Church Distances Itself from Husband of Murder Victim

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GRANDVIEW, Mo. -- The International House of Prayer is distancing itself further from the leader of a religious group whose wife was murdered in a conspiracy of drugs and sex in a statement on Friday, but the latest statement from the church is raising even more questions about its relationship with Tyler Deaton and what the church knew about him.

Bethany Deaton's body was found in a van at Grandview Lake on October 30th. Her death thought to be a suicide until a man confessed to killing her, telling police he was ordered to do it by the victim's husband allegedly to cover up sexual assaults.

All three were members of the International House of Prayer, and at one time the church listed Deaton as a group leader - a listing Friday's statement said was inaccurate.

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Ever since the sordid details of drugs, sex, religion and murder have come to light, the International House of Prayer has distanced itself from the small religious group to which the man charged with murder and the victim's husband belonged.

The church has said Deaton and his group operated independently from the church and "under a veil of secrecy."  However, there were warnings.

First in June, according to the statement, someone approached IHOP's small groups director raising concerns about Deaton's manipulative behavior in his independent bible study group.

At the time the church says the director met with Deaton and mistakenly concluded that these concerns had been resolved.  Though the church says the concerns did not include any reference to the sexual perversion, sexual assault or malicious practice that were exposed only after Bethany's death.

Second, an early November website posting listed Tyler Deaton as a Division Coordinator on the administrative team of the International House of Prayer Friendship Groups. The posting was taken down after Deaton's roommate confessed to killing Deaton's wife and accused Deaton of ordering the murder.

The church says the listing of Deaton's name was an error made by a volunteer and that Deaton was never a group coordinator.  The church also says it regrets Deaton's admission to IHOPU four years ago and all connection he had with the organization.

IHOP's leader in charge of small groups did not return our calls for comment.  Tyler Deaton has also not returned our calls or emails.

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