Success Stories

Marcella "Marci" Cheri Bachman

Marcella Bachman disappeared in 1984 at the age of sixteen. Marcella was a teenage runaway who began her journey from Vancouver, Washington where she caught a ride with a long-haul driver and after an argument with the driver, was left standing in East Missoula, Montana.

Marcella ended up at a bar in Missoula catching the attention of Wayne Nance, a serial killer. Wayne offered her a place to stay where she kept busy with household chores. In late September of 1984, Marcella and Nance took a walk in the woods stopping at a shallow grave. There, Wayne Nance shot her in the head three times and buried her in the awaiting grave.

On Christmas Eve of 1984 a nature photographer spotted decaying human remains in the Deer Creek area a couple of miles from East Missoula. Another set of remains was found upon examination of the area. Both sets of remains could not be identified and were given the names of "Debbie Deer Creek" and "Christie Crystal Creek". The remains were collected by the Medical Examiner's office where the difficult process of identification continued over the next two decades.

Fast forward to the year 2004, where upon learning of the program funded through the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), Captain Greg Hintz and Undersheriff Larry Weatherman of the Missoula County Sheriff's Office submitted one of the femur's from the remains of Debbie Deer Creek to the UNT, Center for Human Identification.

The following year, Detective Raphael Crenshaw of King County Sheriff's Department, located in Washington, was investigating the serial killings of the Green River Killer, Gary Ridgway. While investigating these killings he came across the Marcella Bauchman file and began working it. He was able to track down Marcella's mother, Beverly Charlton, who confirmed that Marcella was still missing. Detective Crenshaw gathered DNA samples from Charlton and submitted them to the UNT, Center for Human Identification.

The samples from these two different cases were worked during the next several months and during a routine search of the database, a "cold hit" was made. Both agencies were notified of the match in April of 2006.

Wayne Nance was killed on September 4, 1986 during a botched murder attempt of a Missoula couple. A sample of Christie Crystal Creek has been sent to the UNT, Center for Human Identification in hopes that a name can be given to her as well. During a press conference in Missoula, Larry Weatherman talked of making the identification saying that "It's one of the most important things law enforcement can do. It brings closure."