The Disappearance Of Beverly Ward

& Faith Tabernacle United Pentecostal Church

Brenda, Edwin Young's wife, has a younger sister named Beverly, born April 17, 1965, who also attended the church. On July 4, 1978, 13 year old Beverly Ward went missing from her home on 227 West Eleventh Street in Junction City sometime during the night and early morning hours. It was felt she could have been abducted sometime between 3:00 and 5:00 AM according to one report. Her mother reported her disappearance to the police around 5:00 PM on July 4. The Daily Union reported as early as July 6th that it was being investigated as a kidnapping. Junction City police chief Jim Gross said they were working with the FBI and in late July 1978 they had no new leads. She has never been found and some believe her to be dead, as is seen in her mother's obituary.

Beverly Ward was said to be dressed in her nightgown at the time she went missing and her other clothing and $12.00 was left behind in the room. It appeared that she was taken through her bedroom window where she was sleeping. It was a hot night and the window may have been open. The screen from a window was found about 10 feet away. She weighed about 54 pounds and was 4'8" tall.

This picture is of the block on 11th Street where the Ward Family lived.

There is a house at the address where the Ward family lived, but it appears it may be a newer built home according to information found on the internet. Online reports state it was built in 2006. The homes are fairly close together and there is an alley that runs behind all the homes on that block. That would have made it easier for someone to approach the home unnoticed.

To the left is the first mention of her disappearance in the Daily Union. Note the article above it about the digging nearby. To the right is a wide view of four homes on the block. The second from the left is where the Ward home stood.  The house presently there was built in 2006.

Above and below are pictures from the alley area of the back of where the Ward home stood. It is unknown if a garage was on the property then.

Above is the July 6, 1978 article from The Daily Union. Below is how the Faith Tabernacle United Pentecostal Church ad appeared in the newspaper church section around the same time.

The police spoke with neighbors and friends at the time, in an effort to find some leads, but were unsuccessful. Information was entered into the National Crime Information Center computer system and they notified the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, but the KBI did not become involved in the case. By the time the Daily Union next reported on the case, the Federal Bureau of Investigation had become involved. That was the July 20 edition and no new leads had been discovered.

Since that time, any talk among church members about what happened is in hushed tones. Some said that the mother, Bernia Mae Ward, had been involved in witchcraft at some point and wondered if that may have come into play. (She passed away in 2006. Screen shots have been added of the obituary that disappeared sometime in mid October 2012, after we linked to it. There is another mention of it here.) She attended Faith Tabernacle, but whether it started before or after the disappearance is unclear. Her husband, Carnell Ward, was not mentioned in any of the newspaper reports that I have seen and he died at some point before she did according to her obituary.

Former members of the church have shared that this was not openly spoken of at Faith Tabernacle even back when it first happened. One former member recalled her mother coming into her room and waking her up one morning, telling her that Beverly had been taken out of her room. She was told that someone cut the screen and took her. To their knowledge, the church never tried to look for Beverly and does not recall any special meeting being called or a prayer meeting. They shared there was no counseling given.

Another former member heard in later years that Brenda had either

 

gotten up to get a drink, came back and saw her sister wasn't there, or woke up to find her sister gone.

After the event, Darlyene Westberg took Brenda under her wing, so to speak, and tried to help her and had her over to her home on numerous occasions.

Take note that there is a discrepancy in the news reports as the first says she went missing Sunday, which would have been July 2, and the  second states she went missing Tuesday, which would have been July 4, which is the date consistently reported after the initial mention.

Above are Junction High School yearbook pictures of Vivian (1976), Carl (1978), Bette (1978) and Brenda Ward (1980). The last is Bernia Ward.

Brenda Young has six siblings besides Beverly: Ivory, J.W., Carl, Burnice, Vivian, and Bette. The Ward children attended Junction City schools. You can find pictures of at least some of them in the Junction City High School yearbooks. Brenda Ward's picture is in the 1980 edition. It appears she graduated in 1982. It has been reported that Vivian also attended Faith Tabernacle at some point and it was not spoken of when she left, though she did visit on at least one occasion after her exit. J. W. became the youth leader at the church until he was too old to stay in that position. He later moved to Missouri and was ordained as a Pastor in Grandview.

There is a brief article about the disappearance in the Iola Register on page three of the July 21, 1979 edition of the newspaper.

The Daily Union reported on the disappearance in their July 5, July 6 and July 20, 1978 editions.

Some may wonder why we have mentioned Beverly's disappearance. For one, it shows in part how the church handled it and how it was still being mentioned in hushed voices many years later. For another, it appears that at least one individual has been contacting the media, trying to get them to look into the case. I know at least two separate media reporters have been contacted since the story broke on Jordan Young in August.

If the present situations at the church were to prompt a renewed investigation and if that were to lead to the solving of the disappearance of Beverly, then at least something good might come of it all.

These are pictures of the present home on 227 West 11th Street. It is believed to have been built in 2006.

On October 24, 2014, the Emporia Gazette did a story on Beverly's disappearance, including updated information. You may read it here or at The Washington Times here or at The Times Leader here. The article was written by reporter Lynette Richards of the Junction City Daily Union. A follow-up article, with new information discovered by Ms. Richards, was published December 3, 2014. If that is unavailable, try here.

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Separate Page Started October 20, 2012 & Updated December 5, 2014

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