Wayne Nance was a truck driver that hailed from Missoula, Montana. As a teenager he displayed disturbing behavior such as using hot coathangers to brand himself with occult symbols since he was a self-described satanist. In hindsight these were all clues that he never outgrew aberrant behavior just learned how to disguise them.
Like many predators, Nance realized that he needed to behave "normally" in order to hunt in society without suspicion falling on him. By the time he was thirty he had developed a reputation as an "average guy", however it appears that he started extinguishing human life when he was nineteen years old.
The year was 1974, and Nance was a neighbor of the Pound family and a friend of their teenage children. On April 11th, Mr. Harvey Pound who was a fundamentalist preacher, arrived home to find his wife Donna dead in the basement of their home. She was bound, gagged and had been shot five times in the back of the head with her husband's .22 caliber handgun which was found jammed in her vagina. Later examination found she had been sexually assaulted. After questioning Donna's husband, the police interviewed a neighbor named Wayne Nance who was seen lurking in the victim's backyard only hours before the crime.
Inside Nance's room they found a bloody underwear and a bag of .22 caliber bullets, and they questioned him using a polygraph and he passed it. Without the aid of DNA comparison the evidence was deemed circumstantial and he was released.
What crimes Wayne Nance may have committed in the next four years is anyone's guess. Maybe they haven't been discovered till this day, and based on several grisly discoveries found on the outskirts of Missoula it's no stretch of the imagination that there are shallow graves that will never be found.
It was a cold winter day in February 1980 when railroad workers found a skeleton close to I-90. The badly decomposed remains were those of a teenage girl who had been stabbed several times in the chest. She was Caucasian, had brown hair and she was wearing a flower-print, peasant dress. There were indications that she had been sexually assaulted. The police did not know who she was and since she was rolled down a steep embankment off Beavertail Hill they dub her "Betty Beavertail". In 1999 she was identified as Devona Louise Nelson, a 15-year-old runaway from Seattle who had been hitchhiking through Missoula before she turned up dead.
On December 1984, a photographer was in the eastern, rural area of Missoula county known as Deer Creek. He came upon what looked like leg bones and the top of a skull protruding from a shallow grave. The woman's remains had to be chiseled from the frozen earth, and it was believed she had been dumped there during the previous summer. Initially unidentified she was given the moniker Debbie Deer Creek. Unlike Devona Nelson she was nude. Examination of her remains revealed she had been killed with three shots to her head. In 1986 she was tied to Nance through one of her hair strands that was found caught in the door hinges of his car.
In 2006 she was identified through DNA profiling. Her name was Marcella Bachmann, 16, who used the name of Robin. Like Devonna Nelson she was runaway and a trucker had dropped her off after she left her mother's house in Vancouver in 1983. She had headed straight to the Cabin Bar where Nance worked occasionally as a bouncer. He had "taken her in". By September 1984, two weeks after their paths had crossed, Nance started spreading the word around that she had left the area.
Marcella's brother Derek had been searching for her all those years, but her name had mistakenly been removed from the missing person's list in 1986 due to a report that she had been sighted in Seattle. Her brother at one point thought his sister had fallen victim to Gary Ridgeway, the Green River Killer.
Only three miles from where Marcella Bachmann's body was discovered, a second skeleton was found in September 1985 by a hunter tracking a bear. It was estimated this body had been dumped around the same time as Marci or as early as 1983. Based on where she was found she was dubbed Cristy Crystal Creek.
Forensic analysis indicated she had light brown hair, stood about five feet tall and weighed a little over a hundred pounds. Examination of her teeth indicated she had a history of smoking and a type of oral surgery done in the Asian countries. She was not a teenager. Her cause of death was two .32 caliber bullets in the skull. She remains unidentified until this day.
On December 12, 1985, Ravalli County Sheriff's Dept. found themselves with an unsolved double homicide. The murderer gained entry to the house owned by Mike and Teresa Shook. He tied them up, stabbed them to death and then set fire to the house.
Teresa Shook, 32 was found in the bedroom and her husband Mike was in the living room. Both of them had been stabbed several times. The house had been set on fire and their three small children along with another child they were babysitting were rescued by a family friend, the father of the child they were caring for on that night.
When Nance was later identified as their killer it turned out he had delivered furniture they had bought in Conlin's Furniture four months before their death.
Later on it was determined that certain items were missing from the house. One was a ceramic bugling elk and a kelgin knife. A search warrant was served at the home Nance shared with his father where both items were located along with a photo of George Nance dated January 1986 receiving the elk as a Christmas present.
It wasn't until September 1986 when the identity of their killer came to light. Kristen Wells was a manager at Conlin's Furniture, where Nance worked as a delivery man.
Doug and Kris Wells arrived at their home around midnight of September 3rd, and found a strange pickup camper parked in front of their house. When Doug looked inside it he found a man lying down in the front seat. They went inside and when Doug went outside a few minutes later to leave out the trash he found Nance standing in the front yard.
Nance asked him for a flashlight and when Wells went inside the house for it he was struck from behind by Nance. When Kris came outside Nance had a gun and he forced her to tie up Doug and then took her upstairs, where he tied her up as well. He then returned to Doug who he dragged down into the basement and tied to a post. He then proceeded to beat him savagely; took an 8-inch knife and plunged it into his chest.
Nance returned to the bedroom where he found that Kris had loosened one of her hands and was attempting to call 911. He tied her up again and returned several times to the basement to check Doug, which it's supposed he wanted to make sure he was dead. On his way to check on him one more time, he encountered Doug in the living room.
Doug had freed himself and retrieved a rifle he kept in the basement and had one bullet loaded in it. He then took aim and shot Nance once in the side. Nance staggered back to the bedroom while Doug beat him about the head with the rifle, eventually breaking the stock on his skull. Nance took his 22 caliber handgun and fired off three rounds, hitting Doug once in the leg.
In the altercation Nance dropped his handgun and Doug took it and fired off several rounds hitting Nance in the head. He went into convulsions, and died the following day in the emergency room of St. Patrick's Hospital. The Wells both made a full recovery from their injuries.
Due to the circumstances of his death, Wayne Nance was never tried or convicted of any of the crimes which are attributed to him, even though a search of his home provided more than sufficient evidence to tie to many cold cases in the area. Nance took to his grave not only the identity of his victims, but what many suspect is the knowledge of additional victims that have never been found.
Source - Murderpedia
Marlene at Miami Ghost Chronicles is a freelance writer and paranormal researcher.
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