"That there is a Devil is a thing doubted by none but such as are under the influence of the Devil. For any to deny the being of a Devil must be from ignorance or profaneness worse than diabolical."
It was the 3rd of December 2009. A Thursday. Twenty four year old Rebecca Koster went out with her boyfriend, twenty eight year old Dan Mayor, and a few friends. Rebecca loved having fun. She worked hard as a home health care aide looking after the elderly and people with autism during the day and at nights, she loved to go out and party. It was her vivaciousness that mesmerised people when they were in her presence. When she was out she felt so alive.
That night, Rebecca went to two bars in Suffolk County in New York, United States close to her house in Medford. The second bar they went to was Butcher Boys Bar and Grill in Holbrook and they left just after 3.20am. They were only there a short while.
Rebecca, Dan and her friends all made their way home. They dropped Rebecca off around 3.30am. Rebecca lived with her mother Barbara and stepfather Larry Ross. When she got home, she sent Barbara a text message. Barbara asked her to let her know when she was home as she always worried about her when she was out and Barbara, a nurse, was working a night shift that night.
The next morning, Barbara got home and saw Rebecca's car outside and her belongings were inside the house. But when she went to Rebecca's bedroom, she discovered Rebecca wasn't there. She called her but there was no answer and her phone wasn't in the house. When Rebecca didn't show up for work, Barbara was worried and contacted Dan.
Dan told Barbara that they dropped Rebecca home around 3.30am. He did not know where she was either. They reported her missing to the police. Her family and friends began searching for her. They put up fliers everywhere. They even knocked on people's doors to ask them if they saw Rebecca or knew anything.
Rebecca and Barbara
The police obtained the surveillance footage from the bar Rebecca was in. They saw her at 3.20 am on the footage standing beside the jukebox. At that point, she was ready to go home. She told Dan and her friends that she wanted to go home.
They also saw Rebecca on the surveillance footage talking to a man at the bar when she was ordering a drink. Nobody knew who he was but they saw him take Rebecca's phone from her and use it. It looked as if he was giving her his phone number.
Three days after Rebecca disappeared, Barbara received a text message. It was from Rebecca's phone. It said that she was with Dan but didn't know where she was. Barbara called the police and Rebecca's family and friends went to Dan's house. The police were already there. But Rebecca wasn't.
Barbara received another text from Rebecca's phone. The text message said that Dan had tied her up in a basement.
This time, they traced the phone pings to try to locate the area where she was as they knew she was not in Dan's house. It appeared the text messages were being sent from an industrial area in Cormack which was about twenty miles from Rebecca's home in Medford.
Some of Rebecca's family and friends wondered if Dan was involved and hiding her somewhere. She had been in a relationship with him for just a few months and they didn't know him that well. They were hoping Rebecca was somewhere and would be found safe and well. But that hope ended six days after she disappeared. Police confirmed they found her remains.
The remains were found just one day after Rebecca went missing but they were difficult to identify and that is why Rebecca's family only found out a few days later. Rebecca's family discovered that Rebecca was dead and also suffered an extremely brutal and horrific death.
On the 4th of December 2009, a motorist found the remains around 7.20pm that night in a field near the intersection of Jeremy Hill Road and Route 201 in North Stonington, Connecticut, just 85 miles from Rebecca's home in Medford. Rebecca had been stabbed to death, with a fatal wound to her liver. Her body was then mutilated. Each of her fingertips were missing. Every one of Rebecca's toes had been removed. Her face had been cut off as were her nose and ears and the tattoo on her back. The remains were then burned far beyond the point of any recognition.
Rebecca was identified through her dental records.
Despite the text messages Barbara had received and even though Dan was one of the last people to see Rebecca that night, Police quickly established that Rebecca's boyfriend Dan was not involved in her murder.
Investigators were more interested in two calls Rebecca received from someone an hour after Dan dropped her home.
The calls were made by thirty year old Evans Ganthier. Rebecca's family had no idea who he was. In fact, Rebecca didn't know him either. But she had met him at the bar the night she went missing. He was the man seen on surveillance footage talking to Rebecca at the bar. They had exchanged numbers.
Police spoke with Evans. He denied any involvement. Police searched his car and house. In his SUV, they found blood and there was evidence that the garage had been recently cleaned. Police found his fingerprint. Even though Rebecca's remains were mutilated, dismembered and set on fire, one fingerprint was found on the duct tape on her body. And it was a match to Evans. When questioned further, Evans said that he did call Rebecca. According to Evans, he collected Rebecca from her house and brought her back to his home. Inside his home, Rebecca began to cough and she was foaming at the mouth. That caused her to fall over dumbbells in his garage and hit her head.
Evans claimed that Rebecca died accidentally but he mutilated and dismembered her body because he panicked and did not want her to be identified. He wrapped her body parts in a blanket and plastic bags and put her head in a plastic bag. Evans then drove his SUV, with the remains in the blanket and bags in the trunk, onto a car-carrying ferry near his home in Port Jefferson. Surveillance footage showed him getting on to the ferry. Nothing looked out of place. The ferry went to Connecticut and that was where he left Rebecca's remains and set them on fire.
Evans was charged with second degree murder. It was the Prosecution's case that Rebecca's murder was no accident. She was stabbed to death and then Evans cut off her fingers, toes, hair, face and tattoo on her back so that no identification could take place. Evans continued to claim that her death was accidental.
The Jury did not believe him. He was found guilty and sentenced to the maximum of 25 years to life in prison.
The Judge in the case, Justice Richard Ambro, said that the accidental death story:
"makes no sense. Neither I nor the jury believes you."
The depravity in this case is almost unspeakable. Within a matter of hours of meeting a young, beautiful and vibrant woman at a bar, Evans stabbed her to death. His wickedness did not end there. In an attempt to prevent her family from ever knowing the remains on fire belonged to Rebecca, he mutilated her with such savagery that it's almost impossible to imagine. Not content with that, he dismembered Rebecca and set her remains on fire. In a further evil act, text messages were sent to Barbara from Rebecca's phone after her murder which gave a desperate family hope that she was still alive when she wasn't.
Evans is eligible for parole in 2035.
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"The criminal justice system will take a hard look at what happened to Matthew Eappen. It is up to the rest of us to take an even harder look at who is minding our children."
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