Arson Murder - Search for Answers in Bryan Co.


10-18-05 - On January 31st, firefighters were called to a home on Five Doe Road in a very remote part of Bryan County. Inside the home was the body of 50-year-old Shawn Beaty. The case is being investigated as a homicide, but the family says authorities aren't doing enough.

The fire was called in around 11 p.m. on January 31st. It was a Monday night, and Shawn Beaty was home. Her husband Jerry was out of the country. The two worked together for a diving industry magazine, and Jerry was in the Caymen Islands working when flames ripped through their home killing his wife of 28 years.

"We lived an active life," Jerry Beaty said. "We scuba dived, we white-water rafted, we always worried about the one that was away. Only to find that the person at home is the one killed."

Initially investigators couldn't pin-point the cause, but this spring it was ruled as arson. Now authorities have a murder on their hands.

It once was a quiet country home, but now all that is left is a fireplace and some remnants of a past life. Nearly nine months after the fire, the mess is still here, and a wife and mother is still dead. Still, no one seems to know why.

"Any investigation into a murder, homicide, arson whatever, you have to go with what the evidence tells you," Bryan County Sheriff Bill Sturch said. "If neighbors tell us something, we go on it. If the evidence from the fire tells us something, we go on it. In this case, we have very little to go on."

That's where the internet comes in. Shawn's family set up a website at www.shawnbeaty.com where anyone can view a press release about the fire as well as an offer of $25,000 in exchange for information.

The reward money will be paid out by the family, and they say it is a small price to pay for closure.

The Bryan County Sheriff's Department is investigating with help from the State Fire Marshall. If you have any information, please contact either of those agencies or go to the family's website www.shawnbeaty.com.


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