The Case of Aleah Beckerle



I know that I have been slacking as of late in my effort to blog. There is never an issue of having enough cases, my list topples over 1,000, but there is often an issue of finding one to grab my attention and that is never so true as it has been today which is leading me to do something I have never done. First, I rarely compile a blog on a case that has not seen the inside of a courtroom unless it is deemed to be an extreme cold case that has never been solved, until now. Secondly, instead of researching this case first and making notes, I am basically winging this one and will do searches for specific places and dates. This latter part will be easy for me because I have followed the case through the news and social sites since it began. I could probably tell you this case inside and out, or at least the opinion of myself and many others in my community. This will definitely be a blog that eventually I will have to come back to and update which is why I try to avoid unfinished cases but this has been one that I have sat on, just itching to blog about for a year and a half. The man accused in this case was scheduled to go on trial in January of 2018 but it has since been pushed back to May of 2018 and I would not be a bit surprised to see it go beyond that time.

I am sure that my community is not unique in the fact that when someone is arrested and their face is plastered on the local news or social Internet sites it seems that the old adage “Innocent until proven guilty” is out the window. When it is an especially heinous crime, or one involving a child, it is even worse. Everyone is ready for an old fashioned lynching. In my over forty years on this earth, I have lived all over the state of Indiana, from top to bottom, but it is here, in the Evansville area that I have seen the most cases in which have ended in acquittals. Now, I am sure that there are a variety of reasons for that, but it still seems odd to me. To be fair, I spent my childhood and many of my young adult years in Indianapolis, the largest and arguably the most violent city in the state, and while several years were spent in smaller communities, my true crime passion was growing by the minute so it was not like I was immune to crime issues in areas close to me. Sometimes I believe many of the acquittals here have obviously come from a rush to judgment, not just by the community but by prosecutors and law enforcement. I also believe that some of them likely come from the quick trials that seem to be conducted. By quick I mean not just in the fact that from open to close most murder trials seem to last two to three days, but also in time wise. It is very common for someone to be arrested and on trial within six months. Now, I am not going to tell you that every case I hear about on the news ends in an acquittal because that would not be true, the city gets their fair share of convictions too, but it is the acquittals that seem to stand out.

The difference in this case is that there is an overwhelming sense in the community that the person arrested, and awaiting trial, in this case is at the very least not the only person involved and many believe may be completely innocent and taking the fall for others. The man even made a confession which is or was the supposed basis for his arrest but from all that is publicly known about the case there is serious doubt that his confession is legitimate. I am unsure that a trial will change the opinion of anyone in the community. But, let us get on with the story and see what the readers think.

On the morning of July 17, 2016 police in Evansville Indiana received a 911 call stating that nineteen year old Aleah Beckerle was missing from her home. Many times the report of a nineteen year old missing is not immediately alarming, but this case was different. Aleah was nineteen in years only. Aleah had been physically and mentally disabled since she was an infant. It is unclear, at least to the general public, exactly what it was she suffered from as she was always simply described as “disabled” when talked about in the press. It has been said that she suffered from seizures as an infant and it led to a cerebral palsy like condition. This may not be the official diagnosis but it gives an idea to the limitations Aleah had. The family talked a few times to the public but sentiment quickly got to the point in which the community took their comments with a grain of salt. She could not walk and could do little more than make noises to indicate any emotion. Pictures circulated in the news and on the web of her holding and drinking out of a “sippy cup.” So again, this was not your average missing nineteen year old.

It was obvious from the beginning that if events had occurred as the family had expressed them to be, Aleah had been removed from the home by someone and carried in some fashion. Her wheelchair as well as required medications, at least one to prevent seizures, were left behind. If Aleah was removed from the house alive there was little hope that she would stay that way. Time was of the essence and for investigators to get facts was essential. The initial, and apparently official report, was that on the evening of July 15th family members had helped put Aleah to bed as her mother, Cara, had recently come home after being in the hospital. This was to be the first night that Cara and her two teenage daughters were to be left alone to care for Aleah since her return home. Cara would be sleeping downstairs on the couch, just outside Aleah's room. One of her sisters (yes, because they are children I am not purposely naming either of them), who apparently did not lived full time in Cara's home slept upstairs, while her youngest sister is said to have started her night downstairs with her mother but sometime in the middle of the night she too went upstairs. The last known and reported sighting of Aleah from someone not inside the home was around nine that evening. She was reported missing nearly twelve hours later.

So, officially on the night of her disappearance in the home on the west side of town were Aleah, Cara, her two other daughters and the family dog. According to those inside they had heard nothing throughout the night, not even a bark from the dog. The fact that the dog allegedly did not bark seemed to be odd to those in the community. For those of us who have read or studied enough true crime we know that often indicates that the person who had removed Aleah had to be someone the dog knew. The family expressed that they did not necessarily believe this to be true, claiming that the dog is not a “barker,” however that did not ring true to not just the community at large but even those outside the family that knew the dog and had heard it bark often.

Law enforcement would swarm the home and by at least public accounts would claim the home was treated like any other crime scene. They would announce there seemed to be no forced entry into the home although Cara would later give an interview disputing this claiming that there was a shoe print on her bathroom tub leading to window above. None of the windows in the home were very large windows to begin with and while a small person could have possibly gotten in through one, going out would have been much more difficult considering they would have been carrying a person, who, whether alive or dead when they left the home, was “dead weight” due to her condition. Coming in this bathroom window would seem illogical considering the height of the window and assuming that it would have to be accessed from the ground outside. It would be a much more logical window to leave the home if the “intruder” would have left alone and not carrying Aleah. Law enforcement would claim they had not only not found forced entry but nothing seemed to be disturbed or missing.... except Aleah, nor had they allegedly found fingerprints. There have been varied reports both by the news and by Cara herself that one of the doors may have been unlocked or that her keys may have been taken at some point so the intruder locked the door behind them. Neither of these scenarios have apparently been proven.

Almost from day one public sentiment was that something was not right with this story. How could someone get into a home and remove a completely immobile young girl without a dog making a noise or anyone in the home, especially the mother, just outside the room hearing anything. To be fair, for her part Cara has stated that she was on pain medication that night that had all but put her in a deep sleep. Her supporters accepted this reasoning while others have claimed that if she was in such a deep sleep Aleah could have just as easily had a seizure or another medical emergency during the night and not received care. The point they have made is that, with Aleah's needs (and she did apparently have the ability to “moan” or “cry out” when she needed something), someone more responsible and apparently well, needed to be in the home that night. Keep in mind that Aleah could not get up and go to the bathroom on her own, or at all. This all seemed to be okay and normal or at the least satisfactory for those around Aleah. Others have argued this alone could have constituted neglect. All of this has led to speculation that it was possible that Aleah did in fact have a medical emergency in the middle of the night and died as a result of it. If this theory were true then this would mean that at the very least her mother, and likely others removed her body from the home prior to the police being called. But again, keep in mind this is speculation and theory.

Cara has her supporters of course who claim she played no role in the disappearance of her daughter or placed her daughter in a position or lifestyle that created this situation. But, the overwhelming consensus among the community is that at the very least Aleah was neglected and surrounded by people involved in drugs and violent activities and that the one responsible for that was her mother. One of the first things that came out was that exactly one month prior to her disappearance an ex boyfriend of Cara's, and the father of one of her children, had “shot” at her house. It was said that a stray bullet from that shooting had narrowly missed Aleah. DeMarco Roach was well known the local police and while many news outlets would proclaim him to be Aleah's father at the time of her disappearance this was not true. As for Aleah's biological father it was said that while he lived in a town nearby neither he or his family were involved in her life. Multiple people involved with Cara, whether it be friends, family or men she had been involved with have criminal records, mainly involving drugs. Several years prior Cara herself had been charged with neglect pertaining to Aleah but it is uncertain as to what ever came of those charges. At any given time it seems that at least one person (and often there are more) related to or associated with Cara is calling the county jail their home. There seemed to many suspects to look into initially. However, many of those were cleared fairly quickly since there is few alibi's that are more solid than the fact that you are already in a jail cell at the time of her disappearance.

About a week after Aleah disappeared there was a suspicious fire at a vacant house near the Beckerle home. Over the last several years there have been several arson fires to vacant homes that seem to be in an abundance in the area. This one was seemingly different because law enforcement received a tip that it may have been a home in which Aleah had been taken to. The tip turned out to be false and nothing was found. In August, almost a month after her disappearance the case took another turn. The complete details are a bit sketchy but the long and short of things is that apparently a cousin of Cara's, her girlfriend and a friend of theirs were involved in the beating of a man who they were able to tape a coerced confession from. Despite his beating police talked him and determined that the confession was false and that he was not involved in Aleah's disappearance. The three people involved with the beating were charged and eventually served either short jail terms or continued confinement on home detention. But, this brought a whole new round of speculation and a ton of questions. Were the people involved in the beating know more than they were telling? Did they truly believe the man they beat was involved? And, if so, what had led them to believe this? Or... had they beaten him solely to get a false confession from him to get the heat off the family?

Over the next several months there would be a few sparks of interest by law enforcement here and there. There were at least two searches in approximately the same area after police were given tips. One time there reportedly bones found but they were later discovered to be animal bones. The FBI got involved at some point and a landfill was searched in the next county over. That search lasted nearly three weeks but allegedly nothing was found. EquuSearch (a chapter out of Ohio) even came early on to search areas although it was speculated or later said that they were limited in their search, being told not search particular areas (some rather close to the Beckerle home) due to high crime areas. Again, nothing was found and things would go quiet officially once again even if social media kept the story alive.

Nothing in this case seemed to be very easy or I should say without sketchy details, not from the beginning or to the present time, and that included the situation in which Aleah Beckerle was found. And while even when things seemed to be quiet Aleah never seemed to be far from everyone's mind.

On Monday March 27, 2017 an abandoned home, just a few miles from the Beckerle home started seeing a lot of police activity. Nothing was stated officially as officers were in and out of the home but as with every search that had been conducted in and around town people began to speculate that this search had something to do with Aleah's case. For the next approximately 36 hours officers were either there around the clock or guarding the home until more investigators could arrive. With all of the activity from news outlets as well as those in the neighborhood investigators could not really hide the fact that they had found a body inside, especially when the coroner was called to the scene. Even still it would not be until Wednesday March 29th when it would officially be released that the body found inside belonged to Aleah Beckerle. No other details were released then, or since, about any evidence found in the autopsy, including the cause or manner of death. It has been speculated that Aleah had a shunt placed in her body which would have had a serial number listed and that identification would have been fairly easy using that. However, at least through the first few months after her disappearance it had been extremely hot and humid here. We are in what is called The Ohio Valley and summers here are very hot and muggy. To add to this, her body had been found apparently under clothing, a mattress and other items so decomposition was likely extreme. There was also mention from the very beginning that there was a strong bleach smell in the area indicating some clean up had been done.

Officially investigators were saying that they were sent to the home based on a tip that had been called in. There had been a few rewards offered in the case and it did not take long before a woman named Cathy Murray started talking to the press about her discovery. But, remember when I said nothing in this case was simple and unmarred? Well, according to Cathy Murray she was going through abandoned homes searching for items to sell. Yes, you heard that correctly. While supposedly in this home on Saturday night (some two days before the search) and apparently looking through the home.... in the dark, using only a flashlight and digging through the area, moving things she had stumbled across the body that while she would say was unrecognizable in one breath but in the next state she knew was Aleah. But, Cathy Murray did not all 911 immediately, nor did she call them ever. In some versions of her story just after finding the body her boyfriend called her, and in other versions she called her boyfriend. If the call in fact happened at all many believe it was he calling her and some even believe it was prearranged. See, Cathy Murray's boyfriend was sitting in the county jail on drug charges (not his first time) so it would be virtually impossible for her to call him. It also seemed too coincidental that she would stumble across a body and suddenly get a phone call. But hey, that is what they said happened. The boyfriend was the one who ultimately would inform investigators and many believe this occurred for two reasons.... one so Cathy could get some credit and get the nearly $10,000 that was being offered in rewards, and two, so he could maybe make some sort of deal in his own cases. Oh, and did I forget to mention that the boyfriend was a cousin to DeMarco Roach? You know, the man all but posing as Aleah's father, who had shot up the house a month before she disappeared. And then there was the issue that a local company had put up $7,500 of the reward money (she would receive another $2,000 later), and Cathy Murray's sister, who was friends with at least both Cara and her teenage daughter on Facebook, long before Aleah disappeared worked for this company. Yes, sometimes going through this story then.... and now... gives one a headache. No one it seems in the press, or publicly through law enforcement seemed to question her story or her admitted criminal trespassing but that did not stop social media from talking or doing their own investigation. Cathy Murray discussed that she was homeless while doing interviews but even those allegation were brought into question as her stories seemed to change, just like everyone else in this story.

I was in more than one group on Facebook dedicated to this story and there were several different posts early on about things that were said or found out, long before law enforcement began talking. Before it was determined for a fact that the body inside the home was Aleah one poster in one of the groups stated they were near the scene and stated they overheard a man stating he hoped his stepson was not involved and mentioned that his stepson was a stepbrother to Aleah. To be fair, even I wondered if this statement were true. It just seemed to be too unreal. Then it was soon learned that the vacant home in which Aleah was found (although in fairness law enforcement still had not officially announced it) was not only a home on a list to be demolished in coming months but had once been occupied by the mother of DeMarco Roach. DeMarco's ex-wife and the mother of at least his twenty-four year old son, Terrence, had lived in the home next door with her husband. Terrence's mother and stepfather were separated at the time of the discovery but his stepfather did still live in the home. So now everyone was asking.... was the stepfather the man who had made the comments on the street the day of the discovery?

On Friday March 31, 2017 the Evansville police department announced a special press conference. At this conference they announced to the public that not only had they arrested Terrence Roach for the murder of Aleah Beckerle but that he had given a full confession. They gave a few details of his confession and proclaimed that his confession went with the evidence they had in the case. Let's start with the fact that the news conference was conducted at about 5:15 in the evening. According to their story they had approached Terrence around noon that day and asked him to come to the police station about 2:30 or 3. According to officials he was compliant and yet, from that time until the time in which they announced they were having the press conference he had confessed, apparently in writing, and was still being booked in the jail and they were not only certain they “had their man” but that he was the only person involved. So... what was Terrence's story?

According to what police say Terrence claimed in his confession, he had been using the drug K2 and it “just popped in his head” to go and abduct Aleah. He claimed to have driven to her home, climbed in her bedroom window, took her out this same window to his vehicle, that was said in the interview to be a truck and at some point had sexually assaulted her both before and after her death. So how did she die? That was a bit unclear. It was also unclear as to whether her death was supposedly accidental or whether he had purposely done so in order to prevent being caught.

One of the first questioned asked by the public was why was Terrence never mentioned by anyone? Family had done interviews with the press and mentioned people or even eluded to people and after his arrest everyone stated they were surprised. Secondly, and more importantly the question arose why law enforcement never spoke to him (they admitted this). He was a close member of the family. While Cara and Terrence's father DeMarco never married they had been a couple for over a decade, at least off and on, and there was evidence that Terrence had been like a member of the family. In fact, only later was it mentioned by some family members that he had been at Cara's home the day before she disappeared. Then there was the issue that sometime after Aleah's disappearance but months before she was found the police had been called to one of Terrence's brothers homes when it was alleged Terrence had broken in by climbing through a window. Law enforcement knew who he was. Why had they not spoken to him?

Then there was the issue of Terrence's size. He is fairly small guy, although no one seemed to think he was small enough to get through the very narrow window he claimed to have used to get into the home. But, even if he had been able to get in the window the next question was how was this small person supposed to get a person who was all but “dead weight” out that same narrow window and allegedly disturb nothing and making no noise, while he's also allegedly high on drugs. His sister has publicly stated she has seen her brother while on K2 and that he was unable to function so she did not believe the story. She has also stated that Terrence did not, nor has he owned a truck as stated in his supposed confession.

Within a few days law enforcement realized that their explanation as to what had allegedly happened was not sitting well with the community. They knew there was criticism of the department and the investigators in charge in the quick way they seemingly settled this case, and they also knew that most of those in the community believe that Aleah's mother was either involved, knows more than she has said, or at the very least was complicit in not protecting her. Law enforcement came out and publicly as that the community stop supposed, reported harassing of the family. As I said in the beginning of this blog this was one of those rare cases in which they arrested Terrence and instead of everyone jumping on the bandwagon and condemning him, a lot of people have question if he was involved at all and few believed he was involved to the point in which his supposed confession. To add to this there has been reports that Terrence may have a mental disability, hence, he may have been more easily influence to possibly help in some manner or even convinced that he would never be convicted due to his disability. Whether either of those are true is complete speculation as of now. Most of the records pertaining to ANY evidence in this case has been sealed, as was the autopsy report. Terrence was quickly represented by a local attorney and even months after Terrence was arrested his attorney had to file with the court to compel the prosecutors to release evidence. He has conducted interviews with the local news stations stating that nothing is adding up in this case and has publicly stated he did not believe the confession made. But in all fairness Terrence has been in jail since April of 2017, some nine months now, and apparently has not told any other story than the one initially reported. As of now Terrence is scheduled to go on trial in May.

There has been a question among those on social media if Terrence would benefit from a change of venue considering the amount of interest there has been in this case. In a normal case I would say yes, the trial should be moved, but this is far from a normal case. I actually believe Terrence may benefit from having his trial here in Evansville simply because there are so many questions about that confession and the things that happened.

Oh and please do not think that the arrest and confession, as well as the upcoming trial is the end of shady things in this case. The trial was initially scheduled to start January 8th. On November 26th it was still assumed at that point that the trial would commence. At 3:30 in the morning on that day the city proceeded to return to the home in which Aleah was found and demolished the home. Keep in mind the home had already been on a list of abandoned properties. A property company owned the home but had stopped paying taxed on it sometime in 2016 it seems. In June of 2017, after the discovery of Aleah, the county obtained the home that had become a makeshift memorial to the young girl. At some point the county had allegedly had the home on a list to be demolished sometime in December but claimed that good weather enabled them to do it soon. There was a lot of talk once again in the community about this for a few reason. One, with the abundance of abandoned homes in the city, and knowing a trial was expected to begin in just over a month, why would they choose to tear it down just yet. It would seem that leaving the home in tact, or how it was at the time would be beneficial to both the prosecution as well as the defense. I would possibly agree about the timing had it already been stated that the trial would not be happening in January, but not at that time. Then there were the reports by neighbors that demolition began at such an early time that morning, as if the county was trying to rid themselves of this mark. Just a few days later curiously after all the months that had gone by a section in the newspaper called “For the Record” listed Aleah's death. It did not give any information, but again, odd timing with the upcoming trial. The defense asked for the continuance that was granted allegedly simply for more time to prepare but who knows if these two things also played a role in their decision.

So after Cathy Murray was trying to be portrayed as the hero of this story, although few seemed to buy this, and proclaimed to get her life, and the life of her children in order, by July she was arrested on drug charges. It had been alleged that she had already been accused of shoplifting long before then making many believe that she no longer had any of the nearly $10,000 she had received just a few months earlier. She made bail on her charges but then what do you know? She failed to appear and was arrested again. When she was caught she twice gave officers a false name AND she was found in a stolen car. She has since served time on the misdemeanors she faced for false informing but remains in the county jail on the theft charges as well as the previous drug charges. She may be out again by the time someone looks her up but then again if you see her do not be surprised if it is a new charge. Oh and by the way, her boyfriend may have gotten a deal on his situation but not sure it was much of one. It seems that he got to get released for a short time until his case went back to court and I believe he may have simply got a violation of probation sentence as opposed to having the new charges. Regardless he remains incarcerated until I believe at least 2020.

Oh and do not think that all of this had changed anything about how not only Cara Beckerle lives her life but how she cares for her children. Soon after Aleah's disappearance and long before she was found it was already alleged that her then teenage daughter was “roaming the street” at all hours. This did not help the community in the feelings toward Cara, that is for sure. It is true that the community has been hard on her as most believe that she created a world for Aleah in which drugs, violence and criminal activity was the norm. At least for the community's sake Aleah could not have engaged in that activity. She was a complete victim. The same cannot be said about others however. That being said the community will report her every move the chance so in December when she was caught in the middle of the night at the local casino and a small bag of meth fell out of her pocket she made her way right back into the news.

Few, aside from authorities (at least publicly) believe this case is anywhere close to being over. There will be a trial, absent some sort of plea deal which has not been mentioned but no one should ever totally discount. Whether Terrence Roach will be convicted will be anyone's guess. Much it seems will depend on if the alleged confession is admitted into court and just how much the jury believes it. But, convicted or acquitted it is likely that most of the community will not see it as justice being completely served for Aleah.

The overwhelming idea is that she never left her home alive. Nor do many believe that she remained in the house in which she was found the entire time. The idea that Terrence Roach did all of this on a “whim” and alone does not mesh with most people. Some believe he is completely innocent while other believe that he was likely involved after the fact. But no matter how you cut it or look at it few will argue that Aleah had a good life and little has to do with her disability in making that decision. There has obviously been many other reports and rumors about her life before her disappearance that I have not stated here. There were reports by people who had allegedly cared for her when she attended a day school. There were reports from others in the community who saw and or knew first hand the things going on in the home and in her life.


It has been asked where the adults were in Aleah's life to protect her. Well, most of the adults in her own life seemed to have their own issues, legal and otherwise. But the family itself seemed to then, as well as continue to rally around Cara and appear from the outside to protect her more than they do the children. My husband comes from a family like this. His mother has mental issues and his stepfather was involved in drug dealing. Each side of the family protected their own or did for their own and it appears that if the kids involved benefited, then so be it, if they did not, then so be that too. With this mentality it leaves it to the children to try to break the cycle eventually. Some can and do, some do not or will not. Only time will tell if this cycle continues and more tragedy ensues.

I promise to return to update this at the very least if and when there is a resolution to the case.

Update:  Terrence Roach went on trial in May of 2018.  After a four day trial and 11 hours of deliberation the jury came back with their verdict.  He was acquitted on the charges related to murder, kidnapping and burglary.  He was found guilty on charges related to abuse of a corpse and criminal confinement.  The defense was able to show that the original investigation showed that there was no forced entry into the home and that the events described in Roach's confession could not be proven or even allegedly even done.  Roach is set to be sentenced in July of 2018.


After the verdict there was much outrage, not by the citizens, except for the family, that is, but by the police department.  Terrence Roach's attorney made a statement showing his dismay because it appeared that after the verdict was read the police department attempted to release information and dispute the verdict.  Much like the OJ.  Simpson trial and the Casey Anthony trial the authorities have said that as far as they are concerned the case is closed because Roach was responsible.  Despite public outrage and pleas to have the family investigated they have refused.

Comments

  1. so sad but sooo true but thats ok cause KRAMA IS A BITCH

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Rebecca Simpson

Matthew Heikkila

The Quinn Hanna Gray Kidnapping