Woman was murdered to cover sexual assaults, authorities allege
Nov 11, 2012 (Menafn - The Kansas City Star - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --Bethany Ann Deaton's death was supposed to look like a suicide.
Sheriff's deputies found her body inside a van at Longview Lake on Oct. 30. There was a note and an empty pill bottle, and over her head was a white plastic bag.
Now prosecutors say the 27-year-old woman was murdered to keep her from revealing a history of sexual assaults on her by several people living under one Grandview roof.
Micah Moore, 23, of Kansas City, was charged Saturday with first-degree murder.
According to court documents, Moore met with a detective on Friday, 10 days after Deaton's body was found, and said, "I killed her." He said he had feared that Deaton was going to tell her therapist about assaults that had occurred over the previous few months.
The statement said Moore admitted that he was with Deaton at Longview Lake and that he "placed a bag over her head and held it there until her body shook."
Moore and several witnesses whose names were redacted from court documents told investigators that they had been roommates with Bethany Deaton and her husband, Tyler Deaton, in the 7300 block of East 122nd Street. They described a household where Tyler Deaton served as the "spiritual leader" of a "community."
One witness said he believed Tyler Deaton was attempting to make the witness a member of "their sexual group," the detective's statement said.
Another of the witnesses, according to the statement, described "Deaton's behavior ... as 'angry' (and) 'frustrated'" in the weeks before Bethany Deaton's death and said Tyler Deaton had told him three days after her body was found that "he had a dream that he had killed his wife by suffocating her."
Attempts to reach Tyler Deaton on Saturday night were unsuccessful.
Moore said he was told to kill Bethany Deaton by a person who said "he knew Micah had it in him to do it." That person's name was redacted in the detective's statement.
No one other than Moore has been charged in the case, but the Jackson County prosecutor's office statement noted that the case is under investigation.
Moore is charged only with murder, though the detective's statement said that Moore had admitted to a pastor, Shelley Hundley, that he had committed sexual assaults.
Hundley, who is a member of the executive team at the International House of Prayer in south Kansas City, declined to comment Saturday night.
According to court documents, Hundley said that she had talked with Moore at the Grandview Police Department and that he had admitted the sexual assaults. He told her they were recorded on his tablet computer, which was in a backpack in his apartment in the 11100 block of College Avenue. Also on the tablet were poems the assailants had written about the assaults, he said.
Neighbors on the same block as the Grandview house said more than a dozen Jackson County Sheriff's Department vehicles converged on the house around 6 p.m. Friday. They witnessed at least one person being taken away, apparently in handcuffs. Investigators searching the house also carried out computers, they said.
Jackson County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Ronda Montgomery confirmed that a person was taken into custody and questioned. The person was released but remains a person of interest, she said.
In the past, 15 cars or more, many with Texas license plates, would crowd the street once or twice a week and the house would fill with people, mostly men, said Terra Lindsey, 32.
"My kids asked why there were so many people in the house and they told them they did Bible study," she said.
When deputies were dispatched to a shelter house at Longview Lake shortly before 10 p.m. Oct. 30, they found Bethany Deaton's body in the back seat of a van. A small notepad on the console of the van had an apparent suicide note:
"My name is Bethany Deaton. I chose this evil thing. I did it because I wouldn't be a real person and what is the point of living if it is too late for that? I wish I had chosen differently a long time ago. I knew it all and refused to listen. Maybe Jesus will still save me."
An empty 100-count bottle of acetaminophen PM was in a cup holder, and an unopened bottle was on the van console.
Her body was sent to her family in Texas. The funeral was Tuesday.
An online obituary described her as a "precious jewel" who was "a lover of books, writing, nature, deep conversations, dance, worship and, most of all, Jesus."
She studied English and Spanish and graduated magna cum laude from Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, in 2005, the obituary states. She moved to Kansas City to be an intern at the International House of Prayer.
She earned a nursing degree in August 2012 and married Tyler Deaton on Aug. 18. They planned to serve overseas as missionaries.
"Even as we celebrate Bethany's life, we deeply grieve our loss," the obituary said. "We pray that God will help us understand the many unanswered questions that continue to be investigated."
The Star's Judy Thomas contributed to this report. To reach Joe Robertson, call 816-234-4789 or send email to email@example.com.
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