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Tag: Saint Katherine School Wynnewood

Black Collar Crime: Catholic School Teacher Verity Beck Accused of Murdering Her Parents

verity beck

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

Verity Beck, a school teacher at Saint Katherine School of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania stands accused of murdering her parents by shooting them in the head and dismembering their bodies with a chainsaw.

The Reporter reports:

An Abington Township woman fatally shot her elderly parents and then used a chainsaw to dismember them, an alleged crime that authorities described as “a horrible, tragic situation.”

The discovery of the victims’ bodies and the arrest of Verity A. Beck on homicide charges were announced at a Wednesday evening news conference by Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele and Abington Township Police Chief Patrick Molloy.

Beck, 43, who lived with her parents in the 1100 block of Beverly Road in the Jenkintown section of the township, was charged with first- and third-degree murder and possessing an instrument of crime in connection with the deaths of 73-year-old Reid Beck and his 72-year-old wife, Miriam.

“There were signs of extreme trauma and a chainsaw was found and both Reid and Miriam were found in different stages of dismemberment,” said Steele, describing the incident as “a horrible, tragic situation. These were not easy autopsies to conduct based upon the fact Verity used this chainsaw and then put parts of her parents into trash bags and had covered them up. They were actually in two different trash cans.”

The autopsies revealed that both victims suffered single gunshot wounds to the head.

“We believe that happened first,” Steele alleged.

Steele said the investigation is continuing.

“We are looking for what motive could have been behind this. We can’t share one with you at this time. I don’t know what was going on between these folks. That’s all under investigation and that’s going to be continuing and maybe we’ll have more on that later,” Steele told reporters during a news conference at the county detective bureau in Norristown. “We also believe that this happened over a period of some time.”

Steele explained the victims’ voices were last heard by another family member on Jan. 7.

Authorities revealed that a check of police logs showed there were no previous police contacts made at the home.

Steele said “it has not been an easy day” for the victims’ family or for the detectives who investigated the case.

“It’s been a difficult day for everybody working on this,” said Steele, referring to the disturbing nature of the alleged crime.

Beck, who was a teacher at the Saint Katherine School of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in Wynnewood, Lower Merion, was remanded to the county jail without bail to await a Feb. 1 preliminary hearing on the homicide charges before District Court Judge Juanita A. Price.


Prior to beginning her service at Saint Katherine’s last January, Beck produced criminal background checks and child abuse clearances, neither of which showed any prior misconduct, Heeney wrote. Additionally, no complaints “of any kind” were lodged against Beck during her brief time with the school community, officials said.

“All of us are shocked by these developments. Please know that the safety and protection of your children are always our primary concerns,” Heeney wrote. “Understanding the traumatic nature of this news, we will have counseling personnel available to anyone who may need those services. We are also exploring additional modes of support that may be needed.”

The investigation began on Tuesday, Jan. 17 after the victims’ son notified Abington police that he had gone to his parents’ home to check on them, because he hadn’t spoken to them by phone since Jan. 7, which was unusual, and he observed a deceased person lying on a floor, covered with a bloody sheet and a chainsaw near the body, according to a criminal complaint.

The son told police he spoke to his sister and when he asked if something bad had happened to their parents she responded, “Yes.” Beck allegedly told her brother that things at the home had “been bad.”

Abington police arrived at the home around 10:30 p.m. on Jan. 17 and attempted to make contact with Verity Beck but received no answer. Officers deployed a remote-controlled robot into the first floor of the home in an effort to locate Beck and deployed a drone to peer through the windows to determine her location but both attempts failed to locate Beck, court papers indicate.

At 12:10 a.m. on Jan. 18 police entered the residence through a side door.

“Officers immediately noticed a strong odor of decomposition in the residence,” county Detective Anthony Caso and Abington Detective Robert Hill Jr. wrote in the arrest affidavit.

When police announced themselves and asked Beck to make her whereabouts known she followed commands and entered the kitchen. When police asked Beck about her parents she allegedly replied, “They are dead.”

Detectives found a deceased male wrapped in a cloth sheet and determined he was decapitated, according to the criminal complaint.

“In close proximity to the male’s body detectives located a 55-gallon trash receptacle. This receptacle was filled with white trash bags and these trash bags were filled with assorted severed body parts,” Caso and Hill alleged.

“An electric-powered chainsaw with biological material in the chain portion indicated this chainsaw had been used to sever, at least some, of the body parts,” detectives added.

Detectives found additional severed body parts in a trash can in an attached garage, court documents indicate.

“This is somebody that is dismembering her mother and father and putting body parts in trash cans so clearly she’s trying to get rid of the evidence of her crime,” Steele alleged.


In the second-floor master bedroom detectives found a safe mounted into the wall and tools nearby and drill marks on the safe indicating someone, without a key or combination, had been trying to access the safe.

Detectives found a pillow that contained powder burns and a hole, consistent with a firearm projectile having been fired through the pillow, according to court documents.

In Beck’s bedroom detectives found two .38-caliber handguns, one containing one spent round and four live rounds and the other containing two spent rounds and three live rounds, according to the arrest affidavit. Both firearms were registered to Beck, detectives said.

Additionally, detectives recovered a third .38-caliber handgun containing two spent rounds and three live rounds but a check for ownership returned a result of “no record found,” court documents indicate.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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Bruce Gerencser