A young Arlington woman is dead and her husband along with several other members of her secretive prayer group are suspected of raping her, then killing her and trying to make it look like a suicide.
Though the death at first looked like a suicide, Micah Moore, a friend and fellow prayer group member of Deaton's, confessed Friday to murdering her. He claims he acted on the orders of Tyler Deaton, Bethany's husband of a mere ten weeks. Tyler Deaton reportedly feared Bethany was about to tell her therapist that Tyler had been drugging her and forcing her to have sex with his friends as part of their religious activities.
The assailants allegedly recorded their sexual assaults of Bethany Deaton on an iPad, and then wrote poems about the rapes.
In his confession, Moore told police that the charismatic, energetic and domineering Tyler Deaton had sex with his male followers as well. The Deatons lived with four other men; three have said they had sex with Tyler and the fourth claims to feel that he was being groomed.
Most in the group are native Texans and graduates of Southwestern University in Georgetown. The group apparently reportedly followed Tyler Deaton en masse from Texas to Missouri to attend a Kansas City institution called the International House of Prayer University, an evangelical missionary training school.
Neighbors of the Deatons recalled seeing their street fill with cars with Texas plates. Most of the cars were driven by men; few women were seen going in the house to attend what was passed off to neighbors as "Bible study" meetings.
A spokesman for IHOPU acknowledged that the Texans were students, but disavowed their clique as "an independent, close-knit group" that operated "under a veil of secrecy."
While Moore has confessed, Tyler Deaton remains merely under investigation by Kansas City authorities. In one detective's report, an unnamed source told police that Tyler had been "angry" and "frustrated" in the weeks leading up to Bethany's death, and even said he had a dream that he suffocated her.
Moore claims that Tyler asked him to kill Bethany because "he knew Micah had it in him to do it," court documents state.
When Bethany's body was found, there was a plastic bag over her head. An empty bottle of acetaminophen was in the van's console, along with what seemed to be a suicide note:
"My name is Bethany Deaton," it read. "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."
According to her obituary, Bethany Deaton recently graduated from nursing school and planned to accompany her husband on a mission trip soon. The Star-Telegram noted that it had touched on her life twice when she was growing up; they had featured her twice in stories about the benefits of home-schooling.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
On his Facebook page, first among Tyler Deaton's favorite quotes is this passage from the Book of Isaiah.
"See, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare!...a new song!...I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?!? For a long time I have held my peace, I have kept still. Now I will cry out!"
So far, only Moore has cried out. He has been charged with first-degree murder.
Kansas City cops are asking for more witnesses to come forth.