Nearly two years ago, Aleah Beckerle disappeared from her home and sparked an eight-month search for her that would eventually come to a close in March of 2017.
Beckerle, a 19-year-old with severe disabilities who had to use a wheel chair, was first reported missing on July 17, 2016.
A 911 call from Aleah’s house captured the raw emotion the Beckerle family had the moment they saw her wheelchair beside her bed and nothing but sheets where she once laid.
The call was made by Aleah’s sister, who eventually handed the phone to her mother, Cara Beckerle.
“They came into my house and took my disabled daughter,” Cara said. “She needs a wheelchair and they just took her.”
The search for Aleah
For eight months, many wondered where Aleah was.
Within four days of the disappearance, search groups had been organized, a $1,000 reward was issued, and Evansville police had declared the mysterious disappearance a criminal investigation with assistance from the FBI.
False confession beating
In August of 2016, Evansville police issued a warrant at the Beckerle house for electronic devices.
However, in a twist, detectives were led to something else.
Wilson was sentenced to one year in jail in November of 2016, while Wollner and Robertson were sentenced to three years of house arrest in March of 2017.
Aleah’s mother speaks
“This was a planned kidnapping,” she said. “It’s not random. It was planned, but if you’re just scared now – it’s okay. Just bring her back. Please bring Aleah back.”
Weinbach and I-69 search
In September of 2016, Evansville police searched the area of Weinbach and I-69 in relation to the disappearance. However, animal bones were discovered and the findings were not related to Aleah’s case.
On September 26, 2016, the search expanded to a Pike County landfill.
A federal search warrant was served at the Advanced Disposal Blackfoot Landfill in Pike County.
For the next several months, the search parties dwindled but the searching continued.
Aleah’s body is found
On March 27, 2017, everything changed.
Evansville police said a decomposed body was discovered inside a vacant home on South Bedford Ave.
Two days after the body was found, it was identified as Aleah Beckerle.
Terrence Roach arrested
Then, two days after the body was identified, Terrence Roach was arrested in connection with the case. Terrence is the son of Cara Beckerle’s former boyfriend, DeMarco Roach.
The day of the arrest, Terrence’s stepfather shared his reaction, saying, “This **** is crazy because I asked him a long time ago when she came up missing. This **** is so weird. It just seems like a damn nightmare.”
The house on South Bedford Ave. where the remains were discovered was right next door to the house where Terrence Roach stayed.
Roach did have a prior record before his arrest in connection with the Beckerle case.
Eyewitness News obtained documents in 2017 showing he had felony charges dating back to 2013, not connected to the case of Aleah Beckerle.
In 2013, he pleaded guilty to criminal recklessness involving serious bodily injury.
In 2014, he pleaded guilty to attempted robbery resulting in bodily injury.
Verdict reached in Roach trial
During Roach’s trial in May of 2018, the jury found him not guilty of three counts of murder, burglary, and kidnapping.
However, the jury did find him guilty on charges of criminal confinement and abuse of a corpse.
The verdict came down just before 1:00 a.m. on Thursday.
The jury deliberated for nearly 11 hours.
The Beckerle family was left broken as the verdict came down. Anger boiled over as family members stood and yelled in the courtroom after court adjourned.
Aleah’s grandmother, Lydia Larue, exclusively shared her feelings with Eyewitness News before the verdict.
“It was very hard. It was hard to sit there, not scream, not cry, get up and stop my feet. It was hard and hard to sit there in the same room as him, sometimes just twelve feet away from me. This was a baby, she was disabled, she couldn’t run away, she could not scream out, she couldn’t fight him and he did some horrible things to her.”
Watch the full interview with Larue here:
(This story was originally published May 24, 2018)