Upper Peninsula Wiki

"I've reflected on it for some time, your honor, in the word of god and in prayer. ...I felt I was influenced by unseen satanic forces at the time of the crimes.".

David Allen Goodreau was a budding serial killer and presumed serial rapist active in the Houghton and Hancock areas.


Portage Canal Carnage

"I attempted to have sexual relations with her but could not, "

"Houghton-(June 26, 1991) A decomposing female body was found by a fisherman in the portage lake canal yesterday. The canal is a waterway that cuts through the Keweenaw Peninsula, with both entry and exit on Lake Superior. Her decaying body had been floating in the waterway for fifteen days. The U.S. Coast Guard recovered her body after a tip from a local fisherman. She was identified as Kathy Nankervis, a L'anse resident and the mother of two young children. She had cerebral palsy and was moderately disabled."

"Houghton-(January 21, 1992) On a frosty winter night in Houghton, the body of Michigan Technological University (MTU) coed Jodi Watts, nineteen, was discovered in the early hours of the morning. Watts had been raped and stabbed in a parking ramp near the Subway restaurant in downtown Houghton. Watts, bloody and near death, managed to crawl in the snow 160 feet to a nearby street where a passerby on a bike discovered her. The biker covered her partially clad body and then reported the incident to police. When the police arrived, Watts was still alive, but she died shortly after being transferred to the Portage View Hospital."

He never drank or smoked. He raised two delightful children and faithfully attended church. He had a job that helped others, and he had amiable chats with neighbors. But David Allen Goodreau had everybody fooled- he was a killer; he would secretly kill and then kill again. Kathy Nankervis and Jodi Watts were victims of the mild-mannered and unassuming David Goodreau, a federal employee working for the Social Security Administration and caring father from Houghton. He hardly looked or even acted like a serial rapist or killer. A spiritual man, Goodreau, and his wife attended the Calvary Baptist Church and he played softball in the church league. He had been employed by the state since 1978, and he was one of two field workers in the Houghton County area.


In 1973, Goodreau from Houghton High School, where he was an honors student and excelled in basketball and golf. He then attended Michigan Technological University (MTU), where he obtained a baccalaureate degree in forestry. Shortly after graduation, he married and left the area. He held jobs in Aurora, Illinois, and in downstate Michigan before returning to the Upper Peninsula.

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"Worried and afraid that my actions would be discovered, I held her head underwater until she drowned."

But Goodreau had a dark side that he hid for years. He buried his demonic nature, but eventually, his sinister side emerged. Kathy Nankervis stood at five feet, two inches tall and weighed 115 pounds. She was a social security recipient, the mother of two children and a client of Goodreau's. He abducted Nankervis from her home on June 12, 1991, after peeking through her window and seeing her sleeping naked on a couch. He entered her house and bound her with duct tape and then took her to the Lily Pond area of the Portage canal. Goodreau said that he drowned her in Lily Pond, but her body resurfaced. He took her out of the water and repeatedly stabbed her, assuming that a release of air in her body would allow her to sink. He did not, however, puncture her stomach, and the gases that it contained later raised her to the surface. Two weeks later, a fisherman discovered her body floating in the canal. When Nankervis was reported missing by her family, authorities were not sure if they had a missing person case, a homicide or a suicide. Friends reported that Nankervis was recently depressed about having two children and little social life. She had cerebral palsy that resulted in slurred speech and an awkward gait. The discovery of her body, however, made it quite clear to the police on what they really had on their hands.

The Lily Pond area of the portage canal where the body of Kathryn Nankervis was found by a fisherman on June 26, 1991.

In January 1992, just seven months after the Nankervis murder, Goodreau struck again. Jodi Watts was an attractive and popular coed on MTU's campus. The former high school track star was studying biology at the university, where her father was an administrator. While jogging in the late night hours on a cold winter evening; Goodreau grabbed Watts near the Houghton municipal parking garage, adjacent to the Subway shop on Sheldon Avenue. He hauled her farther into the garage, where he raped and repeatedly stabbed her. Goodreau suspected that she recognized him, and he knew that he would have to kill her to avoid being caught. Goodreau, if nothing else, had audacity; he murderers Watts within one hundred feet of the police station.

The downtown parking ramp in Houghton where the body of Jodi Watts was found in the early morning hours on January 21, 1992.


This was the second murder in the area within a seven-month period and sent shockwaves through the community. Women in the area began locking their doors, something they hadn't always done before the Watts and Nankervis murders. MTU took quick action in the wake of the Watts slaying. Reluctantly, the university president authorized campus police to carry firearms, feeling it was imperative in order to provide extra security on campus. The community was now on high alert. Grief and shock emanated from the Houghton area with the slaying of Jodi Watts. Pastor of the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church Chris Heavner said, "She was a good person. Bubbly, smiling, didn't let things get her down." Jodi's high school friend Shannon Hanson, after learning of the murder, said, "Jodi did an outstanding job for us, she was great with customers. This is such s terrible tragedy."


Attractive Jodi Watts, a former high school track star and nighttime jogger, was raped and murdered by Goodreau.

  • 1991
    • June 12th, L'anse
      • Kathryn Nankervis (abducted from home, raped, drowned and stabbed repeatedly)
  • 1992
    • January 21st, Houghton
      • Jodi-Lynn Watts (stripped naked, raped and stabbed repeatedly with screwdriver)
    • Unspecified Date, Houghton Michigan
      • Unnamed Woman (intended, but was rescued)