GRANDVIEW, Mo. - Carol and Eric Leidlein were expecting our call. In fact, they had expected Kansas City media outlets to call sooner because of the details surrounding their daughter’s death.
Last week, the investigation into what seemed to be a suicide quickly turned criminal in Grandview. All along, the Leidleins held onto the memories of their daughter’s exuberance for life and her faith in God.
Bethany Deaton, the Leidlein’s daughter, was found dead in the rear seat of a van on Oct. 30. Her body was accompanied by a note that read, “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 save me.”
The note, along with several bottles of pills, made detectives point to suicide. But on Friday, one of Deaton's roommates confessed that he killed her. Micah Moore was charged Saturday with first-degree murder.
RELATED | Man charged with murder made to look like suicide http://tinyurl.com/cddshus
Carol Leidlein said her grief surpasses all words. She had her husband shared a prepared statement:
"We are deeply grieving the loss of our beautiful and innocent daughter. We are shocked and horrified by the information now coming forth. The betrayal, the subtle and increasing manipulation, and the brutal victimization which occurred is beyond tragic. We pray for the truth to be revealed. While it is important to understand how Bethany died, it is even more important to understand how she lived. Because of the ongoing investigation, we do not have any further comment at this time."
“We’d appreciate prayers as well,” the Leidleins added.
When asked about their daughter’s life, the Leidleins pointed to the Wade Family Funeral Home webpage in Arlington, Texas.
The obituary describes Bethany Deaton as a good student, who graduated top of her class from Southwestern University and earned a Bachelors of Science degree in nursing after she arrived in Kansas City. She married Tyler Deaton in mid-August of 2012. The two were both involved in the International House of Prayer (IHOP) and were studying to become international missionaries.
41 Action News was unable to reach Tyler Deaton on Monday after contacting him through his social media websites. He has a series of blogs posts that focus on religious teachings.
The confessed killer in this case told detectives he killed Bethany Deaton because he feared she would tell police about recent sexual assaults.
According to court documents, Moore said he was in a “community” where a handful of male roommates would sexually assault Bethany Deaton. This group was described as “religious” in nature. The documents go on to say that Moore claims Tyler Deaton was the religious leader of their “community.” Everyone else followed his lead.
READ | Probable cause statement: http://tinyurl.com/ajuq9uh
It’s unclear if Tyler Deaton was being questioned by police Monday, but all of the roommates have been questioned since Moore's confession Friday.
According to a school spokesperson, Moore was a student at IHOPU but not a member of the church.
Allen Hood, president of IHOPU, released the following statement Monday night:
The International House of Prayer University (IHOPU) faculty was saddened by the tragic death of Bethany Leidlein Deaton on October 30. Bethany had attended a 6-month internship at IHOPU in 2009 and went on to become a registered nurse working in a local hospital.
On November 10, we were shocked when the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office notified us that an IHOPU student by the name of Micah Moore, a man who knew Bethany since their college days in Texas, had been charged with her murder.
Since Bethany’s death it has come to light that over 5 years ago, both she and Mr. Moore joined an independent, close-knit, religious group in Georgetown, Texas. This religious group of fewer than 20 people was led by Tyler Deaton. They relocated to Kansas City over the last few years and operated under a veil of secrecy.
This group has always operated independently of the university and it is important to all of us that this group’s secrecy and disturbing religious practices are fully exposed.
Mr. Deaton led his religious group entirely independently from IHOPU, though he and some of his members were enrolled in our university.
We have been working closely with the local authorities in their ongoing investigation into Bethany’s death. We continue to fully assist all law enforcement agencies in their efforts to uncover the extent and specifics of this horrific crime.
We are currently taking all necessary steps to minister to our students and ensure their safety and wellbeing. As an educational institution built around the priority of prayer, we ask everyone to please join us in praying for Bethany’s family and friends and everyone affected by her tragic and untimely death.