Tyler Deaton

A spiritual leader whose controversial beliefs led to a tragic murder within his prayer group.

Tyler Deaton emerged as a controversial figure at the heart of a tragic case that gripped public attention due to its complex blend of religious fervor, alleged sexual abuse, and murder. Deaton led a small, secretive Christian prayer group in Kansas City, Missouri, which was originally formed at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas. The group, consisting of Deaton, his wife Bethany Leidlein Deaton, and several other members, moved en masse from Texas to Missouri to attend the International House of Prayer University (IHOPU), an evangelical missionary training school.

The group lived in a communal setting, and Tyler Deaton was described as a charismatic and domineering leader. Allegations surfaced that he and several members of the group sexually assaulted Bethany Deaton, drugging her and then engaging in what they described as spiritual activities. These allegations came to light following the discovery of Bethany Deaton’s body in a van near a lake southeast of Kansas City on October 30. Initially appearing to be a suicide, the case took a dramatic turn when Micah Moore, a friend and fellow prayer group member, confessed to murdering Bethany on the orders of Tyler Deaton. Moore’s confession revealed disturbing details about the group’s activities, including sexual assaults that were allegedly recorded and then poetically described.

Most of the group members were natives of Texas and graduates of Southwestern University. They had followed Tyler Deaton to Missouri, drawn by his energetic leadership and their shared religious convictions. The group’s activities were described as operating under a veil of secrecy, with few outsiders aware of the true nature of their gatherings, which were ostensibly for Bible study.

image via CBS News

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