March 1, 2012

Wife who survived motor home killings was abused for years

By Carol Marbin Miller and Diana Moskovitz, The Miami Herald

7:05 p.m. EST, February 26, 2012

The abuse of Deanna Beauchamp dates back more than a decade. It reportedly involved fists, knives, sleeping pills and the threat of a BB gun.

The official record appears to begin on June 9, 2001, when Tampa police took an incident report in which Beauchamp said her husband, William DeJesus, raped her. He abused her, the report said, "physically, emotionally and sexually."

But Beauchamp stayed. The calls to police continued. And, DeJesus and Beauchamp kept custody of their two young sons, who child welfare workers feared were becoming victims themselves. Child-welfare records show one boy — who called DeJesus a "Monster" — accused his father of hurting him and touching his "pee pee." Accusations swirled that both parents regularly molested the two boys. The children went into foster care but were then returned.

DeJesus' last act of domestic violence was on Feb. 9. That's when he hijacked a Deerfield Beach travel trailer, shot dead a visiting Canadian inside the home, and held Broward Sheriff's deputies at bay for seven hours until he attacked his family with a knife blade, then killed himself, authorities say.

Beauchamp and the couple's 7-year-old son survived the rampage with knife wounds. The couple's 9-year-old, Jeshiah, who was disabled and never spoke, did not.

There had been warnings, flashes of rage and violence, along the way, although never enough for child-welfare investigators, who let the children remain with the warring couple, to take decisive actions.

On Friday — the same day a judge ordered that Beauchamp have no contact with her surviving son — the Department of Children & Families released about 200 pages of investigative documents to The Miami Herald under the state's public record law. Those records, along with more than 500 pages released last week, portray a tempestuous, nearly 13-year marriage punctuated by occasional calls for help. Beauchamp told authorities DeJesus had beaten, stabbed, and raped her. He had forced her to take sleeping pills and had seized all her ID cards so she couldn't leave him.

She never did.

Beauchamp's repeated refusal to leave her husband is unsurprising, said Lisa Wiseman, director of communications and public policy for the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

As is common in such cases, DeJesus convinced his wife, as well as authorities, that he would seek help and mend his ways.

"If you look at a batterer, part of what they are very good at is manipulating the situation. Their tactics are manipulative, so they make people believe that they are getting help, they are making progress. That's part of the dynamic," Wiseman said.

Beauchamp and DeJesus had been married for about two years when Tampa police arrived at their doorstep on Dec. 30, 2001. In a report, relatives staying at the home said DeJesus accused his wife of thinking about sleeping with someone else. He slapped her three times in the face and pushed her.

Beauchamp wouldn't call the police, one witness said, because DeJesus said he would kill her. A relative called police from a nearby pay phone.

When police interviewed her, Beauchamp denied the violence had occurred — the first of many denials and recantations. When asked why two purported "witnesses" would lie about it, she didn't have an answer.

Police charged DeJesus with one count of misdemeanor battery. But the charge was dropped, according to Florida Department of Law Enforcement records.

Three years later, on May 9, 2004, police in the Bronx took a report that DeJesus had slapped a son in the face, twice, during a fight with another relative. It is unclear whether the event involved family members from a prior marriage.

"Reporter also states that she is in fear for her children," the report said.

In 2007, after the couple had moved to Daytona Beach, police received the first report to draw the attention of child-welfare workers.

Beauchamp told police her husband had choked her after she suggested he had been drinking too much. When police arrived, a gun — later determined to be a BB gun — was on the couch.

Beauchamp later showed investigators two holes DeJesus reportedly had punched or stabbed in a wall and door. And she showed a DCF investigator scars on her body from previous violence.

In the coming days, Beauchamp wrote a two-page statement for the Daytona police. DeJesus, she said, wanted her to get a job.

But she was too afraid to leave the children with DeJesus.

"I am nervous right now…to work because I am considered a battered woman and feel he is not a fit father that I can trust with my kids," she wrote. "I have been abused for eight years and feel confused and lost. And do not know what to do. I feel my life threatened. He's threatened to kill me and my family.

"I really want to press charges on him because he's an alcoholic and a violent man that will kill me and my family," she added.

But days later, she changed her mind. "Called attorney to drop case," says a notation in a file. "Stated officer coached her … Not fair to her husband. Things are good now."

The DCF, acting on a call to the state's abuse hotline, asked a Volusia County judge to order DeJesus and Beauchamp to accept services from the state, such as parenting classes and domestic violence treatment. "The parents have a long history of domestic violence," a DCF report said.

The children were at risk, an investigator wrote, but also added: "The parents are perfectly capable of caring for the children."

"It will not happen again," the parents insisted.

As for DeJesus, he "seems to understand that if this occurs again the children will be removed from the home."

A Sept. 18, 2007, "safety plan" drafted by the DCF required Beauchamp to obtain a restraining order against her husband. Additionally, DeJesus was supposed to avoid domestic violence in front of the children and stop drinking alcohol.

But it didn't take long for the family to renege. In less than two months, Beauchamp abandoned the restraining order she had gotten.

The criminal case against DeJesus closed on Aug. 27, 2008. "No formal criminal charges will be filed at this time," wrote Assistant State Attorney Tiffany Stucker, who did not specify why.

Original Article

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