(Update: More details of the prayer group founded by Tyler Deaton have emerged.)
When Kansas City police first found Bethany Deaton's body on Oct. 30, they initially called her death a suicide. But following a confession by Micah Moore, who said he killed Deaton at the request of her husband to cover up group sexual assaults, authorities are investigating the group's religious connections–which include International House of Prayer University (IHOPU).
According to the Kansas City Star, Moore, who has been charged in the murder, said he was a member of a small religious community led by Tyler Deaton, Bethany Deaton's husband.
In court statements, other witnesses told detectives they were part of a "religious community" where they had sex with each other and assaulted Deaton for religious reasons.
Members of the group, who lived with the Deatons, had followed the couple from Southwestern University in Texas to Kansas City, where they studied at IHOPU. Bethany Deaton completed a six-month IHOPU program in 2009.
But IHOP, a 24-hour prayer movement, has distanced itself from Deaton's group. In a statement, IHOPU president Allen Hood said the group "has always operated independently of the university."
"It is important to all of us that this group's secrecy and disturbing religious practices are fully exposed," he said.
Neither Tyler Deaton nor IHOPU have been charged in the killing.
CT previously reported that the International House of Pancakes was suing the International House of Prayer for "trademark dilution and infringement." The "IHOP" acronym has been shared for 10 years.