Beth Von Steinner was beaten to death by Benny Wayne McCroskey Jr. for cash he thought was in her bank account, See No Evil shows how CCTV helped crack the case.
Winter 2009, in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, and 57-year-old Alma Beth Von Steinner was reported missing on December 28 by her brother, after she failed to show up at his house. Police went to her home and discovered one of her windows broken and multiple days newspapers stuffed into her letter box. However, they also saw that her dogs had been fed, so assumed she’d gone out of town for a few days.
On December 30, a detective visited her house again and this time forced the door open. Inside he found blood stains and quickly called in for a search warrant. Before it arrived he found Von Steinner’s body about 25 yards from her house, she was frozen solid and had been dumped on a trash pile.
An autopsy revealed that she’d died from blunt force trauma to the head and that she’d probably been killed on December 22, her body having frozen after being dumped outside.
The investigation eventually focussed in on Benny Wayne McCroskey Jr., who’d met Von Steinner whilst she was in jail on charges related to not looking after her horses properly.
He was friends with Deserie Warthen, and the pair went over to Von Steinner’s home to celebrate her birthday on December 18. They ended up snowed in and to kill time agreed to help Von Steinner clean up her home.
It was during this cleanup that the pair found some bank statements showing some large deposits into Von Steinner’s account. Warthen later told police that McCroskey hatched a plan to murder Von Steinner and steal the money.
On December 22 Von Steinner caught McCroskey trying steal cash from her bank account and the convicted felon out of her home. Warthen then spent the night in jail and the next day met up with McCroskey.
He told her that Von Steinner had gone away for a few days and had left both her truck and credit card for the pair to use. The pair bought some beer and other minor items before the card was blocked, it was these transactions that were caught on CCTV.
Later Warthen became suspicious and asked McCroskey about Von Steinner, whereupon he became violent and assaulted her. She went to the police and reported the attack, with McCroskey being charged with malicious wounding.
Eventually McCroskey, 36, was charged with murder and in 2011 he entered an Alford plea for second-degree murder and grand larceny, he was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Warthen, 28, pleaded guilty to identity theft and credit card fraud
See No Evil: Beth’s Last Party airs at 7:00 PM on Investigation Discovery.