In this episode, we are covering the murders of two women. Two women whose deaths are so similar that for a while, Franklin Indiana felt that they might have a serial killer on their hands.
Sharon Myers was a 26-year-old married, mother of a thirteen-week old son, Jason. Her husband’s name was David. She worked at Arvin Industries Gladstone Plant in Franklin Indiana in the human resources department.
On May 13th, 1997, Sharon was seen in the parking lot of Arvin Industries at around 6:15 am. She never goes in to work and she is never seen again. David reports her disappearance to the police at 10:46 am, only a few hours after she was last seen. The police immediately classify it as a missing person case.
On May 21st, police received a tip and search a field along Rocky Ford Road for Sharon’s personal items, they don’t find anything.
David is not a suspect of the case, he had already been cleared by now so he begs the public for help in solving his wife’s disappearance.
On May 29th, police announced that they are pursuing the case as a possible homicide and say that they have a suspect in mind, this person is known to Shanon. But they still have not found her, or any physical clues.
At this point, the community is desperate for answers, and Arvin Industries does what they can to help. Originally they offer up a reward for $10,000 for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person who is responsible for Sharon's disappearance. They later raise this reward to $25,000.
In July, police announced that they have a suspect for the disappearance, it is an Arvin Industries employee, Jason Hubble. Sharon and this man had gotten into an argument about his benefits, supposedly some of his payments were late and Sharon was the one who handled his account.
As of July 1997, the police had no updates, they hadn’t found Sharon, dead or alive, they hadn’t found any clues, and the case was stalled.
Now we are skipping ahead a few months, to September 27th, 1997.
At around midnight, police discover an abandoned car at a stop sign. Lights are on, keys are in the ignition, and the wallet is on the passenger seat. After a quick run of the license plate, they find that the car belongs to Kelly Eckart.
Kelly Eckart was an 18-year-old woman who was just beginning her life. She was extremely smart, in high school, she was a member of the national honor society which is a nationwide society for students in the US. The selection for students to become members is based on scholarship, leadership, service, and character. In 1997 she was a freshman student at Franklin College, which was a liberal arts school. She received an academic scholarship to be there. Kelly was described as vibrant and a “good person”.
After some investigation, police were able to piece together Kelly’s movements that night.
At 10 pm on the night of September 26th, Kelly left her job at Walmart and went to meet her boyfriend Anthony, and his mother. They went shopping until 11:15 pm and all left, driving away in different cars. This was the last time anyone saw Kelly.
Now there were two women missing in the same general area of Indiana. And the police were concerned.
Police find a scratch on the back bumper of Kelly’s car and they come up with a horrifying suspicion: someone intentionally hit her to get her to stop, pullover, and get out of her car. They searched the area for four days to try and find Kelly or any clue of her disappearance.
And then, four days later, Kelly’s body was found.
Two women walking their dogs in Brown County, which was 40 miles away from where the car had been found, found her nude body in a ravine. Along with her clothing, Kelly was missing jewelry and her shoes. Kelly had been strangled to death and had been found with three things tied around her neck, a gold metal chain, a shoestring and a strap off her overalls. She had also been shot in the forehead. Interestingly though, the bullet had been made from wax, not lead.
The medical examiner suspected it was from a stun gun used in slaughterhouses
Kelly had also been raped, they were able to collect DNA.
They believed that the murderer had bumped the back of her car, luring her out, he then most likely shot her or just took her at gunpoint and got her into the car. They believed, based on the way her body was laid, that the suspect had just thrown her there, they believed this was a body dump, not the crime scene. They found white fibers and olive triangular fibers, which we all know comes most likely from carpet, on her body. Investigators believed that she had been wrapped in something white and then put into a car with olive carpet. Fly larvae were found on the body from the green bottle blowfly, they land on the body almost immediately after death - this was able to help find a time of death. They believed Kelly was killed on the night that she disappeared, either on late on the 26th or early on the 27th when it was dark and she was dead by sunrise.
They, of course, questioned Kelly’s boyfriend, Anthony and he was a suspect for a while however he had an alibi. Anthony said that he went to a convenience store on his way home, and even though they couldn’t find any witnesses, he was cleared because he did have a receipt from that night.
Since they weren’t able to find any more information, they decided to reach out to the public and announce that they didn’t know the whereabouts of Kelly’s shoes. They wanted to know if anyone had any information. They went on TV and showed the exact pair of tennis shoes that Kelly had been wearing that night. Three weeks after they initially reached out, a tipster called and said there was a pair of shoes that matched the description at the Atterbury Wild Life Preserve, which was about 20 miles from where Kelly was found. They were consistent with the shoes that Kelly had been wearing and they were missing a shoelace.
They began their search of Atterbury Wild Life Preserve, looking for any additional clues. They felt like somewhere in the park there could be a crime scene, however, the park was more than 33 thousand acres, and ultimately they didn’t find anything else.
One week after the discovery of the shoes, the police get an interesting call. A woman’s body had been found in Atterbury Wild Life Preserve. On Sunday, November 2nd, 1997 an employee of Indiana Department of Natural Resources at Atterbury Wildlife Preserve discovered the skeletal remains of Sharon Myers. It is confirmed by dental records. This was the same relative area as the shoes were found.
After six months of searching, Sharon had finally been found. She had also been strangled to death. Investigators couldn’t help but see the similarities between the death two victims, however other than the fact that they died in the same way, the two were otherwise not connected.
They realized that they might have a serial killer on their hands.
After a little more investigation, they were able to determine that Sharon and Kelly’s murders were unrelated.
Jason Hubbell was convicted of Sharon’s death, he was found guilty of one count of murder and one count of criminal confinement. Jason was sentenced to 75 years in prison. A witness testified that Jason was having trouble getting his insurance benefits and that Sharon was acting “cold” towards him. They suspect he abducted her from the parking lot and killed her out of anger.
Finally, Sharon’s family had some answers and her case was closed. Here’s a quote from “The Republic” newspaper “when the time comes to explain to Jesse all that happened to his mother, David said, his description of her will be a simple one. “She was a good mother and loved him very much”. Sharon's mother, Catherine, and the rest of her family found comfort in butterflies, which were Sharon’s favorite
Catherine said that two weeks after Sharon’s disappearance a butterfly had landed on her shoulder while she and Sharon’s father were on a walk, it stayed there for three hours! She said that she knew the butterfly was Sharon and they used the symbol of the butterfly to get them through their grief and the trial. Although the case is solved, it is a horrible ending for a woman who had so much ahead of her in life.
But the story isn’t over yet, they still needed to solve Kelly’s case.
Since there was no evidence that Hubbell had anything to do with Kelly’s death, they had to move on. They turned to the public again for help. This time, they got over 800 leads, obviously, not all of them were much help, but a few were.
They received a call about a man who had been sitting in a truck with a camper on it in the Walmart parking lot during the period of Kelly’s disappearance. But not just then, he had been sitting in the parking lot almost every night, witnesses said that he might have a connection to Kelly. They said that they had seen him looking into a maroon car, they thought he might have been trying to steal it. This was the same general description as Kelly’s car.
They decided to set up surveillance and they were able to track this man down, his name was Jeff Wagner. He was 37 years old and in the middle of a divorce. When asked why he spent so much time at the Walmart, Jeff said to watch and meet a woman. He said he would go three times a week! He said he didn’t know anything about Kelly’s disappearance and willingly gave his DNA to be compared. There was no match.
A second tip came in, this one was about a man named Scott Overstreet, they said this man had information about Kelly’s murder. Although Scott Overstreet had no criminal record and at first claimed to know nothing about the murder, once police questioning started, he changed his story. He said that his brother Michael asked him to drive his van and himself to the Atterbury Wildlife Preserve, while he was driving he noticed an unconscious woman covered with a blanket in the back of the van. He told his brother not to hurt the woman, and Michael said not to worry about it and he planned to just get the girl lost in the preserve. Michael got out of the van carrying the woman and Scott drove off. He never saw the woman again.
He led police to the Wild Life Preserve and they started to find evidence that this woman was in fact, Kelly. They found her jewelry.
Michael Overstreet was married with five children and also didn’t have any priors
He had been in the military for an extremely short time, I mean like three months and then was discharged from the military due to psychological reasons, he had been diagnosed with Psychological Deterioration and Scitzotyple Personality Disorder. When questioned Michael denied any involvement stating that he didn’t know who did it but he was not involved.
They searched his home and found a .22 caliber rifle and several unusual shells. The bullet portion was made out of wax, this matched Kelly’s injuries. They found the white blanket in the home - they matched the white fibers and green nylon tri-lobal fibers from the carpet in Michaels van - they matched. After measuring the height of the pumper on Michaels van to the scratches on Kelly's car they found this too to be consistent.
Prosecutors believe that Michael followed Kelly home on her way back from work, he bumped her car and they stopped to inspect the damage. He fired the wax bullet that didn’t kill her but left her unconscious. He put her into his van, called his brother to drive him to the Preserve. He walked her into the woods, assaulted her and strangled her to death.
Michael was known to have shopped at the Walmart store Kelly worked at. They didn’t know why he threw her shoes in the bathroom. It is believed that days later he returned and moved her body and threw it into the ravine.
They knew Michael was guilty but was Scott more involved than he was letting on?
The answer is no, Michael was DNA was matched. They gave Scott immunity to testify against his brother in court. Michael was convicted of murder, rape, and confinement.
On July 31st, 2000 he was sentenced to death.
In 2013, Michael applied for post-conviction relief which would have spared him from the death penalty: lethal injection, however, it was denied but the Indiana Supreme Court did authorize a post-conviction relief on the basis of insanity.
In 2014, Overstreet was officially ruled not competent to be executed based on mental illness, he heard voices (as he had for years) and was diagnosed with schizophrenia. The lawyers said “he was delusional and has no "rational understanding" of why the state of Indiana plans to execute him.” They basically said that the death penalty would mean nothing for him, quote "He believes he's already dead, That's the delusion."
However, people were not happy about this, including one of the prosecutors on Kelly’s case Brad Cooper, who said to The Star in “I was angry and suspicious when this case was sent to a distant judge who is not accountable to the Johnson County citizenry or a grieving mother who couldn’t even afford to drive up for the hearing. The idea that this convicted murdering monster is too sick to be executed is nothing short of outrageous and is an injustice to the victim, her mother, the jury and the hundreds of people who worked to convict this animal.” he ended up having a disciplinary hearing because of these comments.
Here’s a quote from The IndyStar "I still believe in the judicial system," said Connie Sutton, Eckart's mother. "He is going to spend the rest of his life on death row. "Maybe, just maybe, with this illness that he has, he's gonna suffer more than if he was put to death."