PN police seek clues to murder

Published 3:20 pm Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Michelle Smith learned of the death of her longtime friend Wayne Beavers the hard way, through the media.

Beavers, 56, was found dead at about 3:15 p.m. Tuesday at his home in the 2100 block of 12th Street. Police said he appeared to have died from a head injury.

Smith, a Port Neches resident, spoke with Port Neches Police regarding the man’s murder on Tuesday. She said she did not know he was deceased until she saw the 10 p.m. news on TV.

The woman stopped by Beavers’ home to place a bouquet of flowers at the foot of a tree on the victim’s property. Police crime scene tape stretched from a fence, circled a spot higher up on the tree and crossed over Beavers’ silver Dodge Neon.

“Wayne had a love for everyone and would give the shirt off his back if someone needed it,” she said. “He was a super guy.”

The grieving woman said when she first met Beavers 20 plus years ago, his home was the gathering place. Beavers, she said, was once a roadie for the 1970s English rock group, Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Friends would gather at the home to listen to his stories as well as his extensive album collection.

“He was also a Star Trek fan, had learned to build models and was interested in trains,” she said, adding that Beavers was a draftsman by trade.

While Smith did not approve of all aspects of Beavers’ lifestyle, she still cared for the man deeply.

“It’s not so much the things he did but the company he kept,” she said. “It didn’t matter to him. He had three roommates living here, people that needed a place to stay.”

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety Web site, Beavers was a registered sex offender whose offense is listed as one count of sexual assault of a child with disposition date of March 21, 1994. The victim is listed as a 15-year-old male.

Smith does not believe the murder is related to the sexual assault charge.

The preliminary cause of death, released by Justice of the Peace Brad Burnett, was that Beavers died from manual strangulation. The victim also suffered a crushed chest and fractured skull. Officials are awaiting toxicology reports.

Burnett, who was called to the scene and pronounced the victim dead, said there was a significant amount of blood as he entered the two-bedroom home. He added that blood was on the walls and ceiling and that Beavers was found nude on a bed.

“It’s very unusual for a homicide to happen in Port Neches,” he said. “The Port Neches Police Department as well as the Jefferson County Crime Scene Investigation Unit are working overtime to address this issue and they will solve this crime. I’m very impressed at how late they worked Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.”

Port Neches Police are currently interviewing neighbors, friends and family mmbers in an effort to obtain additional information, Det. Jim Walters said. PNPD enlisted the assistance of the Jefferson County Regional Crime Lab and the Jefferson County District Attorneys Office as well.

The murder of Beavers is the first homicide in the city in two years. In May 2005 Hector Gomez, 47, was found shot to death in the 1900 block of Seventh Street of Port Neches. Joseph Terry Green was convicted for the crime on October 2007.

Prior to the murder of Gomez was the shocking 2003 Thanksgiving Day murder of an infant that was found dead in a band bag. Police learned the 15-year-old mother gave birth to the child in her bedroom and placed him in the bag. The child was born of an incestuous relationship between the infant’s mother and her brother.

Police are asking the public’s help in solving the murder of Beavers. If you have any information, call Port Neches Police at 722-1424 or EasTex Crimestoppers at 724-TIPS.

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