Murder In A Church: The Brutal Killing of Missy Bevers

At 3:50 AM on Monday, April 18, 2016, surveillance footage captured an unknown individual breaking into the Creekside Church of Christ in Midlothian, Texas, and creeping through the closed building.

Creekside Church

Creekside Church in Midlothian, TX

Dressed in head-to-toe, faux SWAT gear, the supposed burglar proceeded to wander throughout the halls.  He or she carried a hammer in their left hand.  The unknown individual “clad in tactical gear, wearing a black helmet, and vest with ‘POLICE’ on it” appeared in eerie contrast to the humble community church surroundings.

Walking through the empty church in a disturbingly-casual way, the unidentified person opened doors, checked locks, and nonchalantly broke the occasional window.  Authorities estimate that this person is between 5’2″ and 5’7″ tall, but the intruder’s identity, and even gender, is hopelessly obscured.

Missy Bevers Murder 1

The Church Creeper

Surveillance video from that morning also shows 45-year-old, fitness instructor and mother of three, Terri “Missy” Bevers, arriving at and entering the church around 4:20 AM.

Missy had arrived early to set-up for a 5:00 AM exercise class which she instructed.   In the video, the burglar is seen shortly before Missy arrives, but then disappears off-screen.  However, Missy and the masked individual will, unfortunately, cross paths that morning in the darkened church.

Missy Bevers Victim

Missy Bevers

At 5:06 AM,  one of Missy’s students frantically called 911 after discovering that she had been brutally attack.  Described as unresponsive and having “puncture wounds to her head and chest,” the beautiful fitness coach had been bludgeoned to death.

Authorities soon released references to “ongoing financial and marital struggle” within the Bevers household.  Search warrants revealed police allegations of “flirtatious and familiar” messages sent between Missy and an unnamed individual.

Public opinion focused harshly upon Missy’s husband and his family.  However, after almost a year of investigation, no arrests have been made.  Police have emphasized that Missy’s family is not a “focus of the investigation,” and that they are now examining her murder as “an untargeted type of hit.”

The information released to the public has ultimately served to create more questions than answers.  Why was the assailant dressed in POLICE tactical gear?  Why such a specific, all-out disguise for a 3 AM prowler?  Was he or she aware of the surveillance cameras?  Was he or she there to kill Missy?  And, what does the video show about the unknown assailant?

Most importantly, WHO murdered Missy Bevers and why?  Did the murderer break-in with the intention of harming Missy specifically?  Or were they just there to burgle the church?  Did the killer have an intimate knowledge of Missy’s schedule?  Could social media have provided important details to the murderer?

Or, was Missy’s murder simply a clandestine circumstance of being in the wrong place at the wrong time?  Is there any possibility that this horrific murder could have been untargeted?


 

Cat & Mouse Videos

The surveillance video from the church was quickly released for public dissemination.  With such clear visual evidence of the assailant, it seemed that the perpetrator would be quickly recognized and apprehended.

Though extensive video evidence exists from that night, the suspect’s attire has complicated identification.  Police were quick to emphasize that “the gear obscures the face and even the person’s gender.”

However, police, and the general community at large, have all also made particular note of the fact that the assailant displays a “distinctive walk.”  In one released affidavit, police even described the gait as “caused by an injury to his or her right leg or foot.”  Some observers have theorized that the individual was wearing boots intentionally sized “too big, as they look odd.”

The surveillance video can be viewed in full below:

Missy Bevers Murder 6The unidentified person is first shown walking out into a dim hallway.  The intruder slowly walks further out of the camera’s view, dragging their right hand (or something in their right hand) down the wall.

It is noteworthy that the individual does not seem to spend any significant amount of time checking or listening for potential employees or other people.

The camera then cuts to another view where the masked individual is shown confidently opening a door.  He or she steps behind the door, disappears, and then returns to view after a bit.

At this point, something, resembling either a hammer or a mallet, can be more clearly seen in the individual’s right hand.

Missy Bevers Murder 2

The person then attempts to open a different, locked door.  He or she coolly proceeds to focus on working the door open, using tools produced from their tactical gear.  After a couple unsuccessful attempts, the individual reorganizes items in their tactical wear (taking their sweet time in doing so), and then calmly walks off.

Now, observably holding the hammer/mallet in their left hand, the masked assailant opens the lower, and then upper, portions of a set of dutch doors, leaving them widely spread.

He or she steps inside the door frame for a split moment, and then, immediately resumes walking down the hall.  After a bit, the assailant turns back towards the camera and enters a recessed area.  Video then shows the individual nonchalantly swinging the hammer/mallet a few times at something, presumably a door or window off-screen.

It is quite obvious that the person has an objective; however, he or she never obviously attempts to steal anything in the camera footage.  

The person also seems incredibly unaffected by success or failure.  He or she appears most focused on breaking glass and opening doors, instead of actually finding items of value or creating significant damage.  Though the masked individual does (or attempts) to open multiple doors, they also eventually abandon each door/room within moments.

There is no hurried affect in the person’s movements or mannerisms.  In fact, the individual appears almost too casual- perhaps, even, familiar and comfortable in the environment.  He or she loiters around slowly fumbling with the pockets on their chest or while swinging their hands at their sides in an almost relaxed way.

In addition, the intruder dispassionately yields their hammer/mallet without what an overwhelming amount of force.  The tool is seemingly handled more like a prop than a weapon.  This unidentified prowler is either the most confident and casual, yet remarkably inefficient, burglar ever, OR they are obviously attempting to create the appearance of a burglary.

Police also released parking lot footage “from SWFA Outdoors… a couple of hours before Missy Bevers’ murder.”  The video shows a light-colored Nissan Altima circling the lot and, at one point, turning its headlights off and on.

Missy Bevers Parking Lot

In a photo of the vehicle, released by police, there appears to be a distinctive sticker on the bumper.

Though interested in interviewing the individual, authorities have stated that they “do not think [the car is] tied to Missy’s murder.”

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Unusual Burglary

Authorities determined after investigation that, though the intruder was initially suspected of being a petty thief, “nothing from the church appears missing.”  The suspect seems to have utilized “a pry bar to smash a window and enter through a side door.”

Initially, Missy’s husband, Brandon Bevers, did not “believe his wife knew her killer.”

However, after further investigation, by May 2016, Brandon was adamant that Missy’s death was not the result of crossing paths with a random burglar.

Missy Bevers and Brandon Bevers

Brandon and Missy Bevers

Brandon publicly declared the following in an interview with People Magazine:

“I still think whoever this person was knew my wife and had a motive…. There’s no doubt about it.”

In one news report, a Fort Worth professor and former police chief also commented:

“There has to be some link between her death and people in her past.  This person intended to do exactly what they did – when they did it – and whom they did it to.”

The murder certainly appears to have been more targeted than random and, in large part, due to the chilling surveillance video.  However, authorities have been adamant that none of the “several family members, friends, and coworkers” named in search warrants “are suspects in the case.”


 

Dangerous Social Media

Missy Bevers worked “as a fitness trainer for Camp Gladiator, a national fitness movement appearing in churches, parking lots and football fields across North Texas.”  One relative described Missy as focused on “[working] very hard not only for her fitness, but to help other people get the lifestyle they needed, wanted.”

Missy Bevers Twitter Murder

After an unfortunate weather report for the morning of April 18, Missy, like any good fitness coach, posted an upbeat and inspirational comment to students on her social media:

“If it’s raining we’re still training.”

Unfortunately, her extensive social media presence has also led some to question the danger in “[sharing] information and [not realizing] the potential consequences.”  According to news reports, Missy had “hundreds of Facebook friends but left her posts on the popular social network open to the public — including more than 1,400 photos and videos.”  Could the attractive fitness instructor’s posts have made her vulnerable?Bevers Murder Church

Search warrants detail that Missy had shown a friend “creepy and strange” LinkedIn messages “from a man neither of them knew” only “three days prior” to her murder.

Authorities also mentioned in an affidavit that Missy had shared LinkedIn messages with an unnamed acquaintance.  The messages were were described as “flirtatious and familiar.”  In these publicly-released documents, authorities also mentioned “intimate” messages and phone records which suggested “intimate/personal relationship(s) external to the marriage.”


 

Alibis Ignored

Midlothian Murder Missy BeversIf Missy had in fact been targeted by her murderer, it is logical to assume that the assailant had detailed knowledge of her schedule.  Even if a random stalker had learned of her intentions through social media, they would not have had any guarantee that she’d be the first to arrive at Creekside Church, or that she’d definitely arrive alone.

Allegations regarding marital issues and potential affairs have led many to publicly speculate about the potential involvement of Missy’s husband of 20 years, Brandon, and his family.

In particular, many people have pointed out that Brandon’s father, Randy Bevers, has a similar posture and gait to the suspect in the surveillance video.

However, authorities have adamantly claimed that “neither [Brandon] nor his father is suspected of killing Missy.”  Both men have iron-clad, out-of-state alibis which have been “corroborated through independent sources.”  According to reports, Randy “was traveling in California and [Brandon] was fishing in Mississippi when the murder occurred.”

The legitimacy of the mens’ alibis have failed to thwart armchair detectives from detailed theories proposing that Missy’s death was at the hands of “a jealous husband” and his “enraged father.”  Some media outlets have slammed public speculation surrounding the murder.  Critics of the web-sleuthing community have described internet commentators as “[discussing] and [debating] guilt or innocence as if they’re playing a game of Clue.”

Randy and Brandon Bevers

Brandon & Randy Bevers [Source: CBSDFW]

An article cites Deborah Halber, author of The Skeleton Crew, How Amateur Sleuths Are Solving America’s Coldest Cases– a book about web sleuthing, identification methodology, forensic crowdsourcing, and “the issue of the unidentified in the American medicolegal system.”

The author remarked:

“Some detectives appreciate [web sleuth] efforts, and others wish that they would not get involved.  Law enforcement generally agrees across the board that web sleuths should not get involved in a real investigation.  It’s one thing to be online and looking for clues and in that case the police welcomes the public eyes.  But going further is frowned upon.  It’s obviously dangerous, and they can’t advocate anybody putting themselves in danger.”

Meanwhile, Assistant Police Chief, Kevin Johnson, has also commented:

“[Web sleuths] need to remember that these are people with families…

Just because we’re following up on a tip and talking with someone doesn’t mean they’re guilty.”

He went on to say that Missy’s family is “not a focus of the investigation. And that’s not double-talk; it’s very much not. But one thing I will not say is that anybody is eliminated. I want to stop short on that.”

Though authorities have received over 1,300 tips, they believe that the “majority of them were not based in fact but speculation.”


 

A Missing Light

Missy Bevers Killed

Described as a small town girl, Missy Bevers was a beacon to those that knew her and “made a tremendous impact on the lives of many.”  Sadly, it seems that Missy has quickly become a flat character in her own story.

In the shadow of the still-at-large killer, scandalous speculation surrounding the assailant’s identity, allegations of intimate messages and marital strife, theories about oversharing, and debates over armchair sleuthing, Missy- the murder victim, is rarely presented as multi-dimensional.

It is difficult, and heartbreaking, to fathom what Missy’s opinion may have been of the intense dialogue surrounding her death.Missy Bevers Murder Victim

After the tragedy, her friends and family have elected to “celebrate what she did while she was alive” instead of focusing on her death.  To honor her love of children and exercise, a 5K run benefitting the Boys and Girls Club was organized in Missy’s memory.  According to reports, “organizers were able to raise more than $13,000 in just a few hours.”

One of Missy’s co-workers, described their loss accordingly:

“Her passion lives on. Her life lives on. There are many in our group that still do a certain type of burpee in her honor. She made such a difference in the lives of those she touched.”

Missy’s mother-in-law worries that Missy’s children “know a little bit about the rumors that their mom had been unfaithful.”

She further described the difficult situation by saying:

“It’s almost like having a tarnished memory.  I hate that I have a tarnished memory, and I don’t want them to have a tarnished memory…

I guess I don’t believe in closure.  This changed our lives forever, so it’s too big to be closed. But all I want to get out of it is some peace. And some justice.”

Missy Bevers Murder Camp Gladiator

Who killed Missy Bevers?

If you have any information regarding the murder of Missy Bevers, the unidentified individual in the video footage, or the night of April 18, 2016, please do not hesitate to call the Midlothian Police at 972-775-7624.

 

 

 

 

 

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