Those in Texas who know Tyler Deaton as a devout Christian told KCTV5 that they are stunned by the bizarre allegations involving his wife's death.
"It was definitely weird when the details started coming out, when I started reading different articles," Southwestern University student Cody Phelps said. "Definitely strange."
Kansas City area authorities say Tyler Deaton ordered his wife, Bethany, to be killed. Tyler Deaton, who is the spiritual leader of a close-knit religious group in the Kansas City area, has not been charged in connection with his wife's death.
Prosecutors allege that Bethany Deaton's murder Oct. 30 was made to look like a suicide. Micah Moore allegedly confessed to killing the 27-year-old nurse. Moore alleged that Tyler Deaton ordered him to kill Bethany Deaton because he feared she was going to reveal to a therapist that Moore and others had been drugging her and sexually assaulting her for months.
The Deatons met in Texas where both grew up. The International House of Prayer church in Kansas City brought them to this area.
She married Tyler Deaton on Aug. 18 and the couple planned to serve overseas as missionaries. Those who knew Tyler Deaton in Texas said he told them he was training IHOP members for overseas missionary work.
Tyler Deaton spent his teenage years in Robstown, TX, in a rural area. A stone on the doorstep says, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."
A longtime neighbor, who asked to have his identity protected, said Tyler Deaton was raised in a loving, Christian family. He attended Calallen High School in Corpus Christi where he played in the marching band and was in the top 10 in his class.
"He was a bright young man," the neighbor said. "He was your typical teenager. He had lots of friends. He had good grades. He was very smart. I think at one time they were looking at him being an ophthalmologist."
Tyler Deaton attended college at Southwest University, a private Methodist college in Georgetown, TX. He studied political science and worked in the music program at a church. Those who knew him say his desire to be a spiritual leader was sparked while in college.
"He was just excited about it," the neighbor said. "He wanted to be part of something where worshipping and serving God was real and it meant something."
While at Southwestern, he met Bethany Deaton, who graduated with honors in English and Spanish. Moore and others male roommates also attended Southwestern University.
Those who knew Tyler Deaton from his Texas days say they cannot imagine someone so devoted to serving the Lord being involved in violence.
The neighbor said Tyler Deaton was sincerely devoted to serving God.
"I think he has a basic Christian doctrine he goes by and he has moral standards and stuff," the neighbor said. "These allegations would be totally opposite from what I've heard."
Tyler Deaton's parents are in the Kansas City area in support of their son.
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