In 2007, 42-year-old pregnant Rhoni Reuter, who was the girlfriend of former Chicago Bears player Shaun Gayle, was found dead on her kitchen floor. Because there was no forced entry, police started looking at those close to her, including boyfriend Shaun. Divorced mother-of-three Marni Yang was convicted of murdering Rhoni and her unborn daughter Skyler in 2011. Now, ten years later, Marni Yang’s attorney is fighting to free his client on the grounds that forensics evidence on the body does not support that Marni is the murderer.
On tonight’s episode of 20/20 title “The Sins of the Father,” sisters Erin DeRoche and Kati Reynolds retell the traumatic story of how their father almost got away with murdering their mother Christina Karlsen and brother Levi Karlsen for insurance money.
Cary Stayner experienced a huge amount of trauma and loss in his life before he became a serial killer at Yosemite State Park in 1999. The tragic events of his life do not excuse his behavior, but they served as formative experiences that potentially shaped his frame of mind.
Cary was only 11-years-old when his 7-year-old brother Steven was kidnapped by a pedophile. Steven returned to the family seven years after that, forever changed. He was heralded as a hero for saving another young boy from a similar experience, and then suddenly died in a traffic accident at age 24. The year after Steven’s death, Cary’s uncle, who he was living with at the time, and who had allegedly molested him, was murdered.
On December 4, 1972, 7-year-old Steven Stayner was walking home from school in Merced, California when he was abducted by two men who worked at Yosemite Lodge. After over seven years of abuse Stayner was able to escape and also rescue a new victim: 5-year-old Timothy White. In 1999, Steven’s older brother Cary became a serial killer and who murdered four women while working at the Cedar Lodge motel in El Portal, California, near Yosemite Park.