Kevin Moyer was killed near Beaumont while on business; authorities are still searching for third suspect, motive
Friends of Kevin Moyer will remember his gentle, kind and calming presence and how his friendship forever touched their lives.
Moyer, 53, was identified this week as the man found dead on Saturday, April 5, near a creek bed on South China Road near Highway 365 about 10 miles southwest of Beaumont. It’s a rural area where people go fishing, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Rod Carroll said. A man alerted authorities around 10:30 a.m. after observing a man asleep in a 2013 Volkswagen Jetta. Deputies found him naked and wrapped in a sheet.
Carroll said the cause of death isn’t being released yet, but Moyer suffered “traumatic injuries” that required dental records be used to identify him.
“It was obviously trauma, and so there was obviously disfigurement, and that’s one reason we had to go with dental records,” he said. “It was a sign of suspicious death, which was confirmed by the autopsy.”
Two Beaumont men were arrested and charged with the murder on Monday. Arthur Christopher Harmon, 21, and Yiannis Nikolaos Mihail, 31, are being held on $1 million bonds. Authorities are still searching for a third man involved, Cody Jamar Lewis, 27, who they believe tampered with evidence. Carroll said Lewis should be considered armed and dangerous.
As to whether to brutal murder was an anti-gay hate crime, Carroll said that doesn’t appear to be the case since the two men already in custody are openly gay and in a relationship with each other. Possible motives aren’t being released, he said, because they want the third suspect to confirm what the other two have told authorities.
“Once we get the third person in custody, it’ll confirm some stuff,” Carroll said. “We’re waiting on the third to see how the story changes.”
Jim Mallory, a close friend of Moyer who’s known him for 33 years, said Moyer was in South Texas on business for a luxury linen company he’d recently started working for after the fine china company he’d previously worked with closed its U.S. offices.
He first moved to Dallas in 1981 and later met Mallory at a gay social group. The two became close friends and remained close when Moyer’s work took him on various work travels and even out of the state. Moyer returned to Dallas about 10 years ago.
Mallory said he and Moyer met for lunch almost every Saturday, often at Lucky’s Cafe on Oak Lawn Avenue, which was Moyer’s favorite restaurant. In his spare time, he loved baking, reading and science fiction.
“He was a very kind, gentle, thoughtful man and always calm,” Mallory said. “I think that’s what makes the manner of his death so hard to imagine.”
Mallory said he was told Moyer died on April 3, two days before his body was discovered, and deputies think the murder happened somewhere else before his body was moved. He said since Moyer was found in his car without any of his belongings, deputies think the original intent was robbery.
But for such a seasoned traveler like Moyer, Mallory said it would be rare for him to be into a dangerous situation.
“I’m just baffled, absolutely baffled by this,” he said.
He remembered how excited Moyer was about his new job in luxury linen after years in fine china. Moyer was excited about staying in the luxury market while still learning new things and being able to travel.
“He said it was just moving from the dining room to the bedroom,” Mallory recalled.
Moyer’s death has shaken his intimate group of friends and the many people whose lives he touched with his gentle spirit. Mallory said the kind of friendship he had with Moyer was rare and the kind that few people find.
“Friends like that are hard to find, hard to cultivate and hard to keep. And 33 years of friendship … is a long time,” Mallory said. “A large number of people admired, loved and respected him. This has been very, very difficult on all of us.”
Anyone with information about the third suspect’s location should contact Crime Stoppers at 833-8477. Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 for information leading to the location and his arrest.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 11, 2014.