It’s certainly unheard of for a serial killer to be killed by his intended victim. Nevertheless, that’s exactly what happened to suspected serial killer, Wayne Nance, in 1986.
Nance was born in Missoula, Montana, in 1955. His mother worked as a waitress while his father worked as a trucker. The young family lived in a mobile home just on the outskirts of town. While young Nance excelled in school, often earning A’s and B’s, he had a hot temper and was known as a troublemaker. Nevertheless, he sailed through grade school and high school.1
While considered a bit peculiar, Nance was well-liked around the town.
Living several houses down from the Nance family was the Pounds family. Donna worked part time at a Chrstian book store in Missoula while Harvey worked at Yandt’s Men’s Store. The couple were extremely religious with Harvey being the deacon of the Bethel Baptist Church. They had three children, Kenny, Karen, 20, and Kathy, 12.
It was the 11th of April 1974 when Donna was home alone; Harvey and Karen were at work, Kenny was in the army and Kathy was at school. A man crept into the family home, retrieved Harvey’s .22 calibre Luger and approached Donna in the bedroom. He tied her up in a spreadeagle position on the bed with clothesline which he had brought along with him. After raping the terrified woman, he took her down to the basement, pushed her under the stairs and then shot her five times in the back of the head.
A neighbour told police that she had seen a man who looked like Nance in the vicinity of the Pounds’ home that afternoon. Furthermore, Nance was a regular at the house and knew exactly where the .22 calibre Luger was kept. When police arrived to question him, he denied any involvement and claimed he had been sick in bed all day.
Police executed a search warrant of his home and discovered a bloodstained pair of underwear which had recently been washed. While the bloodstain was identified as coming from a human, they could not determine who it had come from. While Nance was considered a likely suspect, they could find no physical evidence to connect him to the case. Another suspect at the time was Harvey. It was uncovered that he had been having an affair which hinted towards a potential motivation. Nevertheless, police could find no evidence to connect him to his wife’s murder.
The case gradually went cold.
In 1979, railroad workers discovered the badly decomposed body of a young woman near the I-90 in Missoula. She had been sexually assaulted and stabbed to death. She was caucasian and wore a flower-print dress. Police searched through missing person reports but were unable to identify her. Therefore, she became known as “Betty Beavertail.”
In the summer of 1984, Nance became romantically involved with a woman from out of town known only as Robin. The duo dated throughout the summer and then in September, the couple left town, presumably to start their own family.
Just shy of three months later, a wildlife photographer trudging through the woodland of Missoula came across a grisly scene. Poking out from the earth was a human foot. Police arrived at the scene and unearthed the body of a young woman. The pathologist determined that she had been dead for around three months. Police trawled through missing person reports yet none matched the features of the dead woman. Whoever she was, she had met a brutal death; there were three gunshot wounds to her head. With no identification, she became known as Debbie Deer Creek.
Then in September of 1985, a bear hunter found skeletal remains scattered across a hillside in West Missoula. She had two bullets lodged into her skull. She had no personal items which could identify her and she became known as “Christy Crystal Creek.”2 Forensic experts at the time theorised that she was likely of Asian ethnicity and had dental work unique to Asia. She was likely left-handed and took care of her teeth.
The following year on the 12th of December, 1985, Mike and Teresa Shook and their three young children had just finished up their dinner when they heard a violent knock on their front door. When Mike opened the door, a man lunged at him with a butcher knife, stabbing him to death. Teresa was dragged to the bedroom where she was tied up and then raped and stabbed to death. Afterwards, the man set the house on fire in a bid to conceal evidence but miraculously, the Shook’s three children escaped the blaze unharmed.
Meanwhile, Nance had gotten himself a job at Conlin’s Furniture, where he worked as a delivery driver. His store manager was Kris Wells and he was said to have developed a crush on the married woman. One night in September of 1986, Kris and her husband, Doug, were returning home. It was around midnight when Doug thought he spotted somebody lurking outside their home in the darkness of the night. He went to inspect and sure enough, he found Nance in the bushes. Nance explained to Doug that he had been driving past when he thought he saw somebody looking into their window.
Nance asked Doug to go inside and get a flashlight for them to investigate further. However, when Doug turned his back, Nance struck him on the back of his head with a gun. Doug fell to the floor, bleeding profusely from the wound. The two men struggled on the floor as Kris rushed to see what all the commotion was about. Nance pointed the gun at her and forced her to tie her husband’s hands and feet before Nance tied hers. With Doug and Kris bound, Nance took Kris to the bedroom and tied her to the bed.
Nance then turned his attention back on Doug. With his hands and feet tied, he forced Doug down to the basement. Here, Nance tied Doug’s neck to a pole before lifting out an eight-inch butcher knife. Nance plunged the knife into Doug’s chest, just missing his heart by centimeters. Believing that Doug was dead, Nance then went back upstairs and headed towards the bedroom where he had tied Kris up.
But Doug wasn’t dead. Despite the beating and the stab wound to the chest, Doug was still alive and still conscious. Doug managed to free himself from the binds and retrieved his Savage 250 rifle. He staggered up the stairs and confronted Nance. Doug shot Nance once in the side and he dropped to the ground. As Nance attempted to get back up, Doug began to batter him with the rifle. He continued to do so until Nance stopped moving and his head was a bloody mess.
Both Nance and Doug were rushed to the hospital. Nance died of his injuries but miraculously, Doug survived.
After Nance’s death, authorities uncovered that this attempted slaying wasn’t an isolated incident. Nance was linked to six different murders. In his home, police discovered a photograph of him with Marci Bachman. When Marci was 16-years-old, she went missing from Vancouver, leaving behind a family who had no clue about her fate. Her family recollected that Marci was a “kind and gentle and loving individual.”3
Then in 2006, DNA testing showed that the woman known as Debbie Deer Creek was Marci. Furthermore, an investigation uncovered that the young woman known as “Robin” in Missoula was also Marci, indicating that almost as soon as she left town with Nance, he killed her. Robin had been a pseudonym Marci used after running away from home.4 In his home, they found evidence which connected him to her murder.
In 2009, Betty Beavertail was identified as 14-year-old Devonna Nelson, a runaway who had been hitchhiking through Missoula from Seattle. Christy Crystal Creek still remains unidentified but its presumed that she too was a victim of Nance.
The true number of victims attributed to Nance is unknown, but it’s safe to say he certainly never expected to meet his demise with the same violence he showed his victims. However, unlike his victims, he was deserving of it.
In May of 2021, Christy Crystal Creek was identified as Janet Lee Lucas. She grew up in California and Washington and had a son who was five-years-old when she vanished. He had spent much of his adult life searching for his mother.
Nance was killed in 1986, not in 1968 as the first paragraph implies.
Thank you for pointing that out. Apologies for the typo.
Damn that is crazy. Also there’s a typo at the first paragraph. Should say 1986 not 1968 🙂
It’s definitely a wild story. Thank you for pointing that out. Apologies for the typo.
How could the body be identified as Marci and “Robin”?
Robin was a pseudonym used by Marci after she ran away from home. Robin and Marci were the same person.
Good article… but…
“After Nance’s murder” is in the 4th from last paragraph.
He wasn’t murdered, he was “put down” or “justifiably killed” would be better!
Adding the satanist thing was unnecessary. FYI the satanist church of america are a humanist group who use the Satan moniker to get religious NJ’s knickers in a twist. Satan doesn’t exist BTW.
Huh! It was removed, whatever it said.
I’m gonna go with this is fake news.
The wording in this article is awful. “After Nance’s murder” is incorrect. He wasn’t murdered. He was just killed. Your word choice is rather disrespectful of Doug Wells. Doug was not a murderer. He was defending himself and his wife.
you know that vine where the little girl says “i’m a bad bitch, you can’t kill me”? that’s doug
Wow, tough crowd! The article is good and well researched. I have referenced Emily’s work on True Crime Garage. She does a great job. Well Done!
It’s always a tough crowd up on here, haha. Thank you, Nic, I seriously appreciate that. True Crime Garage is still one of my all-time favorites and I swear I listen to around 100 true crime podcasts!
mike and Teresa shook had bought furniture from Conlin furniture store ..thats how Nance..connected with them…he delivered their furniture…so meanwhile he got a job at the furniture store is not accurate..
me: sees the title
me: wait….. Wha?
All jokes aside, KARMA!
Hello. Good article. I found your page by chance when I learned about this case on YT. I am sure that I will become a fan of your written work. And the only thing left to say is Doug's strength and will to live its amazing. The killer never imagined that he would run into a man who would no longer tolerate his madness and would defend his life and his wife. I feel an unhealthy pleasure to know that he smashed his head but at the same time frustration because we will never know how many innocents he killed.… Read more »
My sister is the one they call Christy Crystal Creek, her real name is, Janet Lee Lucas. and she is not Asian or Japanese, she is white and she is loved and she was missed and she is still missed I will never get my sister back, I will never get to see my sister again. because of that monster that took her away from her family.
Nancy is my Aunt who is also a sister just want to say sorry this is crazy
Amy could you elaborate on this, as Christy Crystal Creek has never been identified
Cold Case: human remains found in Missoula County identified after 36 years (krtv.com)
Yep just checked the news. Glad she has a name. Took 22 years for the gal I found – Debbie Deer Creek – Marci Bachmann to be identified.
Did you not read the article in its entirety?
So sorry to hear about this being your sister. Nance ruined so many lives. Hopefully this will bring some closure.
I pray that more killers will meet their end; while trying to kill someone else.
Wonderful that they were able to identify the last victim. I’m sure she had to have been a victim of this guy. There’s no coincidences like this in a town as small as Missoula… Bullet wounds to the back of her head, same age as the other victims and similar physical appearance based on the photographs that still exist of her.
Hopefully Nance is rotting in hell like the miserable SOB he is.
I would add about Doug being shot at 3 times by Nance, getting hit once in the leg and still being able to beat Nance to death to save his wife.
Crazy serial killer.. end with his dead👏
Doug Wells is an American hero.
I watched the Bloodline Detectives programme about this last night – truly fascinating, and horrific. Do you have any info on what happened to Doug and Kris in the years following the incident? Are they both still ‘with us’?
I’m just wondering if Doug and Kris got into any trouble with the police over the death of Wayne Nance? I wouldn’t have thought so because they were just defending themselves, but if it had happened in the UK they may still have been in trouble. Does anyone know?
they did not. In fact it was shown that Nance actually killed himself (either accidentally or on purpose) Doug and Kris give talks to trainees at the academy (FBI). They were hailed as heroes and the state paid for all their medical bills Dougs recovery took a long time. ref: To Kill and Kill Again, by John Coston
And that is why you need to have guns to protect yourself against psychopaths!