May 18, 2024


The Baby Folks

Marvin Gabrion Killed Michigan Mom Rachel Timmerman: Why

On July 5, 1997, two turtle hunters in Newaygo County, north of Grand Rapids, Michigan designed a grim discovery: They uncovered a woman’s decomposing overall body floating in a lake in a nationwide forest. 

“Duct tape had been positioned all around her head, which covered up her mouth and also included up her eyes,” Curtis Schram, retired Det. F. Lt., Michigan Point out Law enforcement, advised “Twisted Killers,” airing Thursdays at 9/8c on Oxygen. “Her nose was not lined with duct tape.”  

Her arms were being handcuffed driving her back again. Chains wrapped around her torso were tethered to cinder blocks tinged with purple paint. They ended up utilised to weigh down the overall body, which made its way to the surface because of to gasses developing up inside of the entire body.  The professional medical examiner determined the trigger of demise to be asphyxia by drowning.

“Our sufferer, in all chance, was alive when placed in the h2o,” mentioned David Babcock, retired Undersheriff, Newaygo County Sheriff’s Business.

The target was identified as 19-yr-aged Rachel Timmerman, who lived in Cedar Springs, about 20 miles from wherever she was recovered. She experienced an toddler daughter, Shannon. In which was the baby? Investigators raced to find Shannon.

Tim Timmerman, Rachel’s father, instructed investigators that his daughter experienced gone on a day on June 3 with a man named John. She experienced brought Shannon with her. When Rachel and the child did not return that night time, her dad was worried, but the upcoming day he gained a letter from Rachel plainly in her handwriting telling him not to get worried. She’d fulfilled her dream gentleman, she’d composed. About June 10, an additional letter experienced arrived. She wrote that she and her daughter ended up beginning a new daily life in Minimal Rock, Arkansas.

“It did not make any sense to us, but there was absolutely nothing we could do,” claimed Tim. “She was an grownup.” 

Nearby officials attained out to the FBI for help, as Rachel’s relatives assisted officials make a composite sketch of the guy who picked up Rachel.

Detectives dug into Rachel’s history and discovered that she’d claimed remaining raped in August 1996. She experienced been taking part in playing cards with two guys, Wayne Davis and Marvin Gabrion. She’d mentioned that all three of them had gone out for beer, but Gabrion pressured Davis out of the motor vehicle. He then drove Rachel to a wooded region, she’d explained, and sexually assaulted her. If she explained to any individual, he reported he would “kill Shannon and make her look at,” in accordance to a single of Rachel’s close friends. Nonetheless, Rachel went to the police.

Davis’ variation of the functions up to the point exactly where he acquired out of the motor vehicle corroborated Rachel’s account. In January 1997, Gabrion was arrested, but a few of weeks later on, while awaiting trial, “he was bonded out by a mate of his,” said Schram. 

Rachel was scheduled to testify in court versus Gabrion on June 5. She was last found two days right before that. Gabrion appeared in courtroom. Rachel did not. 

“It sure seems like another person did not want her to testify,” said previous NYC prosecutor Beth Karas.

Gabrion, who was nowhere to be discovered, became the primary murder suspect. 

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Investigators searched Gabrion’s residence in Altona, Michigan. They found duct tape like the variety discovered on Rachel’s system as properly as red-tinged cinder blocks. His neighbors also told investigators they were being concerned of Gabrion since of his terrifying behavior. 

“He was a one particular-male criminal offense wave in that area,” reported Timothy Verhey, Assistant U.S. Legal professional. 

Police went to converse with Davis, but found that he, much too, had disappeared. A close friend of his told authorities that she hadn’t found him in some time. Experienced Davis, a witness to Rachel’s rape, left on his individual — or in opposition to his will? It was unclear. 

“Within a period of time of two months, there ended up 3 individuals missing or dead,” reflected Roberta Gilligan, retired Unique Agent, FBI.

In August 1997, a connect with to the Michigan Condition Police idea line offered the split investigators wanted. The girlfriend of a man named John Weeks mentioned that she’d overheard him having a mobile phone dialogue with Rachel Timmerman. Weeks advised her that he’d designed the calls on behalf of a friend — Marvin Gabrion, she thought. Weeks was a powerful match for the composite sketch of the male in the car or truck with Rachel. Weeks’ girlfriend hadn’t viewed him due to the fact the end of June.

Law enforcement spoke with campers who determined Months and Gabrion via pictures as males they encountered at Oxford Lake in early June 1997. A woman was with them who appeared like Rachel, the witnesses said.

As the range of persons related with Gabrion who’d vanished rose, officers viewed as that they could be looking for a serial killer. 

Gabrion “was diverse from most serial killers in that he had a quite clear motive,” mentioned Dr. Kate Termini, a forensic psychologist. “He killed out of pure requirement for self preservation. He was hoping to protect himself versus people that could have discovered him.”

Investigators concentrated on Gabrion’s phone and lender documents to observe him down. They acquired that he utilised the alias Robert Allen, which was the same title as a disabled Grand Rapids male who gathered Social Protection.  Allen’s family members hadn’t observed him given that late 1995, but his Social Stability checks were being still being cashed. Individuals checks were staying sent to a put up place of work box in Sherman, New York, exterior Buffalo. 

Detectives decided that the next examine would be available on October 14. An FBI endeavor power covertly waited for Gabrion to arrive to select up the examine, and when he did, Gabrion was arrested and introduced back to Michigan.

He denied any guilt and claimed that someone else had Rachel and her child killed.

“He was pretty uncooperative,” explained Gilligan. “At times he would try out to be charming, but it was unnerving to be about him. He did look evil.”

Investigators considered that taking the child was a way to regulate Rachel and drive her to compose letters to her household. Shannon’s human body was in no way observed.

“We think Marvin Gabriel could not permit child Shannon to live due to the fact she connected Gabrion to the murder,” explained Verhey.

Authorities believe that that in addition to the mother and daughter, Gabrion killed Robert Allen, Wayne Davis, and John Months. 

Simply because only a solitary physique was recovered, Gabrion was charged with one particular depend of murder. His trial commenced in 2002, and Gabrion was discovered guilty. Mainly because the lake where Rachel was killed is on federal assets, it authorized prosecution under federal regulation — and the dying penalty, notedThe jury sentenced Gabrion to dying, the Connected Push described.

A couple of months right after the conviction, Davis’ overall body was observed in a Newaygo County pond.

To understand far more about the scenario, observe “Twisted Killers,” airing Thursdays at 9/8c on Oxygen, and stream episodes listed here