Woman accused of killing, dismembering parents placed on leave from job as Catholic school teacher

"We are horrified and shocked by this matter," a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia said.

By6abc Digital Staff, Sharifa Jackson WPVI logo
Friday, January 20, 2023
Police release new details about Jenkintown double murder
When officers breeched the door and made their way inside, Verity Beck walked down the steps with her hands raised.

JENKINTOWN, Pennsylvania -- The woman accused of killing her parents, and then dismembering them in their Jenkintown home, has been placed on administrative leave from her job as a teacher at a local Catholic school.

Verity Beck, 43, is charged with first-degree murder and third-degree murder. She is being held without bail.

Verity Beck

Investigators believe Beck's parents, 73-year-old Reid Beck and 72-year-old Miriam Beck, were killed around Jan. 7, but the gruesome scene wasn't discovered until Tuesday night.

Kenneth Gavin, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, said in a statement provided to Action News on Friday that Beck was a teacher at Saint Katherine School of Special Education in Wynnewood.

He said Beck had not been present in the school since Christmas break, adding there was "no indication that she was potentially involved in acts of this nature."

"We are horrified and shocked by this matter," Gavin continued.

Beck has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the criminal process.

Beck just started working at Saint Katherine's last January, and Gavin said she produced criminal background checks and child abuse clearances that showed no signs of misconduct.

No complaints had been lodged against her during her time at Saint Katherine's, Gavin said.

"The safety and protection of every child in our schools is always our primary concern," the statement reads.

Gavin went on to write that counseling will be available to anyone who may need the services, and the archdiocese is exploring other ways to support the school community.

"We pray for all those suffering as a result of these acts," Gavin said.

District Attorney Kevin Steele said police arrived at the home Beck shared with her parents on the 1100 block of Beverly Road on Tuesday night.

That's where 73-year-old Reid Beck, a retired Training Director Steamfitters Local Union 420, and 72-year-old Miriam Beck, a former Lower Moreland High School nurse, were found dead.

According to the criminal complaint, their son arrived at the home earlier in the night and saw what appeared to be a body under a blanket.

Investigators say he talked to his sister for about 30 minutes. Police say Verity Beck lived at the home and told her brother that things there had "been bad."

Her brother told Verity that she needed to call the police, investigators said, and Verity responded that she needed "more time."

The brother left, returned to his home, and called 911, police say.

Abington police responded to the home but soon realized they would need a tactical response.

"They used drones and threw in a camera which was able to search most of the area," said Abington Police Chief Patrick Molloy.

When officers breached the door and made their way inside, Verity Beck walked down the steps with her hands raised.

"She just confirmed that her parents were deceased and she was concerned about her cats and dogs. They were the only words that she uttered," Molloy said.

A chainsaw was located near one of the bodies and both victims were in "various stages of dismemberment."

"What they discovered, you can't unsee that," Molloy said of his officers.

The coroner determined both victims died from a gunshot wound to the head. Several firearms were recovered from the home, Steele said.

"Whether they were sleeping or not, you just hope that they were," Molloy said.

Police also say officers found a large safe in the second-floor primary bedroom that had drill marks on it. Investigators say it appears someone without a key or combination had been attempting to access it.

According to the criminal complaint, investigators believe the couple was likely killed on January 7 after finding unread newspapers with that date. That was also when their son last had voice contact with his mother, investigators said.

The couple's son told authorities he believed he was texting with his parents the past week. Authorities believe it was his sister who was using the phone.

A motive for the killing is not yet known.

"I'm completely stunned. It's a quiet neighborhood. Quiet neighborhood, friendly kids all over the place, lots of dogs, a great neighborhood, place to raise your kid," said neighbor Linda Cranney. "I'm stunned."

Miriam Beck retired from her job as school nurse at Lower Moreland High School in 2018 after 20 years.

"The district was made aware of the passing of a former employee, Miriam Beck. Mrs. Beck was employed at Lower Moreland High School as a School Nurse from 1998 to 2018. At this time, our thoughts and sympathies are with the Beck family," the Lower Moreland School District said in a statement to Action News.

Former colleagues of Reid's said he was someone who made everyone comfortable.

"Just a friendly nice man. When you think back and reminisce, he taught a generation of apprentices," said Jim Snell, business manager of Steamfitters Local Union 420.

Community members said the Becks were model parents, friends and full of joy.