Steven Ray Beersdorf
On an otherwise ordinary cold and dreary day in January 2010, it would soon prove to be anything but ordinary when a young mother disappeared, never to be seen again by her loved ones, including her precious little boy.
Rose Goggins,a 21-year-old mother to an infant son named Ayden, was living in the home of her fiance's parents, Steven Ray and Sylvia Beersdorf. Rose's fiance, Steven Sean Beersdorf, was a National Guardsman at the time, and in January of 2010 was at Camp Shelby, MS on a training exercise before being deployed to Iraq. This left Rose and her baby in what was later described as a very hostile environment with her future in-laws.
A police report released later alleged that an individual named Scott Lawrence, who worked for the Beersdorfs on their property before Rose disappeared, stated that both Steven Ray and Sylvia Beersdorfwere very upset leading up to Rose's disappearance, supposedly because they were not getting enough time with their grandson. Sylvia allegedly asked Lawrence if he knew anyone that could help get rid of Rose so that she (Sylvia) could have custody of the child.
Lawrence also alleged that in the months leading up to Rose's disappearance, Steven Ray Beersdorf offered him $1,000 to bring him Rose Goggins at gunpoint. Lawrence stated that Beersdorf told him that he would kill Goggins and bury her body, and that "without a body they could not prove anything." Lawrence stated that he told Beersdorf he would think about the proposal, but that he never spoke to the Beersdorfs about it again.
Then came January 14th, 2010, the day that Rose was last seen alive.
Steven and Sylvia Beersdorf waited until January 16th to report Rose as missing. They told police that Rose had left home on the 14th to attend an EMT training class in Lawrenceburg. When she had not returned home two days later as she was supposed to, the Beersdorfs contacted police.
But the Beersdorfs knew why Rose hadn't returned home, and why Rose had never actually made it out of her driveway alive.
Rose's car was discovered burned out beyond recognition in McNairy County on January 15th', 2010. Police were able to identify the car by the VIN number on the engine block, tracing it back to Rose Goggins. The discovery of the vehicle raised the inevitable suspicion that Rose would not be found alive.
The Beersdorfs were the initial suspects in Rose's disappearance. Wayne County Sheriff Ric Wilson stated, "You usually start with the family in cases like this, and we were able to establish that they were the last people to see her alive."
After intense questioning by the Sheriff's Office and the TBI, on January 21st, 2010, Steven Ray Beersdorf confessed that on January 14th, he confronted Rose in the driveway of their home, hitting and slapping her, and eventually strangling her to death.
Beersdorf then stated that he took Rose's body to a bridge across the Tennessee River near Clifton, and dumped her body into the river. He stated that he then took her car to McNairy County and burned it.
Beersdorf's statement lead to a massive search of the Tennessee River under the John Wilder Bridge, searching banks and inlets for miles in either direction. After days of searching, nothing was found in the river that could be connected to Rose's disappearance.
After search warrants were executed on the Beersdorf property, and after a tip from a neighbor who saw large amounts of black smoke coming from the property on January 14th, everyone's worst suspicions were confirmed when cadaver dogs turned up human remains connected to Goggins through DNA comparisons in a large burn pile on the Beerdorf property.
Days turned into weeks as Sheriff's Deputies and TBI agents sifted meticulously through fragments of burnt human flesh and bone. The vibrant young mother had been reduced to ashes by the actions of her jealous and homicidal in-laws.
Sylvia Beersdorf was convicted in March of 2011 on a charge of conspiracy to commit first degree murder, a class A felony. Authorities were not able to prove that she took part in any way with the murder of Rose Goggins, but evidence showed that she conspired with her husband in the months leading up to the murder in how it would be carried out. Sylvia Beersdorf was sentenced to fifteen years in TDOC custody.
Steven Ray Beersdorf was convicted in March of 2011 on two charges: criminal conspiracy to commit first degreemurder, and first degree murder. He is serving a life sentence for the murder of Rose Goggins.
Rose's fiance, who is the Beersdorf's son, Steven, returned to Wayne County from his National Guard training in Camp Shelby, MS, when he was notified of Rose's disappearance. He has always maintained that he knew nothing of his parents' plan to kill Rose, and his parents have both stated that Steven is completely innocent of any knowledge or participation in the murder. Steven Sean Beersdorf, to this day, has not been charged with any connection to Rose's murder.
A popular television show on the Investigation Discovery Channelcalled "True Crime with Aphrodite Jones" will be airing an episode this fall on the murder of Rose Goggins. Aphrodite Jones and her crew have been in Wayne County for the past several days, interviewing Sheriff Ric Wilson, Sheriff's Deputies that were involved in the case, and others who were connected to the coverage of the murder in the media. The air date of the program will be printed in the News as soon as it becomes available.