back up John Warner’s claim that his sex with Amanda was consensual? Might that have something to do with why she was found without any clothing?
  • Police do not believe Amanda was killed where she was found. Instead, they believe her corpse was kept somewhere for about three days then brought to the rural location where she was later found. If they’re correct, that means the killer probably stored Amanda’s body at home or somewhere he/she was familiar with before eventually disposing of her. Was Amanda’s body checked for fiber evidence? A lack of fibers foreign to her usual environment (her home) would seem to indicate that she did not go elsewhere between the time she died and when her body was dumped. Alternatively, the presence of foreign fibers could lead to another location. Lastly, the Warners lived in a trailer at the time of Amanda’s death. If John did kill Amanda, it would’ve been difficult for him to conceal her decomposing body on the premises without Linda knowing anything about it.
  • It’s been 20 years since Amanda died. So long after the fact, does it really matter who killed her? Unequivocally, yes. Although John Warner, the person many consider to be the main suspect in Amanda’s case, died in an auto accident several years ago, in the state of Indiana, if a second party assisted in the commission or concealment of a homicide, they are still eligible for prosecution even if the murderer himself is not. Most importantly, even though justice is sought in the victim’s name, it’s actually Amanda’s family who continue suffer. That suffering can only be made worse when no one is ever punished for her death. Amanda’s father, stepmother, and siblings deserve justice. They deserve to know who is responsible for her death. All these years later, they’re still waiting.


    If you have any information about the murder of Amanda Van Scyoc, please contact:

Indiana State Police: Evansville Division
1-812-867-2079 or 1-800-852-3970


For a list of sources used for this entry, please see Part One.

The Murder of Amanda Van Scyoc, Part One: Case Summary

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


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Cold Case: Desperately Seeking Dabbs

The FBI is searching for a fugitive who has evaded justice for decades, and they’re asking the public for help. Although the murder case Andrew P. Dabbs is wanted for occurred in Massachusettes, he has ties to Indiana, and authorities believe someone in the state could possess information about the suspect. A $20,000 reward is available for any tips leading to his current whereabouts.

Dabbs allegedly shot his girlfriend Robin Shea with a .45 revolver then pushed her body out of his car while driving through Norton, Massachusettes in 1981. A passerby found the woman’s body, and Dabbs was indicted a month later. Apparently, he’s been able to avoid arrest ever since. His last known address was in New Hampshire, but he also has connections to Massachusetts, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, New York, and Pennsylvania. If still alive, Dabbs would now be 78 years old. He has brown eyes, a mole on the right side of his nose, a scar on his arm, and skin grafts on his leg. At the time of the murder, he weighed approximately 180 pounds and stood about 5’10.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call the FBI (1-800-225-5324) or contact them online @ tips.fbi.gov.

Cold Case: The Disappearance of Lola Katherine Fry

Missing PersonBeautiful. Complicated. Missing.

Although only 28, Lola Katherine “Kathy” Fry was in the process of changing her life when she disappeared. She’d stopped dancing at Indianapolis bars like PT’s and Brad’s Gold Club where she was involved in a lawsuit and started back to school. She’d even decided to relocate in order to be near one of her sisters. November 13, 1993 was supposed to be her last night in town before moving to Fort Wayne.

She never arrived.

Kathy was last seen that same night, partying with five men. According to information given to qwwwpolice in a 2000 interview, the group was doing prescription medication, cocaine, and marijuana when Kathy suddenly passed out, possibly from a drug overdose. The men she was with wrapped her unconscious body in a blanket and took her to a waiting car. She was never seen again. Also missing is Kathy’s car, a red and black 1990 Mitsubishi Eclipse with personalized license plates reading “LOLA.” 

Anyone with information about this case is encouraged to contact the Indiana State Police @ 317-232-8280.

LOLA KATHERINE FRY


Missing Since: 11/14/1993

Missing From: Greenwood, Indiana

Classification: Endangered Missing

Sex: Female

Race: White

Date of Birth: 02/20/1965 (She would be 56 this year.)

Age: 28 years old at time of disappearance

Height and Weight: 5’5, 120 pounds

Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian female. Brown hair, green eyes. Fry’s nicknames are Kat and Kathy. Her maiden name is Coleman. She has breast implants, a scar on her right knee and a small scar on her forehead.

Cold Case: Jerry Michael “Mike” Bayles Jr.

In the early hours of a chilly October morning in 1970, a ten-year-old Indianapolis boy left home to deliver newspapers to his neighbors. Three hours later, his nude body was found discarded along a rural road fifteen miles from his home. He had been stabbed to death.

The events surrounding the murder are as strange as they are tragic. For one thing, the paper route actually belonged to one of Mike’s brothers. Gordon “Bud” Bayles, fifteen, was a delivery boy for the Star but had been employed only about five weeks. According to a statement Bud gave at the time, Mike had volunteered to run the route for him that Saturday. It was a decision that quite possibly cost the younger boy his life.

Shortly before six, a customer toward the start of the route heard the soft smack of a newspaper hitting her porch and then a scream. She looked out her window but saw only the passing headlights of a car. Another customer, William H. Johnson, found the boy’s bicycle and bag when he stepped outside for his paper about half an hour later. A later count of the newspapers in the bag revealed only two were missing, indicating that whatever had happened to Mike must have occurred just after he began the route. The following day, a third witness came forward claiming he’d seen a man dragging a boy into a car at knifepoint in the same location where the bike and bag were later found. The witness said he’d called out to the man, questioning him, but the knife-wielding man had claimed to be the boy’s father. Mike apparently had not contradicted this claim, and the witness did not report what he’d seen until he heard about the murderered child the next day. A polygraph test indicated the witness was telling the truth. Unfortunately, he was unable to provide a good description of either the man he’d spoken to or another, smaller man he thought he’d seen waiting in the car.

Mike’s body was found by a Knightstown farmer later that same morning. Wearing only in socks and left alongside a gravel road, the fifth-grader had been stabbed eight times in the back and abdomen. Although an autopsy would eventually determine he had not been sexually assaulted, police refused to rule it out as a motive. The rest of Mike’s clothes and the weapon used to commit the crime were never found. Since DNA fingerprinting had not yet been discovered at the time, neither the child’s corpse nor the newspaper bag could be tested for trace evidence. (It is unknown whether any forensic evidence was preserved for potential testing in the future.) When a grand jury declined to indict an escaped psychiatric patient for the crime despite a history of sex crimes against minors, Prosecutor Nobel R. Pearcy cited a lack of evidence for the failure.

Anyone with information concerning the murder of Jerry “Mike” Bayles is strongly encouraged to contact Indiana State Police @ 1-765-778-2121 or 1-800-527-4752.