The Aleah Beckerle Case: 1 Year Later

The Aleah Beckerle Case: 1 Year Later
Aleah D. Beckerle (Source: Evansville Police Department)

EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - One year ago, an Evansville family was frantic.

They couldn't find 19-year-old Aleah Beckerle. She was a beloved daughter, sister, niece. She needed constant care. But somehow, Aleah disappeared in the middle of the night from her Iowa Street home.

For months, Aleah's family, the community, and authorities searched for the teen, hoping for the best but anticipating the worst. That search ended this spring when her body was found in an abandoned home.

The man accused of her murder is sitting in jail.

Sibling: "911, My sister is missing."

Dispatch: "How long has she been gone?"

Sibling: "We just woke up and she's gone."

Dispatch: "What's her name?"

Sibling: "Aleah Darlene Beckerle."

It was this 911 call to Evansville police that launched almost a year-long search for Aleah.

"Somebody came into my home when me and my daughter were sleeping downstairs.  We're just a room away.  Her room is right in front of us.  There were no doors that we could always see her and they took her while we were sleeping." Aleah's mother, Cara Beckerle.

We sat down with Aleah's grandmother, Lydia LaRue one day after her family reported her missing last July.

"We just...this is a nightmare.  A living nightmare," said Lydia.

At the time, Evansville police had no leads in the case.

In those first few months, volunteers stretched across Evansville, scanning roads, creeks, asking anyone if they'd seen Aleah. Search after search, in abandoned homes, fields, even a landfill in Pike County.

A fake confession and arrests to follow..but nothing that brought authorities any closer to finding Aleah.

It wasn't until 8 months later that Aleah's body was discovered in an abandoned home on South Bedford Avenue. Aleah's family, always holding onto hope that she would come home, got the news they didn't want to hear.

We sat down with Cara Beckerle last week at a memorial built in Aleah's honor.

"It's just the worst thing you could ever go through. Your child being missing and you don't know where she's at. for almost a year, a child with special needs that depends on me to take care of her and I did all her life for 19 years and she was taken from me," said Aleah's mother, Cara Beckerle.

The man charged with Aleah's kidnapping and murder, Terrence Roach, was in court last Tuesday. He's the half brother to Cara's youngest daughter.

Investigators say he admitted to the crime. And police say evidence at the scene matched his confession.

Roach's attorney, Glenn Grampp, recently told us he believes his client didn't act alone and that Roach may not have fully understood his admission of guilt.

"Now, Terrance Roach isn't a very big man. To reach in, probably up off ground, when you reach in, you've expended arms, demonstrating, to be pulling, you're going to be that much bigger, so to think you can get somebody out who at some level is going to be very vocal and who is going to some level struggling, it's incredible and not pull down curtains, knock blinds down." said Grampp.

Detectives told us back in March, Aleah's family members have been cleared in the case and no further arrests are expected.

Terrance Roach's trial is set for January.  No matter the outcome,  Aleah's mother says nothing will ever ease the pain of losing a child.

"I don't feel I'll ever have closure really but I have peace that she was found and we know where she is now."

We reached out to Evansville police and the Vanderburgh County Prosecutor's office. Both declined to comment on the investigation.

Last week, we learned evidence collected will be sent to a lab for DNA testing.

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