Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Murder by the Book: The Murder of Karyn Slover


At this time, there were no clear suspects, but no one had been ruled out, either. The newspaper at which Karyn had worked announced a reward of $10,000 for information leading to an arrest, while Karyn's current boyfriend, ex-husband, and former boyfriend were all questioned and subjected to polygraphs.

Swann, the most obvious suspect, had holes in the story he gave about where he was on that Friday night. No one could confirm his whereabouts for a period of forty minutes sufficient time to commit murder. In addition, he had a criminal record: he'd once been arrested for impersonating a police officer. Despite his appeal for Karyn's return, investigators knew he could be faking concern. Suspiciously, he had keys to Karyn's apartment, he'd erased phone messages from her on his answering machine, and he had access to a .22 handgun. Nearly a week after Karyn disappeared, police went to Swann's home with a search warrant. He voluntarily allowed them inside. If she had been killed and/or dismembered there, they expected to find evidence, but after the search turned up nothing. In addition, Swann showed up on an ATM video during the forty-minute stretch of time for which he had no alibi, which was irreconcilable with the commission of such an involved crime. The bank video corroborated his story.

Karyn's ex-boyfriend, too, had an alibi, as did her ex-husband. However, Michael Slover Jr. had not been happy about the marriage or divorce. He had married Karyn in 1993, when she was three months pregnant, and they had divorced in April 1996, because their union had become contentious. Witnesses stated they had seen Michael, a security guard, being rough with her at his jobsite.

While Karyn retained custody of Kolten, by court order Michael's mother, Jeannette, watched Kolten during the week when Karyn went to work. Reportedly, Karyn had tried to find alternative daycare, but without success. Her parents said she had been unhappy about giving Kolten over to the Slovers every day.

The investigation slowed and finally came to a halt when no additional evidence turned up. In March 1998, the body of a 63-year-old woman was found floating in Lake Decatur, and her car had been moved across town, which again inspired talk of a serial killer. However, the dissimilarities between the cases were stronger than any similarity. The second woman had not been dismembered; she was fully clothed, and much older.

In 1999, Mary Slover, sister to Karyn's ex-husband Michael, adopted Kolten and moved with him and Michael Slover Jr. to Tennessee. At that time, it looked as if the murder of Karyn Slover might never be solved, but in fact, investigators continued pursuing several angles. In January 2000, more than three years after the crime, they finally made an arrest.

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