A man serving a life sentence in connection with the 2013 disappearance and murder of a Salina woman has died. According to Kansas Department of Corrections records, 30-year-old Joel Heil died on Sunday.
Back in 2014 Heil plead guilty to charges that include first degree murder and attempted robbery charges. He was serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for 25 years.
The case revolved around the disappearance and murder of Kristin Tyler. She disappeared on April 25th of 2013. Her body was discovered on May 9th, just west of Salina on Stimmel Road below Interstate 135. Numerous law enforcement officers had been searching the area, and a sheriff deputy on patrol made the discovery.
At his sentencing in 2014, Heil spoke, choking back tears at times, as he read a statement. He took responsibility, and apologized, saying he didn’t feel like he could ask for forgiveness then, but maybe someday. He said that he is not a monster, that he’s not a “bad guy with a bad heart”, but rather that methamphetamine turned him into a monster. Heil said that every night when he closes his eyes he sees Tyler He concluded “If I could give her life back I would. I stole a mother, a daughter, a future, and dreams. I stole a life”.
During the sentencing the Tyler family said they forgave Heil. Tyler’s mother said that there were many who lost in this case, saying “it wasn’t just Kristen who lost, you lost, Dane lost, and Megan lost”. Dane and Megan referred to Dane DeWeese and Megan Wells, who both also were charged in the case.
She added “you have made it easy for us to forgive you, and God has forgiven you.” She challenged Heil to be a survivor of methamphetamine, to put his faith in God to read the bible, and to take one day at a time. She thanked him for coming forward and giving the family closure and a chance to heal.
Illegal drugs, primarily methamphetamine, was a key factor in the case. Everyone involved was connected to one another by drug use.