An alleged pedophile may have faked his own drowning.
After a late summer fishing trip on the Snake River in Washington, Stryder Starfyre and another man headed for home. With night approaching, they were worried about getting back before dark. As the boat sped across the water, Starfyre reached for a beer from an ice chest. The boat’s driver heard his dog yelp, and when he turned around, Starfyre was gone. He was never seen again.
The apparent accidental drowning of Stryder Starfyre has been in question ever since. It wasn’t long before investigators learned that Starfyre actually had a good reason to disappear.
Starfyre was a family man. He, his wife, and their two young children lived in the small town of Roseburg, Oregon. In the early 1990s, the 14 year-old daughter of a family friend often spent time with them. We’ll call her Lisa.
Lisa had grown up without a father and she became like a second daughter to Starfyre and his wife. Those who spent any time with Starfyre would usually fall under the spell of his incredible charm. He told romantic tales about his exploits while serving with Special Forces in Vietnam, spying for the CIA, or fighting alongside the Irish Republican Army. Mary Beth Havel is Starfyre’s ex-wife:
Starfyre also claimed he was the last surviving member of a Scottish clan and was the sole heir to its fortunes. As Lisa grew up, she spent more and more time with the Starfyre family. And Starfyre always made himself available to her. According to Mary Beth:
But according to Lisa, those feelings of trust and security were destroyed one night in the Starfyre home:
After making his advance, Starfyre allegedly seduced and then had sex with Lisa. For more than a year, the traumatized teenager didn’t reveal what had happened. Lisa said that the secrecy took a heavy toll:
Starfyre’s behavior became more blatant in other ways. One day, he brought home an unexpected guest. He introduced her as his new business partner. According to his ex-wife, Mary Beth:
His wife was shocked when Starfyre proposed that she welcome this woman into their home as his second wife. That was the last straw. Within weeks, she filed for divorce. But it was not until after their divorce was final that Starfyre’s ex-wife learned the true depth of his lies and deceit. Lisa left a note saying she was running away with her boyfriend. She also revealed the dark secret she’d been keeping all these years. Mary Beth said she received a call from Lisa’s stepfather:
Lisa returned home the following day, but Starfyre’s ex-wife said she was still grappling with the disturbing revelation:
Stryder Starfyre was formally charged with felony rape and sexual assault. Then, authorities learned from Lisa that there might be more secrets to uncover in the Starfyre home. According to Detective Dean Perske of the Oregon State Police:
Years earlier, a girl we’ll call Debbie, had often babysat for the Starfyre children. This victim was in the ninth grade at the time she was first seduced by Starfyre. Debbie told police that Starfyre had won her trust with fantastic tales and promises to make her his princess:
Although Starfyre was arrested, he was later released without bail to wait for his trial. Just ten days before that trial was due to begin, Starfyre apparently fell overboard and vanished. According to Sergeant Patrick Kelley of the Whitman County Sheriff’s Department:
Did Stryder Starfyre stage his own disappearance? When police examined the boat, it was dry and didn’t appear to have been in the water that day. All the fishing gear on board was clean and neatly stowed away. Inside Starfyre’s pick-up they found a fishing license in the name of “Daniel Chafe”, which turned out to be Starfyre’s real name. Police also learned that others knew Stryder Starfyre as “Curtis Jacoby.” According to Det. Perske:
Daniel Chafe AKA Stryder Styarfyr AKA Curtis Jacoby managed to elude authorities for 15 years before he was finally captured in Montana. Chafe was wanted on several charges of rape and sexual abuse of minors. Chafe pled guilty to four of the charges, and after plea bargaining, was sentenced to five and one-half years in prison.