From State of Missouri v Timothy S Chaney 1998:
Around eleven o’clock on Saturday morning, April 8, 1995, thirteen-year-old Stephanie Steele called her friend Michelle Winter, who was three weeks away from her thirteenth birthday. Stephanie asked Michelle if she wanted to spend the afternoon together. Michelle received permission from her mother and changed into a brand new sweater that her mother had purchased for her the previous Wednesday. This was the first time Michelle had worn the sweater. Michelle left the house on foot to meet Stephanie, but did not say goodbye to her mother. Stephanie and Michelle walked to the library together, then walked to a fast food restaurant, and then stopped at a gas station to buy soda and candy. While at the gas station, they ran into Michelle’s mother, Jackie Nowak, who chided Michelle for not letting her know when she had left the house. The girls walked back to Stephanie’s house. They used the typewriter and watched the television in Stephanie’s bedroom. Michelle called her mother around 3:30 p.m. and assured her that she would not leave without calling her first. Michelle fell asleep on Stephanie’s bed.
Later that afternoon, Timothy Chaney, Stephanie’s stepfather, came into Stephanie’s bedroom and told her that he was going around the corner to get his van washed. Stephanie’s mother, Wendy Chaney, was asleep. At 4:50 p.m., both girls left the house, but walked in opposite directions. Stephanie turned north to return a videotape, and Michelle walked south to return home. Michelle then turned east on the street where she lived. Neighbors saw her around five o’clock walking toward her house carrying a book bag.
At six o’clock, Jackie Nowak called Stephanie’s house to tell Michelle to return home. Stephanie told her that Michelle had left her house around 5:00 p.m. After driving around the neighborhood without success in finding Michelle, Jackie returned home and called the Springfield police.
Timothy Chaney had not yet returned home. Wendy Chaney asked her next-door neighbors, Richard and Cheri Nelson, if they knew of her husband’s whereabouts. They did not. Timothy Chaney returned home in the van around 9:00 to 9:30 p.m. Wendy and Timothy Chaney then drove Wendy’s car to Jackie Nowak’s house to let her know that they would search near the mall.
The next day, a police detective questioned Timothy Chaney and noted that he had tears in his eyes, and that when Chaney’s voice broke in mid-sentence, he had to stop to regain his composure. Later that day, Richard Nelson asked Chaney where he had been the night before. Chaney told Nelson that he had driven to Linden Lure off of route 60 to go fishing, but fell asleep because he had been drinking beer that afternoon.
On April 12, a police investigator questioned Timothy Chaney at his optical business as to his whereabouts Saturday afternoon and evening. Chaney told the officer that he and his wife had gone to a bar Saturday afternoon, had a couple of beers, and returned home around 2:30 p.m. According to Chaney, at 4:30 p.m. he took the van to be washed, but as the car wash was full, he decided to go fishing instead. He then claims he drove to Springfield Lake, did some fishing, but lost his only two lures in the first ten to fifteen minutes. He stated that he then went to the James River, which runs into Springfield Lake, to fish off of the bank. At this point in the questioning, the officer asked Chaney how he could continue fishing without any lures and, after a long pause, Chaney responded that he was just going to look for a spot to go in the future. Chaney stated that after failing to find access to the James River, he continued south through Sparta, saw a sign for Linden and had heard that Linden Lure was a good place to fish. The officer thought this was odd, because if Chaney had been traveling south, he would have passed through Linden before Sparta. Chaney told the officer that he drove to Linden Lure and watched two fisherman for a while and then fell asleep. He claims that when he woke up around 7:00 or 7:30 p.m. and started home, he turned south by mistake, so he took 14 Highway south to the city of Ozark, and then caught U.S. 65 north to Springfield.
On April 14, an officer of the Missouri State Water Patrol discovered Michelle’s body off of an undeveloped cul-de-sac near Cape Fair in Stone County, less than a one-hour drive south of Chaney’s house. Timothy Chaney was familiar with the Cape Fair area as he had previously gone camping and fishing there and had a business in a nearby community.
Michelle’s body was partially covered by leaves. Her sweater was rolled up to her neck, exposing her chest. Her jeans were undone and pulled down exposing her pubic area. She had on no undergarments. Her left shoe was missing.
The autopsy revealed that Michelle had suffered several blows to the head and four stab wounds to the right and middle chest area. The pathologist who examined the victim stated the condition of the body was consistent with a body that may have been in the woods since shortly after her disappearance. She died from the stab wounds, which had pierced her heart and lungs. The wounds were round, ice pick type injuries. Her sweater had no holes in it. Scratches on the underside of her body demonstrated that her body had been dragged to the spot after her death. She had bruises on her shins, which suggested that she struggled before her death. She had two bruises on the right side of her neck, which occurred before her death. The contents of her stomach included a few fragments of brownish nut material. Sexual assault tests were performed. There was no injury to her genitalia. There was no evidence of semen or penetration.
Later that day, police officers searched Chaney’s home. Timothy Chaney was advised of his Miranda rights. He told the officer that he and his wife had consumed two pitchers of beer the afternoon of Michelle’s disappearance. He remembered the additional detail that after failing to find access to the river he had passed a cemetery and noticed a headstone with the name of “Holland.” It caught his eye because that was the name of his business partner. He purchased twenty dollars worth of gas with a twenty dollar bill at the station by the cemetery and then continued south. He remembered that there was a young boy floating in an inner tube at Linden Lure. He also remembered that he saw someone being placed in handcuffs by police officers at a gas station in the city of Ozark. On this occasion, Chaney did not mention driving through Sparta or the two fishermen at Linden Lure. The police did not find anyone who remembered seeing Timothy Chaney on April 8 at Lake Springfield, Linden Lure, Ozark, or the gas station near the cemetery.
On April 14, police towed Chaney’s van to the police station, where it was searched and vacuumed for trace evidence. There was standing water underneath the mats in the back of the van, and water in the step wells in the front. There were pieces of peanuts on the floor of the front passenger side.
Later in the afternoon, Timothy Chaney spoke with the Nelsons again about Michelle. He told them he had been at Lake Springfield the night she disappeared. Chaney also expressed concern that Michelle’s hair or something else from her person might be in the van for reasons other than Michelle having been in the van. He stated that, to his knowledge, it had been a year since Michelle had actually been in the van.
On August 22, the police returned to the Chaney residence to conduct a second search of the van. Timothy Chaney asked if he could remove his gray tool box from the van. He was denied permission, and became agitated. An awl-like tool consistent with Michelle’s wounds was found in a tire repair kit in the gray tool box. Various paint samples, carpet fibers, and a hair were also obtained.
Michelle’s clothing was examined for foreign evidence not common to her clothes and not common to the wooded area in which she was found. A forensic scientist found pieces of steel blue rubber, red paint chips with a layer of rust, red-orange paint chips, dark metallic blue automotive paint chips, pieces of paper painted dark blue, turquoise paint chips with a white primer coat, tiny brown iron spheres, metallic shavings, and shreds of foil. Examination of the vacuumings from the back of the van produced identical pieces of material. Molecular testing revealed that each category of material had a common source. Metal shavings found on Michelle’s clothing and in the van vacuumings were of the same elemental composition as samples of metal grindings obtained during a May 13, 1996 search of Chaney’s optical business.
Pieces of glitter, turquoise-colored fibers, what appeared to be black animal hairs, and what appeared to be insect droppings were found on Michelle’s clothing and in the vacuumings from the back of the van, but tests were not conducted to confirm common sources. The state’s forensic analyst testified that Michelle would have had to have been lying down in the back of the van to pick up the amount of material that was found on her clothing. She also testified that the combination of materials found on Michelle’s clothes and vacuumed from the back of the van was so unique that the “likelihood that you would find this pool anywhere else but [the back of the van] is so unlikely it’s astronomical.” The analyst further testified that particles as heavy as the iron spheres and paint chips found on the victim would have tended to fall off if the victim had been up and active after acquiring the particles.
Two head hairs inconsistent with Michelle’s hair were found on her clothes. When compared with Timothy Chaney’s hair, the samples were indistinguishable under a microscope.
Two hairs found in the vacuumings from the back of Chaney’s van were similar in appearance to Michelle’s hair, and were not similar to Chaney’s hair. DNA testing could be performed on these hairs, because scalp tissue was attached to them. That testing was performed and indicated that these hairs were consistent with the genetic profile of the victim and inconsistent with the genetic profile of Timothy Chaney. Less than one half of one percent of the population have the same genetic profile as the victim.
Nightmare Next Door: Wrong Way Home
DOC Id 990132
Offender Name Timothy Chaney
Date of Birth 01/23/1951
Height/Weight 6’2″ / 230
Hair/Eyes Brown /Blue
Assigned Location Southeast Correctional Center
Address 300 East Pedro Simmons Drive, Charleston, MO 63834
Assigned Officer Phone Number (573) 683-4409
Sentence Summary Life W/O Parole
Active Offenses MURDER 1ST DEGREE
Completed Offenses MURDER 1ST DEGREE
Aliases TIM Chaney; Timothy Chaney; Timothy S Chaney
Filed under: crime, Missing/Abducted Children, Monsters Among Us, murder, murder in the 20th Century | Tagged: 1995, child murder, crimes against children, DNA, Michelle Winter, Missing/Abducted Children, Missouri, Mother Superior Edna Cardozo, stabbing |