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Days Before Testifying In Rape Trial, Youthful Mother And Her Baby Daughter Vanish — What Went Down?

On This summer 5, 1997, two turtle hunters in Newaygo County, north of Grand Rapids, Michigan designed a harsh discovery: They found a woman’s decomposing body floating inside a lake inside a national forest. 

“Duct tape have been placed round her mind, which hidden her mouth as well as hidden her eyes,” Curtis Schram, upon the market Det. F. Lt., Michigan Condition Police, told “Twisted Killers,” airing Thursdays at 9/8c on Archiweekend. “Her nose wasn’t engrossed in duct tape.”  

Her hands were handcuffed behind her back. Chains wrapped round her torso were tethered to cinder blocks tinged with red paint. These were accustomed to weigh lower your body, which made its method to the top because of gasses accumulating within the body.  The medical examiner determined the reason for dying to become asphyxia by drowning.

“Our victim, in all probability, was alive when placed within the water,” stated David Babcock, upon the market Undersheriff, Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office.

The victim was recognized as 19-year-old Rachel Timmerman, who resided in Cedar plank Springs, about 20 miles where she was retrieved. She’d a baby daughter, Shannon. Where was the infant? Investigators raced to discover Shannon.

Tim Timmerman, Rachel’s father, told investigators that his daughter choose to go on the date on June 3 having a person called John. She’d introduced Shannon together with her. When Rachel and also the baby didn’t return that night, her father was concerned, but the following day he received instructions from Rachel clearly in her own handwriting telling him never fear. She’d met her dream man, she’d written. Around June 10, another letter had showed up. She authored that they and her daughter were beginning a brand new existence in Little Rock, Arkansas.

“It didn’t make sense at all to all of us, but there is nothing we’re able to do,” stated Tim. “She was a grownup.” 

Local officials arrived at to the FBI for help, as Rachel’s family helped officials produce a composite sketch from the man who selected up Rachel.

Detectives dug into Rachel’s background and discovered that she’d reported being raped in August 1996. She’d been handmade cards with two men, Wayne Davis and Marvin Gabrion. She’d stated that three of these choose to go out for beer, but Gabrion forced Davis from the vehicle. Then he drove Rachel to some wooded area, she’d stated, and sexually assaulted her. If she told anybody, he stated he’d “kill Shannon making her watch,” based on certainly one of Rachel’s buddies. Nevertheless, Rachel visited law enforcement.

Davis’ form of the occasions until where she got from the vehicle corroborated Rachel’s account. In The month of january 1997, Gabrion was arrested, but a few days later, while waiting for trial, “he was glued out with a friend of his,” stated Schram. 

Rachel was scheduled to testify in the court against Gabrion on June 5. She was last seen 2 days before that. Gabrion made an appearance in the court. Rachel didn’t. 

“It sure appears like someone didn’t want her to testify,” stated former New york city prosecutor Janet Karas.

Gabrion, who had been nowhere found, grew to become the best murder suspect. 

Investigators looked Gabrion’s residence in Altona, Michigan. They found duct tape such as the kind available on Rachel’s body in addition to red-tinged cinder blocks. His neighbors also told investigators these were scared of Gabrion due to his frightening behavior. 

“He would be a one-man crime wave on the bottom,” stated Timothy Verhey, Assistant U.S. Attorney. 

Police went to talk with Davis, but learned that he, too, had disappeared. A buddy of his told government bodies that they hadn’t seen him in certain time. Had Davis, a witness to Rachel’s rape, left by himself — or against his will? It had been unclear. 

“Within a time period of two days, there have been three people missing or dead,” reflected Roberta Gilligan, upon the market Special Agent, FBI.

In August 1997, a phone call towards the Michigan Condition Police tip line provided the break investigators needed. The girlfriend assertive named John Days stated that she’d overheard him getting a telephone conversation with Rachel Timmerman. Days informed her that he’d made the calls with respect to a buddy — Marvin Gabrion, she believed. Days would be a strong match for that composite sketch from the man within the vehicle with Rachel. Weeks’ girlfriend hadn’t seen him because the finish of June.

Police spoken with campers who identified Days and Gabrion through photos as men they experienced at Oxford Lake at the begining of June 1997. A lady was together who appeared as if Rachel, the witnesses stated.

As the amount of people associated with Gabrion who’d disappeared rose, officials belief that they may be trying to find a murderer. 

Gabrion “was not the same as most serial killers for the reason that he’d a really obvious motive,” stated Dr. Kate Termini, a forensic psychiatrist. “He wiped out from pure necessity for self upkeep. He was attempting to safeguard themself against people who might have identified him.”

Investigators centered on Gabrion’s phone and bank statements to trace him lower. They found that he used the alias Robert Allen, that was exactly the same name like a disabled Grand Rapids man who collected Social Security.  Allen’s family hadn’t seen him since late 1995, but his Social Security checks remained as being cashed. Individuals checks appeared to be delivered to a publish office box in Sherman, New You are able to, outdoors Zoysia. 

Detectives determined the next check could be on October 14. An FBI task pressure covertly anxiously waited for Gabrion to reach to get the check, so when he did, Gabrion was arrested and introduced to Michigan.

He denied any guilt and claimed that another person had Rachel and her baby wiped out.

“He was very uncooperative,” stated Gilligan. “At occasions he’d play the role of charming, however it was unnerving to be with him. He did appear evil.”

Investigators thought that using the baby was a method to control Rachel and pressure her to create letters to her family. Shannon’s body never was found.

“We believe Marvin Gabriel couldn’t allow baby Shannon to reside because she linked Gabrion towards the murder,” stated Verhey.

Government bodies think that additionally towards the mother and daughter, Gabrion wiped out Robert Allen, Wayne Davis, and John Days. 

Since just one body was retrieved, Gabrion was billed with one count of murder. His trial started in 2002, and Gabrion was discovered guilty. Since the lake where Rachel was wiped out is on federal property, it permitted prosecution under federal law — and also the dying penalty, mlive.com reported. The jury sentenced Gabrion to dying, the Connected Press reported.

A few several weeks following the conviction, Davis’ body was discovered inside a Newaygo County pond.

To understand more about the situation, watch “Twisted Killers,” airing Thursdays at 9/8c on Archiweekend, and stream episodes here. 

Written by Stephanie Green

I am dreamer and book reader.

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