Missing Texas LEO found dead

The officer who disappeared last week was found dead from an apparent suicide early Tuesday


By Keri Blakinger and Yi Chin Le
Houston Chronicle

BAYTOWN, Texas — The Baytown police officer who disappeared last week was found dead from an apparent suicide early Tuesday in a grassy field, authorities said.

John Stewart Beasley, a 23-year veteran of the force, went missing around 3:30 p.m. Thursday, when he walked away from his home in Cove, just east of Baytown.

Pictured is John Stewart Beasley. (Photo/Chambers County Sheriff's Office)
Pictured is John Stewart Beasley. (Photo/Chambers County Sheriff's Office)

The 46-year-old's family reported him missing that evening, and Chambers County sheriff's deputies, Baytown police and two canine teams launched a search.

The sheriff's office initially said they'd seen "no indications of foul play," but were investigating "all possible leads and scenarios."

Then on Tuesday morning, authorities made a grim discovery when searchers in a helicopter spotted a body along FM 565 less than a mile from Beasley's home. He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said.

He leaves behind one adult son.

Nationally, the number of police suicides appears to be on the rise, outpacing line-of-duty deaths last year. The nonprofit group Badge of Life reported 140 officers died at their own hands in 2017, up from 108 in 2016.

But it's hard to get a more precise figures because there's no federal database on police suicides, and many departments across the country don't officially track those deaths, according to a Chronicle review earlier this year.

Aside from lax tracking, many departments don't have targeted mental health support for suicidal officers, according to Ruderman Family Foundation study. Just 3 to 5 percent of police departments have suicide prevention training programs, the foundation's analysis found.

©2018 the Houston Chronicle

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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