Missing Baytown officer found dead in field near his home

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BAYTOWN, Texas – A Baytown police officer who was reported missing last week was found dead near his Chambers County home Tuesday.

Officer John Stewart Beasley, 46, was found dead in a field about three quarters of a mile from his home in the Cove area Tuesday morning, according to Chambers County Sheriff Brian Hawthorne. The sheriff said Beasley appeared to have suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound sometime Thursday.

Hawthorne has said Beasley is believed to have walked out of the back of his home in the 1800 block of Parker Place Drive in the Plantation Subdivision.

"I lost a friend," Hawthorne said.

The sheriff said Beasley had not shown signs of depression.

Baytown police Lt. Steve Dorris, who is also a friend of Beasley's, said a majority of the officer's 23-year career was spent on the streets of the city.

"It's the unfortunate drip, drip, drip of stress and trauma and chaos that we as law enforcement officers deal with on a daily basis that sometimes just takes its toll," Dorris said.

When asked whether Beasley left a note, Hawthorne said those details are part of the investigation. The sheriff said Beasley's service weapon was recovered, but he could not say whether it was used in the suicide.

Hawthorne said an autopsy has been ordered.

While investigators search for answers on what may have contributed to Beasley taking his life, residents were surprised to learn of Beasley’s passing. 

“I couldn’t imagine what the guy was kind of going through. It’s a sad, sad thing there,” Rudy Rocha said. 

“It’s sad to know that things like that happen,” said fellow Baytown resident Nelly Gomez. 

Karen Yates first met Beasley when he was in his early 20s, “He was in my daughter and son-in-law’s wedding 23 years ago.”

Yates told Channel 2 that Beasley loved his family and career, which is why she held out hope to the very end.

“Never in a million years did I think we would have this type of ending for him, but I want everyone to know he was a good person and a kindhearted person. Our hearts are just broken,” Yates said.

About the Authors:

Aaron Barker has been a senior digital editor at KPRC 2 since 2016. As a meteorologist, he specializes in stories about the weather. He has covered Hurricane Harvey, the Astros first World Series win, the Santa Fe High School shooting, the ITC fire and Tropical Storm Imelda.