Brad Byrd In-Depth: Captain Andy Chandler Talks Aleah Beckerle Case Pt. 1

The Evansville Police Department confirmed on Wednesday that the body found in the house in the 1600 block of Bedford Ave. is 20-year-old Aleah Beckerle.

Aleah went missing in July 2016 after she reportedly disappeared from her family home in the middle of the night. EPD says this is now a criminal investigation but has not yet declared this homicide until the exact cause of death is released by the Vanderburgh County Coroner's Office.

Brad Byrd talks with EPD Captain Andy Chandler about the Aleah Beckerle case and what is next in the investigation.

Transcript for interview:

Brad Byrd: "And now joined by Captain Andy Chandler of the Evansville Police Department who looked into that camera today with a promise at that news conference in the basement of the Civic Center. Thank you, Captain Chandler for being with us. I know this has been a very long day, a long week, this has been a long eight months in many ways. Let us begin first with the most important soul in this tragedy, that's Aleah. She was 19 years old, a young woman that in many ways, she was a child. Um, she does not have a voice, she did not have a voice. Who's going to be her voice now?"

Captain Andy Chandler: "Well, we hope many people will step up and be that voice, and speak out for her. I can assure you and the public that members of the EPD will. And, uh, particularly the investigative team, Brent Melton and the others that have been assisting him. They are going to a voice for Aleah because they will speak where she cannot speak, and they will do so by pursuing every lead, every angle, and chasing every lead they can until they think they have found the individual or individuals responsible for her death and bring them to justice."

Brad Byrd: "And as Detective Melton said, he's going to remember Aleah forever. As a lead investigator, your experience on this, is this situation going to haunt you? The nature of the fact that this young lady had severe disabilities and for her to be found that way in that vacant house?"

Captain Andy Chandler: "It does have an impact, it has an impact on those that have processed the scene, that investigate the scene, that are involved all the way. They take it personally because they see a defenseless victim, and they want to ensure that they can step up and help where that woman could not help herself. And they take it to heart, and they ask themselves every day, “Did I answer the right call? Did I make the right judgment? Did I ask the right questions? Did I pursue the right leads?” And they're always second-guessing themselves, even when things seem to progress along because they want to make sure that they are doing it right."

Brad Byrd: "Now I understand that you can only share so much. The last thing we want to do is compromise an investigation into this death. But with that said, is there anything new since that news conference that you can share with us tonight? Concerning, first of all, the crime scene location. I understand there is some new information here."

Captain Andy Chandler: "Well, what we have done, our crime scene investigators had been processing the scene, they were doing that all afternoon, and they just released the scene and wrapped up the work there about a half hour ago. What that means, they have now felt confident that whatever evidence, whatever clues that they may be able to develop from that scene, they now have. Now, anytime there's a crime scene, the individuals that are there, they bring something into the scene, and they leave something when they leave the scene. So that is what we'll start looking for. We'll look for every bit of evidence, DNA evidence, hairs, fibers, clothing, anything that somebody could have seen. Then we'll also back up and we'll start doing more neighborhood canvases and we'll try to start determining, did anybody see a vehicle there? Did they see a person? Did they see any activity? So it gives us a lot of different avenues to go."

Brad Byrd: "All those tips, all those phone calls, but that phone call on Monday, that person is indeed a mystery to all of us right now. You know who the identity is, and I understand, at this point, you indicated in the news conference you cannot reveal the identity of this individual."

Captain Andy Chandler: "Correct."

Brad Byrd: "But, is this a person of interest?"

Captain Andy Chandler: "Well, at this point, until we can eliminate this individual and all the other people that we have interviewed up to this point, everyone is a person of interest and even a potential suspect until we can eliminate them. Obviously, we're going to want to talk to this individual further, and to determine their motive. And, not only their motive for providing this information which we are grateful to, but how did they come across this information, and what prompted them to come forward at this point."

Brad Byrd: "It looked like you had a three way conversation today in that new conference. You were talking to journalists, reporters, you were talking to viewers who were watching that news conference live on the air, or whether it was being streamed on our website. But you were also talking to, you looked right at the camera, “We're going to come after you.” You were talking to the perpetrator or perpetrators. Reflect on that for me."

Captain Andy Chandler: "Well, that's a good way to sum it up, I was actually doing that very thing. I don't think it was a conscious effort, but I did want to get the facts out to the media that was there, to the people that were watching the newscasts. But I'm hoping that the individual that did this is watching. And I hope the guilt and the shame weighs heavily on them. And I hope it causes them all kinds of grief. And I hope it starts wearing them down to the point where they can't deal with it any longer and they will either slip up by telling somebody else what they did, or they will actually have a change of heart and they'll come forward. It took us eight months to find the body. We hope at this point, it doesn't take that much longer. But we will find what we're looking for."

Brad Byrd: "And you mentioned the word courage, someone coming forward. That almost intimates, correct me if I'm wrong, that this could be a situation several people might have knowledge of this but they are just afraid to come forward. Am I reading that correctly?"

Captain Andy Chandler: "I would say that is a fair assumption to make. And I did use that word courage because I think there are people that do know information, that do know good facts that we could follow up on. But they're either afraid to come forward, they're intimidated to come forward, or a combination of both. But sooner or later they're going to have to step forward. They're going to have to determine what is more righteous. And this act to come forward and tell the truth would clear their conscience."

Brad Byrd: "In respect to the family now, we have talked in the past eight months. Some conversations live on television. I've talked to Cara Beckerle, Aleah's mother. Eyewitness News' Jordan Vandenberge has talked to her at the Weinbach search, this was months ago. I understand your investigators talked to the Beckerle family today, is there anything you can share about that?"

Captain Andy Chandler: "Not anything in detail. Our detective did go out, as well as a member of the coroners office, and we wanted to talk to Aleah's mother and other members of the family and just let them know what we've concluded from the autopsy. And to just give the information to them in person and to assure them that we are not going to rest, that we're going to pursue this vigorously. It was probably an emotional time for them and they're probably needing some time to process it."


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