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Who was Becky Bliefnick? Murder victim Becky Bliefnick voiced fear of her estranged husband prior to her death

Investigators arrive at the crime scene

Investigators from the Quincy Police Department and the Adams County State’s Attorney’s Office, pictured here, responded to the scene.

Who was Becky Bliefnick?

Becky Bliefnick was a mother of three and worked as a nurse at Blessing Hospital in Quincy. She received The Daisy Award, which recognizes the care and kindness  nurses provide to their patients.

Becky Bliefnick’s estranged husband

On the night of her murder, Becky Bliefnick was home alone. Her three boys were staying at their father Tim Bliefnick’s house, about a mile away. Becky and Tim were in the process of getting divorced.

The broken window

Bliefnick crime scene
Adams County State’s Attorney’s Office

Police quickly determined that the killer had broken into Becky Bliefnick’s home by prying open an upstairs window in one of the children’s bedrooms.

Tool marks left behind

Investigators found these tool marks on the window that had been pried open.

The shoeprint

Inside Becky Bliefnick’s house, this partial shoeprint was found near the point of entry. Nothing appeared to be stolen and neighbors didn’t see or hear anything.

Odd pieces of plastic

Bliefnick evidence
Adams County State’s Attorney’s Office

 

These small shreds of plastic were found around Becky Bliefnick’s body. “We thought it was unusual when we saw that,” Adams County State’s Attorney Josh Jones told “48 Hours.” “I was like, ‘OK, what is this?'”

When the pieces were examined further, investigators determined that they were remnants of an ALDI grocery store bag.

The broken bedroom door

Bliefnick evidence
Adams County State’s Attorney’s Office

 

Pieces of wood from Becky Bliefnick’s bedroom door were also found at the crime scene, which led investigators to believe that the killer had violently kicked in the door.

Shell casings on the floor

Bliefnick evidence
Adams County State’s Attorney’s Office

 

Investigators also found eight spent 9-millimeter shell casings at the scene.

Victim’s phone found behind bedroom door

Bliefnick evidence
Adams County State’s Attorney’s Office

 

Investigators believe the intruder entered Becky Bliefnick’s home around 1:11 a.m. on Feb. 23, 2023, because they were able to determine she had tried to dial 911 on her cellphone at that time.

She dialed 91126 before her phone was knocked out of her hands as the killer entered her bedroom. Investigators found her phone behind the bedroom door.

The surveillance videos

Bliefnick evidence
Adams County State’s Attorney’s Office

 

When police began investigating the murder, they spoke to Becky Bliefnick’s next-door neighbors. They had a security camera set up in their driveway, which ran alongside Becky’s house. Their camera didn’t capture anything on the night of the murder, but it did capture something unusual about 24 hours earlier.

At 1:05 a.m., a person was seen walking down the driveway towards the back of Becky’s house and what appeared to be that same person was seen again — 48 minutes later — this time, walking in the opposite direction.

The camera had also captured a similar incident  about a week earlier on Feb. 14, 2023, Valentine’s Day.

The mysterious biker

Bliefnick evidence
Adams County State’s Attorney’s Office

 

Officers went around Becky Bliefnick’s entire neighborhood trying to find more surveillance video and they were able to find some from a house and from a bus barn that showed a person riding a bike in the direction of Becky’s house right before the murder and in the opposite direction right after.

Authorities began to suspect that the person seen on the bike was the same person seen in the neighbors’ driveway videos, because every time a person was seen in that driveway, a person was seen riding a bike down the road just prior to that.

The only problem with the surveillance videos was that the person seen in them was unidentifiable. Investigators could only say that the bike did not appear to have reflectors on the wheels.

A suspect emerges

Sarah and Bret Reill
CBS News

 

When Becky’s sister and brother-in-law, Sarah and Bret Reilly, learned of Becky’s murder, they say one person came to mind as the prime suspect: Becky’s estranged husband, Tim Bliefnick.

Sarah Reilly told investigators that Becky and Tim were going through a contentious divorce and that’s when Tim became a person of interest.

Divorce documents indicate the couple had been fighting over money, the marital home and custody of their three children.

“If something ever happens to me …”

Bliefnick evidence
Adams County State’s Attorney’s Office

 

More than a year before Becky Bliefnick’s death, she sent her sister this text:

“If something ever happens to me, please make sure the number one person of interest is Tim, as that is who would do something to me. I’m putting this in writing that I’m fearful he will somehow harm me, come after me, or will try to (sic) something to me that takes me away from the kids or the kids away from me. He has already lied multiple times to paint himself as a victim and me as the perpetrator when it is absolutely the other way around. No, I have not sent this to Mom or Dad as I don’t want them to be out of their minds with worry.”

“That text was prompted by the murder of one of her colleagues … One of the nurses that she knew… was murdered by her partner,” Sarah Reilly told “48 Hours.”

The discovery of a bike

Bliefnick evidence
Adams County State’s Attorney’s Office

 

As the investigation continued, authorities found this bike — with no reflectors on the wheels — just like the one seen on those surveillance videos. The bike was found less than half a block from Tim Bliefnick’s residence.

Police search Tim Bliefnick’s home and car

Bliefnick search
Muddy River News

 

After finding that bike, and armed with the knowledge of the contentious divorce, investigators executed a search warrant on Tim Bliefnick’s house and car as he looked on.

Tim Bliefnick arrested

Tim Bliefnick booking photo
Adams County Sheriff’s Office

 

On March 13, 2023, just over two weeks after Becky Bliefnick’s death, Tim Bliefnick, seen in his booking photo, was arrested and charged with her murder.

“Family Feud”

Tim Bliefnick
Tim Bliefnick

 

When Tim Bliefnick was arrested, it made national news, in large part, because of an appearance he made on the game show “Family Feud” years earlier.

One of the questions he was asked was, “What’s the biggest mistake you made at your wedding?” And Bliefnick responded, “Honey, I love you, but, said ‘I do.'”

Considering the charges he now faced, it had people talking. But prosecutors believe it had nothing to do with the murder.

Tim Bliefnick maintains his innocence

Tim Bliefnick
CBS News

 

Tim Bliefnick sat down for an exclusive interview with “48 Hours'” Erin Moriarty. He insists he is innocent. “The idea of murdering someone, let alone the mother of my kids … is not any part of who I am,” he said.

The trial

Bliefnick trial
Matthew Hopf/Herald-Whig

 

On May 23, 2023, exactly three months after Becky Bliefnick was murdered, Tim Bliefnick went on trial for her murder.

Prosecutor Josh Jones described the last moments of Becky’s life in his opening statement to the jury. “The defendant looked down at Becky and he pointed a gun at her. And he pulled the trigger,” Jones said.

The defense

Bliefnick trial
Matthew Hopf/Herald-Whig

 

When Tim Bliefnick’s defense attorney Casey Schnack addressed the jury, she told them that the case was “dripping with reasonable doubt,” and that just because Becky and Tim were going through a contentious divorce, it doesn’t mean that he killed her.

The Aldi Bags

Bliefnick evidence
Adams County State’s Attorney’s Office

 

Prosecutors laid out evidence they say points directly to Tim Bliefnick, starting with odd pieces of Aldi bags that were found around Becky’s body. They told the jury that they found these stacks of Aldi bags during the police search of Tim Bliefnick’s home.

“He had fired through an Aldi bag, either in an attempt to muffle the sound or to catch his shell casings,” prosecutor Josh Jones told “48 Hours.”

Tim Bliefnick’s cellphone searches

Bliefnick evidence
Adams County State’s Attorney’s Office

 

The prosecution also showed the jury numerous searches found on Tim Bliefnick’s cellphone, including, “how to open my door with a crowbar,” “how to make a homemade pistol silencer” and “how to clean gunpowder off your hands.”

The “John Smith” Facebook account

Bliefnick evidence
Adams County State’s Attorney’s Office

 

Prosecutor Josh Jones told the jury that during the investigation, information was downloaded off Tim Bliefnick’s phone and it was discovered that he had a Facebook account under the name John Smith. That John Smith Facebook account appeared to have been looking at this bike for sale: a blue Schwinn without reflectors on the wheels — just like that bike that was found less than half a block from Tim’s house.

The crowbar

Bliefnick evidence
Adams County State’s Attorney’s Office

 

Prosecutors told the jury that police found this crowbar in Tim Bliefnick’s basement. They called an expert to the stand who testified that she compared it to the tool marks left on the window that was pried open at Becky’s house. While there were microscopic consistencies, she couldn’t say with scientific certainty that that crowbar made those marks.

A match?

Bliefnick evidence
Adams County State’s Attorney’s Office

 

The prosecution also presented these spent shell casings which were found in Tim Bliefnick’s home. An expert testified that she compared them to the shell casings found at the crime scene and determined that 27 of them had been fired from the exact same gun used in the murder.

Tim Bliefnick’s lawyer refutes the evidence

Bliefnick evidence
Adams County State’s Attorney’s Office

 

Casey Schnack, Tim Bliefnick’s defense attorney, discounts the prosecution’s evidence. She says that the expert’s opinion concerning the shell casings is “subject to human error.” And she suggests that everyone in town has stacks of Aldi grocery store bags in their house and therefore it’s not incriminating.

She also pointed out that the bike that was found doesn’t have Tim Bliefnick’s DNA on it and she says that prosecutors can’t even say for sure whether the bike that was found is the same bike from the surveillance videos. She insists it is not Tim in those videos.

She also pointed out that there was no date or time as to when those searches on Tim’s phone were conducted. She suggests that they could have been done after the murder.

If not Tim Bliefnick, then who?

Bliefnick evidence
Adams County State’s Attorney’s Office

 

Defense attorney Casey Schnack says she believes investigators should have given more weight to the idea that it could have been an intruder who killed Becky in a break-in gone wrong. She points out that investigators never found shoes to match that partial shoeprint found inside Becky’s house.

“I’m innocent. I didn’t kill Becky,” Tim Bliefnick told “48 Hours.”

“This was an execution”

Becky Bliefnick
Sarah Reilly

 

Prosecutors insist this murder was not committed by a random prowler.

“It was an execution,” prosecutor Josh Jones told “48 Hours.” “This was somebody who was there with a purpose.”

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