GUN BARREL CITY, Texas -- A twice-widowed woman and her daughter have been charged with murder in the deaths of two men, believed to be the mother's husbands, whose remains were dug up around her house, officials said Sunday.
Betty Beets, 48, was charged with capital murder Saturday in the deaths of Jimmy Don Beets, who was believed drowned in 1983, and Wayne Barker, who disappeared in 1981. Bail was set at $1 million.
Mrs. Beets' daughter, Shirley Stegner, 26, was arrested Sunday in Dallas on the same charges and taken to the Henderson County Jail in Athens, where she also was jailed in $1 million bail.
Remains tentatively identified as Jimmy Don Beets were found Saturday in his widow's front yard. Bones thought to be those of Wayne Barker were found in the back yard of the rural home, Henderson County authoridies said.
The remains were taken to the Dallas County medical examiner's office. Investigators planned to use dental records in an attempt to make positive identifications.
In 1981 Mrs. Beets married Wayne Barker, who Barker disappeared on Aug. 8 of that year, sheriff's investigator Rick Rose said.
Beets, a captain with the Dallas Fire Department, had been missing since Aug. 6, 1983, 11 months after his marriage, when he reportedly went on a fishing trip to Cedar Creek Lake and did not return.
His boat was found the next day, its propeller missing. Nitroglycerin tablets and some tools were found in the bottom of the boat, and police speculated at the time that he might have suffered a heart attack and fallen overboard.
Mrs. Beets, a bartender at a local nightclub, had been married three times, Rose said, and there was 'considerable speculation' among local residents at the time of his disappearance that that Jimmy Don Beets had been murdered.
'Believe it or not, I don't have a true mopive right now,' Rose said. 'We've got a lot of speculation, but anything I told you would be strictly guesswork. We have not had the opportunity to speak with her (Beets) openly about it because she has refused to talk to us.'
Rose said he began working on the case about six months ago when an unidentified informant told him the bodies were buried on Beets' property.
He said he confirmed the information through other sources and found both bodies 'within three or four inches' of where the informant said they would be.