MIDLOTHIAN — Terri Bevers, a local fitness trainer and mother of three, died as a result of a head wound, according to a search warrant filed by the Midlothian Police Department.
Midlothian police officers obtained a search warrant Monday for Bevers' truck that was parked at the Creekside Church of Christ, where she was found dead Monday morning. Police have been asking for the public's help in identifying a person seen on church surveillance video before and after Bevers arrived at the church.
“Officers on scene viewed the surveillance video and observed a male subject in a police jacket and a helmet walking through the building carrying tools and was shown to be burglarizing this location. It is believed this unknown male used an unknown instrument to cause the death of Terri Bevers at this location,” the affidavit for the search warrant stated.
On Tuesday, a day after the search warrant was obtained, Midlothian Police Chief Carl Smith said investigators had not ruled out the possibility the suspect is female.
At 5 a.m. Monday morning, Midlothian police and EMS personnel were called to the Creekside Church of Christ, located in the 5400 block of east U.S. Highway 287, to respond to an unresponsive woman. Bevers, who was declared dead at the scene, was a fitness instructor with Camp Gladiator and was preparing to host an early morning fitness class.
Police found broken glass as well as other signs of forced entry at the church, Smith said in a previous statement.
The church door and window boarded up after the attack are on the opposite side of church, near the dumpsters, from the main entrance covered by a carport where a grey truck matching the description of Bevers vehicle was parked on Monday during the investigation.
Surveillance video captured Bevers entering the main hallway of the building, but not the attack, Smith said in the previous statement.
Evidence collected from the truck could include financial information, communications, and locations where Bevers or an unknown person may have been, according to the affidavit.
Obtaining a warrant to search the truck is a basic step in the department's investigation, said Nick Harp, administrative sergeant for the Midlothian Police Department.
“It is one of those things on what you would call an investigative check list,” Harp said. “You look for communications, and of course, communications are two-sided, so you start with the side you have.”
Those items of interest were secured in the truck at the scene, according to the affidavit for the search warrant, and the truck was transported to the Midlothian Police Department headquarters as a secure location while the warrant was acquired.
No one attempted to prevent investigators from accessing the items inside the truck, Harp said, but the department requested the warrant to ensure they were erring on the side of caution.
“In this case, we could get the warrant, so you might as well,” he said.
The Midlothian Police Department received the search warrant at 6:25 p.m. Monday and had removed the items on the same day, according to the warrant documents.
Officers seized an iPad and Bevers' personal planner from the truck, according to the warrant return. The affidavit for the search warrant listed receipts, writings, personal notes, credit cards, identifying information, bank statements or other electronic devices as items that could have been found in the vehicle.
Judge Bob Carroll of the 40th district court of Ellis County issued the warrant.
The department is receiving assistance from multiple other agencies, a common practice during a large investigation like this, Harp said. One of those agencies was the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives who brought a dog trained to detect explosives, gunshot residue and fire arms to examine the church and surrounding area, he said.
Investigators have also been visiting many local businesses to review security footage including the SWFA Outdoors store that sells fire arms and is the closest business to the church, Harp said.
“There is nothing to that except it's proximity,” he emphasized.
The department does not have any new information to release about the investigation at this point, Harp said. Anyone with information related the case should call Ellis County Crime Stoppers at 972-937-7297.
“I understand there are many unanswered questions. We continue to keep the investigation as our top priority and are working as diligently as we can,” assistant Midlothian Police Chief Kevin Johnson said in a statement sent out early Thursday morning.
Contact Bethany Kurtz at 469-517-1450 or email email@example.com. Follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BethanyKurtzMidloMirror or on Twitter @bethmidlomirror.