It has been three years since Terri “Missy” Bevers was murdered inside of a Midlothian church – and Midlothian Police continue to seek answers related to her death.
In a media release issued Thursday on the third anniversary of her murder, Midlothian Police released a more-precise height of the murderer and additional insight into the investigation.
The murder occurred shortly after 5 a.m. on April 18, 2016, as Bevers was preparing to lead a “boot camp” style class at Creekside Church of Christ in Midlothian, to a previous Daily Light report.
Before the murder, the suspect is seen on video footage walking inside the church wearing police tactical gear and using a screwdriver or pry bar to open doors inside the church. Police found broken glass on the floor and discovered other signs of forced entry during the investigation of the crime scene.
The individual was wearing what appeared to be a helmet, a heavy vest with the word “Police” on the front and back, pants, gloves, and shinguards. The surveillance videos were motion trigger and did not capture the assault nor all of the moments inside the building. The external cameras were not functioning at the time.
Midlothian Police Capt. John D. Spann stated in the Thursday release that most of the department's tips had been related to the suspect’s walk. However, it’s possible the suspect may no longer exhibit this walk or gait if an injury or a temporary condition caused it.
The suspect appears to stand approximately 5-foot-8, which could be off by 1.53 inches in either direction, the newest MPD release notes.
“Since the beginning, finding justice for Missy has been our number one priority,” Spann stated. “We will do that by following the evidence wherever it may lead us.”
According to Spann, investigators have received over 2,000 tips for the case and are still receiving multiple weekly tips from all across the country.
Leading the investigation is Midlothian Police Sgt. Andy Vaughn, who took over from the original investigator, Cpl. Cody Moon, following Moon's transfer back to the patrol division.
“I guess over the last few months I would say that we are averaging about 10 tips a week, easy. Those are the ones that are coming back to me — email, phone calls, and crime stoppers (calls). You name it,” Vaughn told the Daily Light in December. “I still have some that we haven’t even got to yet. The tips are coming from out of state and some local. I had a gentleman from Australia call me and left a voicemail.”
One particular item still of interest to investigators is a vehicle that slowly circled SWFA Outdoors in Midlothian well after the business closed for the night and just hours before the murder was committed. The driver turned the lights off and on again multiple times and parked for a brief period before exiting the parking lot.
Investigators now believe that vehicle to be a 2010-2012 Nissan Altima, 2010-2012 Infiniti G37 or a similar vehicle.
The newest MPD release also notes that a firearm was recovered from the murder scene. However, it was not used during the crime and was located inside Bever's vehicle.
“There has been substantial assumption about this case as it continues to receive nationwide attention,” Spann stated. “Please know that we will continue to thoughtfully protect the release of information about Missy’s murder so long as this case remains open. To do otherwise would be irresponsible and simply poor police work.”
Investigators have consulted with multiple law enforcement agencies and forensic experts on this case. They’ve also presented the case to multiple homicide investigators associations for review – however, no new substantial investigative work was generated due to these presentations.
Since retired-Midlothian assistant police chief Kevin Johnson previously told the Daily Light that the department had consulted several investigators with other agencies to provide their expertise.
"The first time we had homicide investigators, experienced homicide guys from Fort Worth and Dallas. We spent about eight hours and briefed the whole case,” Johnson previously stated. “We also went out to Austin. It was several months after this first presentation and presented to a cold case group that is hosted by the Texas Sheriff’s Association. That was about a four-hour presentation that we gave them. Everybody from medical examiners to Texas Rangers to homicide guys, judges, trace evidence specialists, and a physiologist was present.”
Vaughn previously disclosed to the Daily Light that the department presented the case to members of the Southeastern Homicide Investigators Association, who asked insightful questions and made suggestions.
The department has also looked at using DNA to help create a composite of the suspect.
“The little bit of physical evidence that we had we actually sent to a private lab," Johnson stated previously. "We sent it to them specifically because they were involved in that technology and the ability to do [DNA analysis]. The problem was the quality of the sample we sent was not sufficient. They needed more of a complete profile and what we had was a partial and mixed profile.”
Spann stated Thursday that the murder would likely be solved through continued consultation with the public, adding that the public could have the missing piece that would solve Bevers’ murder.
“Sometimes, members of our community have information of some value but do not come forward with the information because of concerns that it may not be important or deemed as a waste of time,” Spann stated. “It is our sincere belief that this murder will be solved through collaboration with the public. We believe that somebody who has not yet come forward may have that vital piece of information that to this date unknowingly is being withheld.”
Anyone with information related to the case can send an anonymous tip by texting MIDL and your tip to 847411 or call Crime Stoppers of Ellis County at 972-937-PAYS.
You can also submit an anonymous tip to the Department’s Facebook or Twitter directly at @MidlothianTXPD, or call the department directly at 972-775-3333.