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Searching For Missing Persons

5 Key Players In The Investigation Of Nancy Moyer’s Disappearance

Nancy Moyer, a 36-year-old mother of two, vanished from her home in Tenino, Washington, in 2009. 

By Benjamin H. Smith

Tenino, Washington is a small town 75 miles south of Seattle, with a population of just over 1,500. It was there on March 6, 2009, that 36-year-old mother of two Nancy Moyer disappeared, seemingly without a trace.  

From all appearances, Moyer led a typical life, leaving her loved ones to question how something like this could have happened and who might be responsible. 

In the ensuing decade, Moyer’s case has been re-visited by various law enforcement agencies and media outlets, but not even a $105,000 reward produced any new information. Now, the case is being reexamined in “Searching For,” an original series on Oxygen.com, and at CrowdSolve, an interactive event where attendees and law enforcement experts team up to potentially generate fresh leads and gain new insight.

The podcast “Hide and Seek” also recently took another look at the case, hoping to uncover new evidence. It seemed like a break in the case was imminent in 2019 due to an arrest, but for now, her fate remains a mystery.  

Here is a review of all the key players in the Nancy Moyer case, and how they are connected to her disappearance. 

Nancy Moyer  

Nancy Kareen Moyer may have been physically small — she was only about 5 feet tall and weighed around 115 pounds — but she had a big personality. Sister Sharon Wilbur told ABC 7, a station in Chicago, Illinois, that Nancy was “a social butterfly.” 

"She was always in a good mood," added friend and co-worker Bev Poston.  

Soon after graduating from college, Moyer landed a job as a financial analyst with Washington’s State Department of Ecology, where she worked up until her disappearance.  

While married to her husband, Bill Moyer, Nancy gave birth to two daughters, Samantha and Amanda. The couple separated in 2007 after 10 years of marriage, but they remained on good terms, sharing custody of their daughters, according to NBC News.  

Nancy had the girls during the week, and Bill had them on the weekends.  

On the evening of Friday, March 6, 2009, Nancy carpooled home from work. Later that night, she purchased some items from a store in Tenino, Detective Mickey Hamilton of the Thurston County Sheriff's Office told Oxygen.com

Two days later, Bill brought the girls back to Nancy’s house. Bill noticed the front door was ajar and the lights were on, according to a probable cause affidavit obtained by Oxygen.com. A glass of wine sat on a coffee table in the living room with another glass next to it.  

Det. Hamilton said they fingerprinted both glasses, but no sets aside from Nancy’s were identified. The glasses are currently being tested for DNA, and they are waiting on the results, according to Det. Hamilton. 

Her purse and keys were inside the home, and her car was parked in the driveway.  

Nancy, meanwhile, was nowhere to be found. Also missing was a long brown coat with a fur type lining that she wore frequently was missing from the home, according to a probable cause affidavit. 

After being reported missing by her family, the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office began investigating Nancy’s disappearance, but few leads turned up. Family and friends handed out fliers and offered a $55,000 reward — later increased to $105,000 — for information leading to her return, according to Washington newspaper The Olympian.  

As the years dragged on, Nancy’s disappearance was ruled a no-body homicide, as authorities are fairly certain she is deceased, according to local newspaper The Daily Chronicle.  

Nancy Moyer Searching For

Bill Moyer

Though they had been split up for two years at the time Nancy went missing, the Moyers were still technically married, according to CBS News. Bill Moyer took a polygraph test regarding her disappearance, which he passed, according to Portland, Oregon NBC affiliate KGW8 

Nancy’s family have said they stand by Bill “100 percent,” with Sharon Wilbur adding that police “cleared him early on, and that has not changed,” according to The Olympian. Bill has never been named a suspect in connection with his wife’s disappearance. 

Sam Moyer  

Nancy’s daughter Sam was just 9 years old in 2009 and has spent half her life wondering what happened to her mother.  

“Growing up without a mom sucks, especially when you don’t know where she is,” Sam said at a press conference in 2019. 

Sam told reporters she has “struggled a lot” over the years and is haunted by thoughts of all the things in her life that her mother has missed.  

“She didn’t get to see me graduate, she didn’t get to see my first dance, me drive a car, any of that. I’m 19. It would help so much to find out what happened to her,” Sam said. 

Eric L. Roberts 

On July 9, 2019, Eric Lee Roberts — Nancy’s former neighbor and co-worker — allegedly called 911 to confess to murdering her, according to a probable cause affidavit. “Roberts stated that he killed Nancy Moyer 10 years ago and he felt tired of holding it inside,” read the probable cause affidavit. 

He said Nancy was “gone” and that he did not “think anyone will be able to find her.”  

Roberts lived just a few houses down from the Moyers and worked with Nancy at the Department of Ecology. His nephew, Aaron Huntley, had previously dated Nancy. 

Roberts was first interviewed by police shortly after Nancy’s disappearance, according to the probable cause affidavit. He was asked if he had knowledge of reports that Nancy had met Huntley multiple times at Roberts’ residence late at night. Roberts denied that anyone had met at his home to engage in a sexual relationship. 

After calling 911 on July 9, Roberts met with detectives and gave differing accounts of what happened. The probable cause affidavit said that during the interview, Roberts was “crying, clenching and unclenching his fists, and wringing his hands.” He claimed he and Nancy had a sexual relationship and that she “attacked me and I just reacted,” according to the affidavit. 

He later said that he accidentally strangled Nancy with a scarf during “rough sex,” according to the probable cause affidavit. He said he burned the scarf because it “disgusted” him.  

“It wasn’t supposed to happen,” Roberts allegedly told Thurston County Sheriff's Office investigators. He then led them to a concrete fire pit on his property and said, “I don’t really want to incriminate myself any further, but IF I was going to get rid of a body on my property, it would be right there,” according to the probable cause affidavit.  

The following day, Roberts was arrested on suspicion of second-degree murder. Authorities began their search of Roberts’ property, collecting evidence for testing and using an excavator to dig into a wooded area, reported KIRO 7. During his second interview with law enforcement, Roberts recanted his confession and said he did not know why he told police he killed Nancy, according to the affidavit. 

At a news conference on July 11, Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza said Moyer’s remains had not been found at the property. 

Investigators are continuing to process evidence related to Roberts’ original claims, said Det. Hamilton, and Roberts has been released from custody. The prosecuting attorney’s office “has elected to delay filing any charges related to the homicide investigation until the investigation is complete and all evidence can be fully considered,” according to the sheriff’s office.  

In an interview with “Hide and Seek,” Roberts said he did not “remember” confessing, and that the medication he was taking could have affected his memory. 

“I just have no recollection of that. I don’t know what to think of that … I had nothing to do with her disappearance,” Roberts told host James Baysinger.   

Regarding the scarf that was allegedly used to strangle Moyer, Roberts claimed it “was made up” by authorities and “it never f--king happened.”  

Roberts said he was “appalled and amazed at the lack of evidence and what I was going through.”  

He continues to maintain his innocence in connection to Nancy’s disappearance.  

Bernard K. Howell III

On Aug. 8, 2010, 26-year-old Bernard K. Howell III was pulled over in Tenino, not far from where Nancy was last seen. In the passenger side of his truck was the body of Vanda Boone, 60, wrapped in a sleeping bag, sheet and plastic, according to a probable cause affidavit obtained by Oxygen.com.  

Her throat had been slit; she had blunt force trauma to her head and neck, and she had been asphyxiated, either by strangulation or smothering, reported The Olympian

Howell would later admit to having sex with Boone’s corpse after killing her, according to the probable cause affidavit. Following his arrest, police considered Howell a “person of interest” in Nancy’s disappearance, according to the The Olympian

Howell was a door-to-door meat salesman, and inside Moyer’s freezer, police found the same brand of meat Howell had been selling, said Det. Hamilton. Sam Moyer also picked out Howell in a photo montage as the man who had once sold Nancy meat, said Det. Hamilton. 

In an interview with retired Thurston County Sheriff's Detective David Haller, Howell denied any involvement in Nancy’s murder or ever selling her meat, according to Det. Hamilton.  

To date, no evidence has linked Howell to Nancy’s case, and no further charges have been brought against him.  

In 2011, Howell pleaded guilty to Boone’s murder and was sentenced to 26 years in prison, according to local NBC affiliate KING 5.  

Bernard K Howell Iii Pd

If you have any information regarding Nancy Moyer's case, please contact the Thurston County Sheriff's Office at 360-786-5279.

Register for CrowdSolve, taking place Oct. 17 to 20, 2019 in Seattle, hereFor case updates and to help us dive into these disappearances, join the Searching For Facebook group.