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Fall from Grace

Did a young wife commit suicide to be free from a sham marriage or did someone in her husband's alleged religious cult want her dead?

Produced by Chris O'Connell, Lindsey Gutterman and Dena Goldstein

[This story first aired on Feb. 21, 2015. It was updated on Aug. 1.]

KANSAS CITY, Missouri -- For Carol Leidlein, the deep blue eyes of her daughter, Bethany, are a constant reminder of a life lost.

Bethany Leidlein Deaton

"I want people to know that apart from her obvious beauty -- the lilt in her voice and her little laugh and her little mannerisms that just reflected a quiet but deeply caring intelligent very loving person," she told "48 Hours" correspondent Troy Roberts.

The Leidleins raised their five children in a devoutly Christian home in suburban Dallas. They were homeschooled and Bethany, a gifted writer, won a scholarship to Southwestern University near Austin, Texas.

"She went to a university that was diverse," Leidlein explained. "We had talked about the types of people she might run into at Southwestern and it turns out she did!"

That's where Bethany met Tyler Deaton, her future husband, and fell in with a like-minded group of young Christian adults.

"... she just started praying with Tyler and two other people. And they just got together," Leidlein said. "...it started out being once a week. ...And it just took off."

But if this was just the story of a girl going off to college and meeting the love of her life, it would end now. Because what started so innocently on campus, with idealistic love and religious devotion, ended in a tangled web of secrets, deception and eventually ... her mysterious death.

"I didn't think that my heart could beat one more beat or that I could take one more breath," Leidlein said. "We would go to sleep crying and wake up crying."

The story began seven years earlier.

"I get passionate and excited ... but when another person sees someone else get passionate excited and authentic, they're naturally pulled into that," said Tyler Deaton.

Deaton's charisma pulled in Bethany and other students as well. He frequently led intense prayer sessions where they tried to heal the sick and ward off evil spirits.

"Eric and I were aware that they were doing that, and," Leidlein said, "we were in favor of it. We thought that was wonderful, you know, that she had friends that she could share with in that way, share that faith with."

Deaton found an immediate friend in Micah Moore, an intense undergrad from Houston.

"We were both musicians ... and both really loved learning about who God is," said Deaton.

Boze Herrington and Bethany
Boze Herrington and Bethany
Boze Herrington

Another student, Boze Herrington, was brought into the group by Bethany and was also captivated by Deaton.

"I met Tyler his first week of freshman year in 2005," Herrington said. "He seemed really humble, really kind, really selfless, giving person. Someone that you could trust."

And that trust was shared by others very quickly; Tyler became the defacto leader of the group.

"Tyler felt that revival was going to come to Southwestern because we were praying," said Herrington.

"What does that mean?" Roberts asked.

"The more we prayed ... miracles would happen and people would flock to our group," he explained.

"Did Tyler think he was a prophet?" Roberts asked Herrington.

"He thought he was an apostle," he replied.

"What did you think?"

"At the time it seemed reasonable. He was able to explain it in a way that made sense to us," said Herrington.

And Tyler Deaton definitely made sense to Bethany, who believed she had found the man she had always dreamed of. She confided in her lifelong friend, Teryn O'Brien.

"She told me that she had met a really amazing brilliant man who loved God and loved others and wanted to be involved you know in missions and prayer and all of the things she was so passionate about," O'Brien told Roberts. "She was very much over the moon for him."

Tyler Deaton
Tyler Deaton
Boze Herrington

At the same time, Deaton was going through a personal struggle: he believed he was gay. For a long time he tried to repress -- and even tried to change -- his sexuality.

"In the very conservative Christian circles that we were raised in there was ... the belief that homosexuality is a choice and that it can be changed and it can be healed," O'Brien explained. "And she wanted to help heal him."

"To me, being gay ... meant -- you were this, like, messed up, even, like, villainous person," Deaton explained. "You couldn't love God. It was -- it was so -- I didn't identify as gay."

In 2007, Deaton's religious life took a major turn. He decided to focus on mission work, and he went to Kansas City to attend a national convention put on by a church called the International House of Prayer -- known by the acronym IHOP.

"I wanted to go to IHOP," Deaton told Roberts. "I loved the 24/7 prayer and worship. I loved that and so I wanted to go there."

After graduation, they did. Tyler Deaton, Bethany and more than 20 members of the group packed up and moved from Southwestern University to Kansas City to study and pray at IHOP.

Eventually settling in the two houses separated by gender, they called themselves "The Community." They lived together and ate together. They had odd jobs and pooled their money. Bethany went back to school and became a nurse.

"God told Tyler that ... that our group was specially chosen to show the rest of the world what it looked like to live in community, to be really Christian. To be radical," said Herrington.

"And what was that routine," Roberts asked Herrington. "Who established the rules?"

"Tyler did," he replied.

And that wasn't all. Herrington says Deaton told members what to wear, when to eat and even controlled the romantic relationships among their group. If you didn't abide by the rules, there was trouble.

"And what kind of punishment did you receive if you broke these rules?" Roberts asked.

"It varied depending on the person," said Herrington.

"Can you give me an example?"

"There was a girl who was shutting herself off and being antisocial. So they took her bedroom door away," said Herrington.

Herrington says when he questioned Deaton's authority, he was shunned.

"They didn't speak to you at all?"Roberts asked.

"No. Sometimes they would leave notes under the door, maybe once or twice a month," Herrington said. He told Roberts this went on for eight months.


Asked why he stayed, Herrington replied, "I really thought that we had some kind of purpose together. They were my friends."

In 2010, two years after "The Community" moved to Kansas City, Tyler Deaton had a change of heart about his sexuality and he started to have feelings for Bethany.

"She called me up one night and she told me, 'Me and Tyler had this conversation and he sees how much I love him,'" O'Brien said. "He had some kind of epiphany, some kind of moment where he at least thought he was truly healed and felt some kind of attraction for her."

Asked if he was in love with Bethany, Deaton hesitated before telling Roberts, "That's a great question. I loved Bethany."

"But were you in love?" Roberts asked.

"I really genuinely thought that I was in love with her," said Deaton.

After a brief engagement, Bethany and Tyler tied the knot in August 2012.

"On our wedding day, there was this like camaraderie, fun, playful, happy tone," Deaton recalled. "Like, my cheeks hurt from smiling so much."

Tyler and Bethany Deaton on their wedding day
Tyler and Bethany Deaton on their wedding day
Leidlein Family

But on Bethany's special day, her friends and family felt left out.

"We weren't even participants. We were observers to this who almost you know messianic type union taking place," said Leidlein.

"And I remember thinking, she is still beautiful but it's almost this faded, wilted kind of beauty. Like this, this isn't Bethany anymore," said O'Brien.

Teryn O'Brien says she had a premonition that it would be the last time she would see her good friend alive.

"It was almost like I felt like I had completely lost her. And that now that she was married to Tyler she was completely gone," she said.

A TROUBLED MARRIAGE

It's a wedding photo to melt a mother's heart, the newlywed Bethany Deaton about to embark on the journey of a lifetime.

Bethany Deaton on her wedding day
The beautiful bride -- Bethany Deaton on her wedding day
Leidlein Family

"She was radiantly happy. That was her waving goodbye to everybody," Carol Leidlein said of the picture.

Bethany and her new husband, Tyler Deaton, were heading off on a two-week honeymoon in August of 2012. And despite all of her mixed emotions about Deaton, Leidlein was still hopeful for her daughter's new union.

"I was happy for her -- even if I didn't maybe see it," she said. "I still thought ... she's a smart girl ... she's never made a bad decision ever in her life ... So, we trusted that she knew ... what the right thing was."

The right thing for Bethany was starting a family with Deaton -- right away. But when the couple landed in Costa Rica for their honeymoon, she was in for a rude surprise.

"You did not consummate your marriage," Roberts noted to Deaton.

"That's correct. Bethany and I never had sex," he said.

Though the couple believed Deaton was "cured" of his homosexual feelings by prayer, the reality was much different.

"... the delusion was so strong, the -- the avoidance was so strong, and the rationalization was so strong," Deaton told Roberts.

Group member Boze Herrington saw signs that something peculiar was going on between Deaton and other male group members even before the wedding.

"He told us that he had been ... practicing for his honeymoon with another guy but not in a sexual, just a physical way," he said. "And when he explained that in some of the house meetings it seemed very normal."

In fact, Deaton continued to be physically intimate with several of the male group members, including Micah Moore, after the wedding.

"Was he your lover?" Roberts asked Deaton.

"No. That would not be accurate," he replied.

"You didn't have a sexual relationship -"

"Oh, no--"

"-- with him?"

"Yeah, yes. Yes. Yeah, that happened," Deaton admitted.

"And you had a relationship with him while you were married to Bethany," Roberts commented.

"Yes. Yeah," said Deaton.

"Was Bethany aware of this?"

"Not to my knowledge," said Deaton.

While Bethany may have been in the dark about Deaton's adulterous behavior, their troubled marriage -- just weeks into it -- began to take a toll on her.

Asked how the lack of intimacy affected her self-esteem, Deaton told Roberts, "Very negatively."

"Did she threaten divorce?" Roberts asked.

"No. No, she didn't. What she did was way worse," Deaton said. "Bethany's personality blames herself. That's the way she works. She internalizes things. And she internalized it. And I was too freaking stupid and ignorant to recognize what was going on."

At the same time, Bethany was speaking less and less with her family and friends, something that was common in "The Community."

"We were often encouraged not to talk to family members who were holding us back from our full pursuit of the faith," Herrington explained.

"It started to become very obvious that we were ... being cut off," said Leidlein.

Teryn O'Brien recalls how Bethany spoke cryptically about problems with Tyler and the group.

"And she said something like, 'Teryn, if something doesn't change, I don't know what's gonna happen,'" she recalled. "You know, and it was never about Tyler or the group. It was always about her. And she just had this deep almost sort of self-hatred at that point."

About six weeks into the marriage, Deaton says Bethany appeared suicidal.

"She got more and more depressed and upset ... she started saying things like ... 'my soul is -- is ruined.' ... 'I'm just gonna go to hell now. I'm just gonna go to hell,'" Deaton said. "And I remember the very first time she said this stuff, I was like, 'What are you talking about.'"

"We knew absolutely nothing of all this suicidal stuff," Liedlein told Roberts. "We didn't know about ... this deep ... dark depression supposedly that was going on. ...We had no idea."

They also had no idea that Bethany had been briefly admitted to a hospital psychiatric ward. She had expressed thoughts of suicide and Deaton says she threatened to drink windshield washer fluid.

"Did you share that with her family?" Roberts asked Deaton.

"No," he replied.

Asked why not, Deaton said, "She didn't want them to know. That's one of many things I regret ... But she didn't want her parents to know. They should have. They should have."

At the time, even though the marriage was a sham, Tyler Deaton admits he didn't believe Bethany was really suicidal. He thought it was all an act.

"... it was my -- my messed up world view. ...I thought there was no way someone could really just start believing this stuff and have like -- a snap like that," he explained. "I thought that Bethany was doing what she was doing on purpose. I really did."

On Oct. 29, 2012, Deaton held an intense prayer session, in which he told members that they had to make a choice between "The Community" or their own personal "selfishness." Bethany appeared to be shaken by the sermon.

"And Bethany was sitting ... with her back up against the wall curled up into a ball with this, like, mortified facial expression," Deaton demonstrated for Roberts, pulling his knees up into his chest and giving a blank stare.

Deaton was fed up with Bethany's behavior.

"And so there was a part of me that was like, 'I -- I just -- I don't have anything else to do. I don't have anything else to say. What am I gonna do?'" he continued. "'Cause normally, you know, maybe you would've gone and tried to talk to her. If I was a good husband, that's what I would've done."

The next day, Bethany went off to her job as a nurse. About 12 hours later, Detective Penny Cole of the Jackson County Sheriff's Office was called out to Longview Lake -- there was a female body in a van.

"So when you arrived, where was the van?" Roberts asked Det. Cole.

"The van was actually parked right here. It was pulled in and facing -- towards the tree line there," she pointed out.

"What did you see when you approached the van?" Roberts asked.

"She was sitting in the back of the van on the right hand side, kind of leaned up against the window," said Cole.

It was Bethany Deaton. Her head was covered by a loose plastic bag and there was an empty bottle of over-the-counter sleeping medication near her body. Also in the car was a goodbye note. It appeared to be a suicide, but something was off.

"When I spoke with Tyler, I did not see the reaction that I expected from a newlywed at all. And it kind of made the hair on the back of my neck stand up," said Cole.

"I felt like I was going to fall apart," Deaton said of hearing the news. "And I was trying to stabilize myself as much as possible."

Tyler Deaton tried to tell Bethany's parents, but couldn't reach them. In Dallas, friends sat down with Carol and Eric Leidlein to break the news.

"And they said, 'Bethany's no longer with us.' ... And-- the next thing we said was, 'How?' And they said, 'Well, she took her own life,' Carol Leidlein recalled. "And we were just crushed, just crushed."

The medical examiner ruled Bethany's death a suicide, but her mother was unconvinced.

"And I said ... 'I think y'all need to go back and look at this.' You know, 'I don't think y'all are done,'" said Leidlein.

Bethany's body was transported to Dallas for a funeral. As hundreds of people packed the family church to mourn her loss, Leidlein received a shocking phone call from investigators.

"They called us ... to say that they needed her body back and ... they didn't want us to bury her that day," she said.

That's because Micah Moore, one of Tyler's Deaton's sexual partners and Bethany's close friend, had just walked into a police station and said Bethany's death wasn't a suicide. He had killed her.

SUICIDE OR MURDER?

"When we found out about Micah's confession it felt like ... her dying all over again," Carol Leidlein said. "As if it couldn't have hurt more."

Still grieving from the sudden loss of her daughter, Leidlein was shocked to hear that Bethany's good friend, Micah Moore, had voluntarily confessed to her murder.

"When Micah ... came in and told his story ... that was the missing piece," said Colonel Ben Kenney of the Jackson County Sheriff's Office.

His confession confirmed Cole and Kenney's suspicions that this was murder, not suicide.

"What were you struck by ... at the interrogation?" Roberts asked the investigators.

"When talking to Micah, he was -- very reluctant to speak. It was ... like he was tryin' to think of what to say or getting approval to say from someone," Kenney replied.

"He told me that had killed Bethany," Cole said. "He told us that he had put the bag over her head and held it there until her body shook."

That matched up with the crime scene -- the plastic bag over Bethany's head had been inhaled into her mouth. And she was found with her eyes open, which they thought was unusual for someone who had apparently overdosed.

"She wasn't asleep. And -- most people when they -- overdose with -- some type of sleeping medication, they just -- their body just starts to slow down and shuts down," Kenney explained.

Bethany's mother says, "there's so many things that don't add up."

"But when I heard that -- what she took ... Tylenol PM ... Immediately I said, 'No,'" Leidlein said. "She was a nurse, she had worked two days before she died. ...And so why an over-the-counter drug?"

Also surprising -- Bethany was found with thank you notes from her wedding.

"They weren't completed. They weren't in envelopes addressed to people. They were in the process of being written," Cole said. "It was like she was sitting in the van writing them but hadn't finished them."

The other note in the van, allegedly written by Bethany, said, "I chose this evil thing. I did it because I wouldn't be a real person and what is the point of living if it is too late for that?"

"The suicide note sounded nothing like her. But, of course, if she had been as broken as she seems to have been at that point it would make sense that it didn't sound like her if -- if she had written it. But there's no way normal her would have written that," said Boze Herrington.

Micah Moore's confession offered an explanation to some of the questions raised by the scene. But what had led him to come forward? Following Bethany's death, church leaders from the International House of Prayer were outraged with what they learned about Tyler Deaton's ministry and brought the rest of the group together.

"My understanding is that IHOP told Tyler's group ...'You have two choices. You can either follow Tyler or you can stay part of IHOP. But Tyler's not part of IHOP,'" Cole explained. "And from there, Micah's confession came out in that meeting."

IHOP leaders say Moore asked them to take him to the police station where he confessed, putting the pieces together for investigators.

"There were things that Micah was able to tell us about in his confession that had not been released, information that someone would not have had unless they had been here to see it," Cole said at the site where Bethany was discovered.

"What he had confessed to fell back into place with the bag -- the condition of Bethany's eyes, the grasping for air, being either restricted or strangled around her throat," said Kenney.

Bethany and Tyler Deaton
Bethany and Tyler Deaton
Boze Herrington

And Micah had another stunning admission. The reason he killed Bethany? Because her husband, Tyler Deaton, had told him to.

"And the police came and took me in for questioning. ...My thought was, there must be a law in Missouri -- that says that -- you can be responsible for someone's suicide," Deaton said. "And then they were bringing Micah through. And he was in handcuffs. Handcuffs. And they said these two aren't to be in communication with each other. And I'm going, 'Why in the world is Micah in handcuffs?' I had no idea."

Tyler Deaton was unaware that Moore had confessed.

"And I was, like, I -- my response was, 'No. That doesn't -- that does not make sense,'" he said.

But the confession provided investigators with a motive. Moore told police that for months, he and other male roommates had been drugging Bethany with the anti-psychotic drug Seroquel and sexually assaulting her.

"And there was a fear that she was going to tell a therapist," said Cole.

Moore said that before Bethany could report the abuse, Deaton told him to kill her, because he knew he had it in him to do it.

"Tyler says that members of this community could exercise free will," Roberts noted to Kenney.

"We didn't see a lotta that in the people that we spoke with," he replied.

"You've been described as a cult leader," Roberts noted to Deaton.

"OK," he said.

"True?"

"I don't think so, no," said Deaton.

"You don't think the group that you helped form was a cult?"

"A cult? No. And nobody has used that language who's actually qualified to use it," he replied.

"Yes there was -- there was influence that was excessive in control," Deaton admitted. "But the image that the media makes ... of this, like, grossly sociopathic, narcissistic, control freak cult leader personality is -- is just-- it's just, like, it's dumb. And it drives me crazy. It's, like, 'Could we talk about what actually happened?'"


So what does Deaton think actually happened? He says Moore has mental health issues, and the confession was one in a series of psychotic episodes, spurred on by pressure from church leaders.

"There's some pretty fundamental controlling things at IHOP that are just really unhealthy, I think," Deaton said. "They sold Micah to the police, practically, for their own reputation in my opinion.

IHOP refused to talk to "48 Hours" about the case. But they severed all connections with Tyler and in a statement they publicly denounced his "alleged secretive, perverse, cultic practices."

"Everybody left me in a day, except for one friend. Everybody left me in a day. If I'm a cult leader, I'm a really bad cult leader," Deaton said. "In the course of 10 days, I lost Bethany ... And then I lost all my friends. ...I lost the church that I was part of ... They were gone.

Micah Moore arrest
Micah Moore
KCTV

But he did still have his freedom. Despite the allegations against Tyler Deaton, only Micah Moore was arrested -- because he had confessed.

"We felt we had -- had a good case," Kenney said. "Any good investigation of the confession is 99 percent of it. And -- up to that point, we thought that -- we were -- we got that brass ring on the merry-go-round, so to speak."

But the case would take another unexpected turn. Micah Moore, the man who put everything together for police, was about to tear it all apart.

A NEW TWIST

With Micah Moore's confession in hand, investigators were confident a crime had been committed -- but needed details of why and how.

"Micah is very intelligent but just didn't seem to have the drive to wanna take someone's life," Col. Ben Kenney explained. "Who -- mighta been with Micah at the time?"

With all eyes on him as an alleged accomplice, Tyler Deaton categorically denies any involvement.

"I have to ask you the question directly. Did you order Micah to kill your wife?" Roberts asked Deaton.

"No. No. Of course not," he emphatically replied. "I mean, I have read the media, so I know the image. Micah is easily manipulatable. What's the implication? Tyler manipulated him."

"I am asking you ... if he wanted to please you?" Roberts continued.

"Is the reason you are asking me if he wanted to please me is because you think his desire to please me somehow led to foul play?" Deaton challenged. " ...my sense listening -- and definitely the way I think anybody watching would interpret is -- 'Did Micah wanna please you?' If the answer's 'yes,' then he could've done this thing that the media painted him as doing. And I don't think that's fair to Micah or to myself."

But investigators are piecing together Deaton's powerful hold over the group -- some of it appeared to be sexual.

"The way it's been explained to us, Tyler was very close with the men in the community. Our understanding -- is that ... Micah ... as well ... the other men in the community ... spent a considerable amount of time alone with Tyler -- more than just guys out goin' and playin' football," said Det. Penny Cole.

At least four other members came forward to investigators in the days after Bethany's death with accounts of how Deaton used his authority to initiate secret sexual relationships with the men and referred to that activity as a "religious experience."

"You manipulated several men into having sex with you. Is that right?" Roberts asked Deaton.

"[Laughs] No. That's not correct," he replied.

"Well, correct me," said Roberts.

"I've never had sex with anybody," said Deaton.

"Okay. Let me just be clear. You did not manipulate men into having sex with you?" Roberts asked.

"No. No. That would not be accurate. Like ... there was never sexual intercourse," Deaton explained. "There was [laughs] I don't know what we're allowed to say on television. There was hands in places -- and there was being -- there was being horizontal, so like being on a bed at the same time and ... There was -- oral sex happened twice. Twice. And so that [claps hands] -- that's it."

Police may have had their suspicions about Deaton's influence over the group -- especially with Moore -- but their case wasn't coming together the way they hoped. The forensic evidence simply wasn't matching his confession.

"Micah ... indicated that prior to her death that she had been given a drug in a water bottle ... and then when she became incapacitated, she had been sexually assaulted by a number of men that were in the household," said Kenney.

But blood tests showed no Seroquel in Bethany's system and police don't have a lot of evidence from the scene.

"There was nothing in the vehicle as far as fingerprints or DNA inside of the vehicle. We just weren't able to focus on anything beyond his confession," said Kenney.

"Is it possible that this was not a homicide?" Roberts asked.

"If we find further evidence that would lead us that direction. But right now, it's in the balance and if this was on a weighing scale, it is still teetering to that homicide. We've got a confession," Kenney continued. "He chose upon himself to come in and confess to a murder. We take that for what it's worth."

"The question I would throw back is, 'How dare you accuse someone of being involved in a murder without that forensic evidence? How dare you?'" Deaton said angrily.

Prosecutors pushed ahead, charging Moore with Bethany's murder.

Then, just when it seemed like there couldn't possibly be another twist or turn in the case, Moore's attorney, Melanie Morgan, held a press conference on the courthouse steps to say, flat out, her client did not do it.

"Driven to the police station by representatives of his church community, Micah told a fictional account that was bizarre, nonsensical and most importantly, untrue," said Morgan.

She said Moore is recanting his entire confession. The confession, she said, was the result of an exorcism -- performed by the leaders of the International House of Prayer.

"There was ...very intense yelling, scream praying, talking in tongues, telling these kids that they were to blame to Bethany's death," said Morgan.

All of that, Deaton says, points towards something other than murder.

"I'm pretty sure the stuff Micah said was stemming from a psychotic episode," said Deaton.

"And you maintain that this was a tragic suicide and not a murder conspiracy?" Roberts asked.

"I think that makes a whole lot more sense," said Deaton.

In a statement, IHOP says "It was not in the slightest way for the purpose of exorcising demons out of people," but continued to refuse to answer "48 Hours"' questions about the incident.

For Tyler Deaton, he is now ready to admit that he did play a role in Bethany's death.

"I genuinely having spent tons of time trying to come to grips with what happened," he said.

"Do you think you drove her to suicide?" Roberts asked.

"I think that's probably a little too strong, just 'cause I think a lot of things come together -- to produce that. But do I feel like I have really real responsibility for what happened? Yeah. Yeah, I do," he admitted. "Bethany deserved a straight husband. And she -- she -- she got a gay one. And she shouldn't have ever had to experience that."

And now, the prosecutor has a hard decision to make. Is there enough evidence to take this case to trial or should the young man who confessed to murder walk free?

DIFFERING CONCLUSIONS

For two years, Det. Penny Cole and Col. Ben Kenney have been trying to crack this case. It's become personal.

A photo of Bethany Deaton investigators keep close
A photo of Bethany Deaton investigators keep close
Leidlein Family

"We have one of the photographs of -- Bethany, taken obviously at a happier time in her life. And -- I keep -- that ... just to remind myself that-- this was somebody's daughter," said Kenney.

"Her picture there reminds me that Bethany's still waiting," said Cole.

Despite all of their efforts, the investigators were not able to substantiate Micah Moore's confession. Just two weeks before his trial was to begin, prosecutors quietly issued a statement: they were dropping the murder charges against Moore.

"They told us that -- they did not have -- enough evidence to ensure a conviction, and ... They chose to drop the charges ... because if they had tried it and lost it, then of course, they would not have tried it again," said Carol Leidlein.

"So what was your reaction to the charges being dropped?" Roberts asked.

"Sorrow, deep sorrow," said Leidlein.

For Tyler Deaton, the news was overwhelming.

"There was a whole bunch of different reactions. Like, I would have thought it would have just been this, like [sighs]. Like, it's this, like, pure relief," he said. "But I cried myself to sleep that night and the next night ... But I was also angry that it was so clear and that it had gone on so long."

Micah Moore declined to speak with "48 Hours," but has posted online that he blames the International House of Prayer, stating, "they are not prophets they are manipulators." He also expresses regret for blindly following Tyler Deaton.

"What are you most angry about, or with whom?" Roberts asked Carol Leidlein.

"I would have to say Tyler," she said. "...the betrayal and the fraud that he demonstrated towards Bethany is very hurtful."

For the last two years, Deaton's been in therapy to work on what he refers to as control issues. Several counselors he asked "48 Hours" to talk to say he's made progress and can now see the repercussions of his behavior.

"I really think my failure to deal with being gay effectively, the ignorance, the -- the fear, the shame, the self-hatred, the denial, all of it -- plays a real part in why people were even able to have a reason to think that -- that Micah could've done something," Deaton explained. "If I had ... really been able to - to -- to get through that somehow, then I -- I think Bethany would be alive."

Deaton is trying to rebuild his life, but he's already lost a teaching job when students googled him and learned about his past.

"You've asked us not to mention your current job or where you live. Why is that?" Roberts asked Deaton.

"This thing chases my family and I. It's been really difficult," he replied.

"But do you fear for your safety?"

"Yeah," Deaton replied. "My favorite thing, honestly, would be if you all didn't do this show -- and you just let us go on and live our lives."

For Bethany's friend, Teryn O'Brien, there is one nagging question about the whole tragic situation that keeps coming back to her.

"Why didn't we all make the connections until after it happened?" she asked. "Why couldn't we see, you know, the unhealthiness of the situation before -- you know, before she died?"

"What would you say to other parents who are concerned that their child may be involved in-- in a dangerous cult?" Roberts asked Carol Leidlein.

"I would say don't let anybody get between you and your child. Don't let anybody cut your child off from their family and -- the things that I started to see in her -- were identity changes, and I think that that's what Tyler did, he took her identity, he took all of their identities and said, 'No, this is who you really are. This is what you're supposed to be, not what you think you're supposed to be,'" she replied.

For two years, it was Carol Leidlein who spoke for the family. Bethany's father, Eric, attended all of "48 Hours"' interviews, but never said a word -- until now. And what he had to say was one final bombshell in this story.

"I think we share some thoughts, but I think -- the conclusion is different. In my particular -- understanding of the facts, as we've come to know them at this point, I believe Bethany was severely depressed, to the point of being suicidal. And -- I believe that she wasn't properly cared for or protected in a very fragile state. And I think she took her own life," he said.

That's a conclusion the police don't accept.

"Our case is still -- open. And we will continue to investigate it," said Cole.

"Why is this still an active investigation?" Roberts asked.

"Homicides are -- there's no statute of limitations," Kenney replied. "We're just gonna keep -- keep lookin' at it, keep talkin' to people that we can find that we haven't already had an opportunity to speak with yet."

"So is it possible there may be arrests in the future?"

"We would hope so," Kenney said. "We're working toward that."

"Is Tyler a suspect?" Roberts asked.

"At this point in time, we have nothing to indicate that Tyler was directly involved in the death of his wife," said Kenney.

"What about indirectly?" Roberts asked.

"I would rather save that for another time," said Kenney.


Bethany's parents are suing the district attorney for access to the evidence in her case.

Tyler has said he planned to pay back the Leidleins for the wedding. He has not done so.

  • Troy Roberts

    Correspondent, "48 Hours"