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Warning: This post contains spoilers for Lover, Stalker, Killer.

At the heart of Netflix’s Lover, Stalker, Killer is a love triangle gone horribly wrong—but not in the way the true-crime documentary initially leads you to suspect.

The True Crime Love Triangle in Netflix’s Lover, Stalker, Killer

Out Feb. 9, Lover, Stalker, Killer recounts the harrowing true story of how auto mechanic Dave Kroupa became ensnared in an online dating nightmare that led to years of stalking, harassment, arson, and ultimately, murder.

Directed by Sam Hobkinson (Fear City: New York vs. The Mafia), the documentary relies heavily on interviews with Kroupa, law enforcement officials, and other key players to piece together the events surrounding the perpetrator’s crimes. In a unique twist, Kroupa even portrays himself in many of the film’s dramatic reenactment scenes.

The True Crime Love Triangle in Netflix’s Lover, Stalker, Killer

The doc also features a jaw-dropping twist that will leave you reeling (if you’re not already familiar with the story). “We enter this story from Dave’s perspective, who is caught in a complete web of falsehood,” Hobkinson told Netflix’s Tudum. “I wanted the storytelling to somehow reflect that confusion and ultimately, his total disbelief when he realizes what’s happened.”

The True Crime Love Triangle in Netflix’s Lover, Stalker, Killer

What is Lover, Stalker, Killer About?

In 2012, newly single Dave Kroupa moved to Omaha, Nebraska, and joined the online dating site Plenty of Fish. Shortly after, he received a message from a local woman named Shanna “Liz” Golyar, and they quickly hit it off.

Kroupa’s romance with Golyar was casual, as he had recently ended a long-term relationship with Amy Flora, the mother of his two children. So, when Kroupa met Cari Farver—who lived an hour away in Macedonia, Iowa—at his auto shop and discovered her profile on the site, he began dating her as well.

The True Crime Love Triangle in Netflix’s Lover, Stalker, Killer

Things took a turn for the awkward one night when Kroupa had Farver over and Golyar showed up, saying she needed something from his apartment. After a brief explanation, Farver decided to leave, making only brief eye contact with Golyar as she exited. It seemed like just an odd encounter—until things spiraled out of control.

Around two weeks into their relationship, Kroupa received a strange text from Farver, suggesting they move in together. When he reminded her they had agreed to keep things casual, she bombarded him with messages saying she hated him and that he had ruined her life. By the time he returned home for lunch, it appeared Farver had taken all her belongings and left. The texts then escalated to threats like, “I’m going to destroy the things you care about” and “Your life will be ruined.”

For the next four years, Kroupa and his loved ones endured relentless harassment, including threatening messages from over 40 different phone numbers and countless email aliases. Farver seemed to specifically target Golyar, keying her car and burning down her house—killing all her pets in the fire.

Despite Kroupa’s cries for assistance, the Omaha Police Department was helpless because no one had seen Farver since that November morning. In January 2013, Kroupa spotted Farver’s car near his home, but a search yielded only a single fingerprint that didn’t match Farver or anyone in the FBI’s database.

The True Crime Love Triangle in Netflix’s Lover, Stalker, Killer

In the meantime, Farver’s mother, Nancy Raney, also started receiving strange messages from her daughter’s phone, claiming she had moved to Kansas for a new job and would return for her son. Confused, Raney filed a missing person’s report, but Farver’s bipolar disorder diagnosis led police to dismiss her concerns.

What Happened to Cari Farver?

In its shocking twist, Lover, Stalker, Killer reveals that Farver was murdered on the same day Kroupa started receiving strange messages from her phone number—and the killer was none other than Golyar, who then orchestrated the harassment campaign against Kroupa and his loved ones, even burning her own house down.

The True Crime Love Triangle in Netflix’s Lover, Stalker, Killer

The breakthrough came when Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Jim Doty and Deputy Ryan Avis took over the investigation in 2015. With digital forensics expert Special Deputy Tony Kava, they discovered a photo of Farver’s car on Golyar’s phone taken a month before police found the vehicle. Golyar had also made calls to Farver’s home, further implicating her.

Golyar then tried to frame Flora for the harassment, even shooting herself in the leg and falsely claiming Flora had attacked her. However, police found a photo of Farver’s dead body on Golyar’s tablet. Golyar was arrested in December 2016, with evidence showing she had stabbed Farver to death in her car before disposing of the body.

The True Crime Love Triangle in Netflix’s Lover, Stalker, Killer

In 2017, Golyar was convicted of first-degree murder and second-degree arson, receiving a life sentence without parole.

The final minutes of Lover, Stalker, Killer focus on those involved reflecting on the importance of restoring Farver’s reputation. “If I’d known the choice was this craziness or telling Cari I wasn’t interested, I’d have told Cari I wasn’t interested,” Kroupa laments. “But you don’t get that choice.”

For more details and to dive into this gripping true-crime story, check out Lover, Stalker, Killer on Netflix now.

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