Tuesday, January 4, 2022

The Disappearance and Murder of Heather Szekeres


Heather Szekeres disappeared in Shawano, Wisconsin during the early morning hours of June 22nd, 2013. The then-32 year-old was last seen by family and friends at a local bar called Final Lap. Heather lived just yards away from the bar, in a downtown apartment that she shared with her husband, Rob Szekeres, and their infant daughter. Heather's mother, Laurie Waddell, lived with the couple as well. Laurie was at Final Lap with Heather on the evening of June 21st, but left the bar around 1:00 AM. Heather decided to stay behind. Reports state she was later seen leaving the bar around 2:00 AM--but she unfortunately never made it home. Heather's husband Rob reported her missing two days later. 

The investigation into Heather's disappearance had a slow start. Initially, the Shawano Police made it clear that they believed Heather was voluntarily missing. They cited that it was not unusual for Heather to leave home for periods of time--which is reportedly why her husband waited two days to report her missing. Police reiterated this belief at the six-month mark of Heather's disappearance--despite the fact that there had been absolutely no sign of Heather. After that, the case went cold. Police gave very few updates, and news about Heather's case was scarce. 

In May of 2014, human remains were found in a wooded area behind Peach Road. The remains were located in an area 2.5 miles away from Final Lap, where Heather was last seen. Due to this, many speculated that the remains belonged to her. It took nearly a year for a positive identification, but in April 2015, it was confirmed that the remains did, in fact, belong to Heather Szekeres. An autopsy was unable to determine her exact cause of death, but her manner of death was labeled a homicide.

Heather's loved ones were shocked and inevitably devastated by the news of her death. Many began to criticize the Shawano Police Department for not organizing search parties after Heather was reported missing. Many also began to speculate about who might have been responsible for Heather's death. A closer look into Heather's life around the time of her disappearance reveals a couple different theories.

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In 99.9% of missing persons and murder cases, investigators look into the spouse/significant other of the victim. Heather's case was no exception, even though Shawano Police initially thought that she was voluntarily missing. Just a few weeks after Heather's disappearance, Rob Szekeres posted on Facebook that he had been questioned and had cooperated with police. He also wrote that he, too, believed that Heather had left him. 

Rob Szekeres

Rob also seemingly responded to criticisms that he was not actually looking for his wife. He wrote, "I love my wife dearly and wish she would just come home. I have a very demanding job that I have to keep doing in order to support my daughter. If I could, I'd be home everyday helping everyone with locating my wife but I can't."

Rob remained adamant that he was not a suspect in Heather's case. However, the couple had faced some serious marital struggles in the months leading up to Heather's disappearance. In 2012, the couple separated amidst a pile of financial troubles. In October 2012, Heather sued Rob for child support. Court documents state that they had been separated for months by that point--but by December 2012, they were seemingly back together. 

On December 5th, 2012, Heather called 911 to report Rob for domestic violence. When an officer arrived at their apartment, Heather said that she and Rob were arguing when he grabbed a pillow and struck her in the face with the zipper on the pillowcase. Heather's injuries were minor, but she still decided to press charges. She stated that Rob had been physical with her in the past and she wanted to put an end to it. In January 2013, Rob was given a misdemeanor charge of domestic violence battery and was fined $506. 

By June 2013, it appeared that Rob and Heather's relationship was in a better place. In fact, Heather posted a picture of her and Rob to her Facebook page just hours before she vanished.

Although Rob insisted he had nothing to do with Heather's disappearance, some still speculated that he might know more than he is letting on. Some also felt he did not seem to care that his wife was gone. By the time Heather's body was found in 2014, Rob had relocated to Indiana. In April 2015--the same month that Heather's remains were identified--Rob posted on Facebook that he and his new girlfriend had moved to Michigan. Many found it odd that Rob had moved and seemingly moved on with his life during the time that his wife was believed to be missing. Despite all of this, investigators stated in 2015 that Rob is not a suspect in the case.

Rob with their daughter at Final Lap

Before Heather's disappearance, she and Rob were regular patrons at Final Lap. The bar was owned by a woman named Sheila Davis, and managed by her husband, Darwin Davis. Heather was acquainted with the couple and saw them frequently while at the bar. In December 2012, Darwin was accused of sexually assaulting a 15 year-old girl in the basement of Final Lap. He later pleaded not guilty to sexual assault charges.

Darwin Davis

Heather Szekeres was on the list of potential witnesses who could have been called to testify against Darwin during his trial. With this in mind, it's clear that Darwin could have seen this as a motive to harm Heather. Various reports state that Darwin was out on bond at the time of Heather's disappearance, which gives him opportunity as well. 

When Darwin finally did go to trial, both Rob Szekeres and Heather's mother Laurie ending up testifying against him. Both stated that Darwin admitted to sexually assaulting the teenager. Darwin was ultimately convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison. Many have speculated that Darwin could be responsible for Heather's murder. However, at this time he has not been charged with anything related to Heather's case. Still, he has not been publicly ruled out, either. 

Investigators have told reporters that they have a suspect, but they have not revealed the suspect's identity. It's possible that Darwin is, in fact, their suspect--but this remains unclear. Years have passed without any updates in the case, and no arrests have been made. Heather's murder remains as a classified unsolved case. 

If you have any information that could help the investigation, please contact the Shawano Police Department at (715) 524-4545.

1 comment:

  1. Was the husband not charged with possession of child pornography a few years later??..