A student at the International House of Prayer University, who was also participating in an outside “religious community,” has confessed to the murder of a former IHOPU intern, whose death was initially ruled a suicide.
Bethany Deaton, a 27-year-old nurse, died on Oct. 30, in what Jackson County, Mo., officials said appeared to be a suicide. However, 23-year-old Micah Moore, of Kansas City, Mo., reportedly confessed Friday to suffocating her.
Moore lived with Deaton, her husband and other men, county prosecutors said. According to a probable cause statement, Moore told a detective he and the other men in the home, including Deaton's husband, had been drugging and sexually assaulting her for months.
The statement claimed witnesses called this a “religious community” where they had sex with each other, and Deaton's husband, Tyler Deaton, was the spiritual leader.
Bethany Deaton attended a six-month internship at IHOPU in 2009. University President Allen Hood said some of the members of the group were enrolled there, but said, “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.”
Hood said Deaton and Moore joined an “independent, close-knit, religious group in Georgetown, Texas,” led by Tyler Deaton. “They relocated to Kansas City over the last few years and operated under a veil of secrecy,” he added.
The university pledged to completely cooperate with law officials and said it is taking steps to minister to students.
“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,” Hood's statement says.
“We are currently taking all necessary steps to minister to our students and ensure their safety and well being,” he continued. “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 all affected by her tragic and untimely death.”
Bethany Deaton's father released a statement Monday in regards to the new details about her death.
“We are deeply grieving the loss of our beautiful and innocent daughter,” the statement said. “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.”
Fox4News reports that the family is getting a lot of prayers from the IHOP-KC community.
“That’s the response you’ll get from 98 percent of this community, is keep praying,” Aj Haste told the news station. Haste, who has friends on staff with IHOP, said he sometimes attends services there.
Tyler Deaton has not been charged with any wrongdoing in connection with his wife's death. Moore was charged Saturday with first-degree murder. He is being held on a $500,000 cash bond, and is expected to be arraigned Tuesday.