Photo: Bob Owen /San Antonio Express-News
The owner of a mortuary services company tied to a funeral home where a body disappeared in 2015 defended one of his employees Wednesday when allegations of satanism emerged in a civil trial.
Frederick Beyer, owner of Beyer & Beitel Mortuary Services, was the first witness called by attorney Ricardo Reyna, who is representing defendant MPII Inc., which does business as Mission Park Funeral Chapels and Cemeteries.
The company, owned by Robert “Dick” Tips and run by his wife, Kristin, is being sued for gross negligence by Timothy and Sharlotte Mott over the loss of their daughter’s body from a casket in August 2015. Julie Mott’s remains have never been found.
Reyna asked Beyer about Nicholas Moreno, introduced Tuesday in Beyer’s video deposition played by plaintiff attorney Alex Katzman, who brought up allegations of satanism related to Moreno, his band, Flesh Hoarder, and Facebook postings that showcase disturbing images that could be construed as demonic and satanic.
“Mr. Moreno is one of the smartest guys you’ll ever meet,” Beyer told the jury, adding that he has employed him for nearly five years as a driver and that Moreno is dependable and hardly ever misses work.
“When he represents us, he represents us well. I get more compliments on Nick than anyone who works for me,” Beyer said.
When asked by Reyna if Moreno had any contact with Julie Mott’s body, either in pickup, embalming or delivery, Beyer confirmed through a company log that Moreno had not.
Julie Mott died Aug. 8, 2015. Her body was picked up that day by representatives of Beyer & Beitel, taken to its downtown facility for embalming, and delivered Aug. 10 to Mission Park North on Cherry Ridge, where her services were held Aug. 15. Funeral home employees found an empty casket the next day.
Beyer said he has had an association with Dick Tips since he worked for him while he went to mortuary school and has had a contract with him since he began his own business in 2000.
Regarding embalming and other mortuary services, Beyer said his company doesn’t provide them only for Mission Park, but for numerous other funeral homes in San Antonio.
Attorneys for MPII deposed their own mental health expert, who disputed some of what plaintiff’s experts said Tuesday about the level of depression experienced by the Motts before their daughter’s death, after she died and after the body went missing.
Christopher Ticknor, a medical doctor and psychiatrist in San Antonio, reviewed the files of both Timothy and Sharlotte Mott and disputed plaintiff expert Dr. William Erwin’s diagnosis of each with “depression and bereavement,” stating that bereavement is not a recognized medical condition.
“Grieving is a part of life,” Ticknor told the jury.
Ticknor agreed that the Motts were depressed before their daughter’s body went missing, stating that he reviewed medical records and notes from therapists, along with prescriptions for depression and anxiety medications that dated to 2011, which Sharlotte Mott acknowledged this week.
The case is being heard in the 131st Civil District Court, presided by Judge Norma Gonzales.