The strange case of Tyler Deaton and the tragic death of his wife Bethany continues to be examined from the angle that the young newlywed was a leader of a sexual, religious group. The International House of Prayer (IHOP) condemned the young man's group with its alleged "secretive, perverse, cultic practices." An article posted Saturday night in the Kansas City Star delved deeper into the life of the charismatic leader before he came to Missouri.
* Deaton, 26, is accused of telling Micah Moore, 23, to kill his wife Bethany, 27. The woman's body was found in a van Oct. 30. Ten days later, Moore confessed to killing Bethany and is charged with first-degree murder. Deaton has yet to be charged with any crime.
* Deaton and Moore are allegedly part of a group of young men who engaged in sexual acts with each other and with Bethany before she died. The origins of the group go back to college days in Texas.
* The Star article reveals the young man graduated from Southwestern University in May 2009. Several others of his group graduated at the same time and moved to the Kansas City area to be a part of the International House of Prayer.
* Southwestern University is a small, liberal arts school with ties to the Methodist Church. When Deaton felt campus organizations didn't live up to his standards, he formed his own prayer group. One person told the media outlet the young man "had this awesome singing voice."
* Another person who knew Deaton in college related comments by the charismatic leader about the Holy Spirit. "God glorified in your having fun," was one tenet of his beliefs. Yet another was the immorality of homosexuality. Some former members of his college group said the young man struggled with his own homosexuality yet he "overcame it" after a "struggle."
* One article from Southwestern University quoted Deaton as a sophomore in February 2007 when he helped build a Habitat for Humanity house. He commented, "The tears I've seen and the huge smiles on the children's faces makes me think that this is worth so much more than $50,000 and hundreds of hours of work."
* In 2008, even before graduation, Deaton and his independent group loved the International House of Prayer for its music ministry and constant prayer vigils.
* The International House of Prayer issued a second statement on Deaton's relationship with the organization, this time with more details. The religious group claims the young man's name was "erroneously" added to a listing of small groups affiliated with the movement.
* IHOP believes Deaton tried to "promote his own agenda" when he "facilitated a breakout discussion of seven or eight people" in October. The International House of Prayer claims a volunteer "mistakenly" labeled the widower as a divisional coordinator.
* An individual spoke to IHOP's leadership in mid-June about Deaton's "manipulative behavior." The organization now says it "regrets" believing the situation was resolved when the issue was brought up again in mid-October.
* On Oct. 26, four days before Bethany's death, Deaton finalized paperwork to raise financial support for a self-funded mission through the IHOP. The young man never received those funds.
* Leaders at IHOP also "deeply regret our failure to discern the nature of Deaton's alleged secretive, perverse, cultic practices. We further regret his admission to IHOPU four years ago and all connection he had with our organization."
* One mother interviewed by the Star says her son became part of close-knit group three years ago. She hasn't heard from her child since.
William Browning, a lifelong Missouri resident, writes about local and state issues for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. Born in St. Louis, Browning earned his bachelor's degree in English from the University of Missouri. He currently resides in Branson.
- Religion & Beliefs
- Society & Culture
- International House of Prayer
- Southwestern University