Midlothian police are examining several theories in the killing of a fitness instructor found slain in a North Texas church Monday morning, officials said Tuesday, as her husband and others mourned.
Nearly 200 people gathered for a candlelight vigil Tuesday evening in memory of Missy Bevers, a 45-year-old mother of three.
Bevers was at Creekside Church of Christ early Monday to prepare for a Camp Gladiator class. When her students began to arrive at about 5 a.m., they found her unresponsive and called 911, police said.
Bevers was declared dead Monday morning, but no cause of death was given. Tuesday afternoon, Midlothian police said the autopsy by the Dallas County medical examiner had been completed but that the results were being withheld pending the ongoing investigation by their department, county officials and the Texas Rangers.
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Surveillance video recorded inside the church shows a person, dressed in black gear with police markings, using a tool to pry open doors to enter the building shortly before Bevers entered.
Midlothian Police Assistant Chief Kevin Johnson said Tuesday that contrary to initial reports, the detectives can no longer say they are looking for a man.
"We are backing off our statement that the suspect on video was a man. I know we said 'he' over and over again yesterday, and that was a mistake," Johnson said. "There's a lot of speculation based on the gait and appearance that this person may be a woman. It's a legitimate question right now. We no longer will say the suspect is a man."
Johnson said the public should not jump to conclusions that police are searching for a woman either.
"That does not mean I'm saying this suspect is a woman. It's just that at this point we can’t rule it out. We don't know yet," Johnson said.
Police said they want the public to look closely at the video to see if anyone recognizes the walk and stature of the individual.
Many of those who came to the vigil Tuesday were close friends who hugged and prayed with Bevers' husband and daughters.
"I want to thank everybody for coming here. I know you only represent just a fraction of, a small fraction of all the people that Missy's life touched and I appreciate all of you all coming out here. Thank you very much," husband Brandon Bevers said.
Bevers' fitness students and fellow instructors were among those in attendance at Tuesday's vigil.
"Whenever I see these shirts, whenever I see 'Gladiator Camp' whatever it is, I'll know that Missy is there with me, and I'm very proud of you guys," said Brandon Bevers, Missy's husband.
Midlothian police said the person who may have killed Bevers was dressed in "tactical gear" with police markings, including a heavy helmet, gloves and military-style battle-dress pants. Midlothian Chief of Police Carl Smith said the person was "designed to look like a police officer."
EMS workers noted broken glass and other signs of a struggle near Bevers' body. Police searched the building and determined there were visible signs of forced entry.
Police said the motion-activated surveillance cameras did not record any interaction between Bevers and the person.
So far, police have not settled on a motive, although police said Monday it was possible Bevers interrupted a burglary.
"Even amongst our investigators, there are a lot of theories," Johnson said Tuesday. "We’re discussing all possibilities. And we'll go where the evidence leads us."
Johnson said a vehicle can be seen on the video may belong to the killer, but there's not enough information to give the public.
"There’s one surveillance camera where you can see the car in the far corner of the frame, parked in the distance. You can't make out a plate, and we're not even comfortable releasing anything about a possible make or model,” Johnson said.
It was not immediately known if anything was taken from the church and police were not sure if the person was carrying a weapon.
Midlothian police said Tuesday afternoon that the Texas Rangers have also joined the investigation.
Oak Farms Dairy announced it was offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and successful grand jury indictment in this case.
Anyone with information on the person's identity is asked to call the Midlothian Police Department at 972-775-3333.
Creekside Church of Christ released a statement Tuesday:
"The Creekside church family would like to offer our sincere condolences for the family of Missy Bevers. This tragedy has deeply affected all of us in the community that knew and loved her. While Missy was not a member of Creekside, she was a friend and we grieve for those affected by this.
We would like to thank the Midlothian Police Department for their hard work , and we pray that their efforts in finding the person responsible will be swift and successful."
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NBC 5's Jeff Smith, Chris Jose and Kevin Cokely contributed to this report.