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Who Killed Sheila Ann Deviney?

Updated: 2 days ago


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Written by Raven Rollins. Edited by Mandy McNeely.

Sheila Anne Deviney

Born Nov 3, 1973

Belleville, Republic County, Kansas, USA

Sheila Ann Deviney, a name that resonated with joy and exuberance, was the epitome of vivacity. Born into the embrace of David and Susan Deviney, she occupied the middle ground between her spirited brothers, Davey and Jack. With a blend of celestial grace and mischievous charm, Sheila wove the threads that bound her family and friends in a tight-knit tapestry of love and laughter.

In her Maysville, Oklahoma high school days, Sheila was the embodiment of popularity. As a spirited cheerleader, she effortlessly captured hearts, and fate smiled upon her when she married the college football hero in 1993. Her life seemed like an idyllic tale unfolding before her—a symphony of dreams and promise.

ABOVE: Sheila Deviney poses with her beloved older brother, Davy, at Christmas 2003 festivities in her parent's home next door. This is one of the last known photographs taken of Sheila Deviney. She was murdered ten days later.

However, Sheila’s seemingly perfect world swiftly unraveled into a harrowing tapestry of brutality, perversion, drug abuse, and cruelty. In every city they called home, Sheila bore witness to the unfathomable criminal conduct of her husband, Tyson Hendrix. The abyss of substance and alcohol abuse consumed her as she spiraled deeper into its clutches. Within the walls of their home, she became the target of domestic violence. Despite the hardships, Sheila’s unwavering love for her two children transcended all else, even when providing for them was a daily struggle.

Sheila persevered, determined to create a better life for herself and her children. The weight of her past bore down on her, urging her to alter her trajectory. On November 18, 1997, she took a decisive step: filing for divorce after five tumultuous years of marriage. The legal battle was fierce, marked by bitterness and a contentious struggle for child custody.


During this pivotal time, Sheila and her parents reached a unanimous decision: she would return to her roots in Maysville. They purchased a new trailer home, strategically placing it on their property—just 50 feet away from the original one. In this close-knit proximity, Sheila and her children found safety and solace. The bond between family members grew stronger, a lifeline in the stormy sea of her past.


On February 12, 1998, Sheila filed for a protective order against Tyson. Tyson denied the allegations against him but still agreed to the Victim Protective Order. The complaint stated that Tyson was abusing her and the children.

"She would not even exchange the children with him here," David Deviney said. "They had to meet in a public place. She was that scared of him."

"We were having our heart-to-heart talk, and she said, 'Mom, he's going to kill me,' and I said, 'Tyson is not going to kill you. He can't,'" Susan Deviney said.

In October of 1998, both Sheila and Tyson successfully completed the required co-parenting course mandated by the courts. For a brief moment, peace graced Sheila’s life. However, this tranquility was destined to be short-lived.

On December 28, 1998, a seismic shift occurred: Tyson was granted full custody of the children, and child support from Sheila was waived. Amid a series of legal continuances, Sheila’s permanent custody and amended child support hung in limbo. Fueled by her unwavering commitment to her children, Sheila demanded that her ex-husband fulfill his parental responsibilities.


Post-divorce, Sheila embarked on a journey of personal transformation. She sought rehabilitation to overcome substance abuse, emerging stronger and resolute. Back in college, she pursued an associate degree in science at Murray State College in Oklahoma, her eyes set on a teaching career. Her two children found solace in the embrace of their Catholic faith, and Sheila took pride in their unwavering attendance at Mass.


August 30, 2000, a pivotal date etched into legal records: Sheila and Tyson reached a mutual agreement outside the courtroom—a modified joint custody plan. Tyson, employed in the oil field with a reputable company, faced a moral clause tied to child support. Whether unaware of this clause or doubting court approval, Tyson ceased paying child support altogether. His repeated absences from court and numerous motions to modify the agreement led to a string of contempt charges:


August 7, 2001: Contempt

July 23rd, 2002: Contempt

September 5, 2002: Bench Warrant for Failure to Comply with Order


During this tumultuous period, Sheila remarried in July of 2001 to Wayne Braxton Jr. However, their union was short-lived. Wayne filed for divorce in February 2003 and went on to remarry in March 2006. In late February 2006, his wife sought an emergency protective order against him, but it was eventually dismissed through mutual agreement. She then filed for divorce in February 2009.


The legal saga continued, with Tyson filing numerous continuances. Finally, on September 22, 2003, the court ruled in favor of Sheila: full custody of the children was granted to her, while Tyson received standard visitations (typically every other weekend in Oklahoma). The court reinforced child support at $300 per month. However, Tyson owed Sheila a staggering $20,000 in back child support, and the court issued an ultimatum: pay up or face jail time. The deadline was set for January 5, 2004, but when Sheila arrived at the courthouse, she learned that the date had been moved to January 27.


On January 6, 2004, just three months later and a day after Tyson’s original deadline, Sheila took her children to school at Whitebead around 8:00 am. She conversed with a close friend via cell phone during her journey home. Upon arrival, she nervously mentioned having a “special friend” visiting. This friend was none other than her second ex-husband, Wayne Braxton, who had been staying over a few nights a week. However, Wayne maintains that they had argued the previous night, and he had left town.


Around 9:30 am, neighbor Allen Green drove by Sheila’s home and noticed nothing amiss—no vehicles, smoke, or fire. He also observed no passing cars as he worked outside.


Another neighbor, Lisa Coslett, witnessed the smoldering home around 10:08 am. She saw smoke and stopped at the house. The front wood door was already open, revealing greenish-gray and red-colored smoke. Lisa promptly called Allen Green and then 911.


Brandy Green and Rita Green also dialed 911 at 10:20 am. The Green brothers arrived shortly afterward, and a small crowd gathered as the Fire Marshal joined the scene.


The Fire Marshal found the front screen door closed but the wood door open. The house was filled with smoke. He attempted entry from the back, where the backdoor was hot to the touch and closed. Returning to the front, he stepped inside but was forced back by thick smoke. Flames and smoke emanated from the south windows of the mobile home. The Maysville Fire Department arrived at 10:25 am, followed by the first fire truck at 10:30 am. The Lindsey Fire Department also responded. By 11:30 am, the fire was finally extinguished. It was then that Chief Southard and his assistant discovered a body on the kitchen floor.


The fire’s chilling impact rivaled the morning’s record cold, sending shivers down Sheila’s mother’s spine. Susan Deviney, standing amidst the chaos, couldn’t feel the biting cold. When she asked the police chief if they had found Sheila, his tear-filled eyes conveyed the heartbreaking truth: “I don’t have that information.” Sheila’s car sat in the driveway, her phone unanswered. Desperate for a miracle, David Deviney pushed past firefighters, but the ashes yielded no sign of her.


Later, responding Maysville firefighters discovered Sheila’s charred remains inside. She had been burned beyond recognition. Despite the tragedy, the Garvin County Sheriff’s Office did not initiate an investigation. The State Fire Marshal’s Office attributed the blaze to a melted pan, leaving investigators to hypothesize about Sheila’s fate.

Sheila’s tragic demise unfolded against a backdrop of benzene and toluene, two highly flammable substances. The coroner’s report confirmed their presence on her body and within her blood and lungs. Consequently, Sheila’s death was reclassified as a homicide, prompting an intensive investigation (see ME Report).

ABOVE: A post-fire photograph of Sheila Deviney's burned kitchen, feet from where she lay in her trailer. This opinion of an accidental house fire was ultimately amended nine months later when forensic findings from Sheila's immolated remains indicated the presence of accelerants on her body and in her lungs.

The Gallery above shows the damage to the home. The below photo shows the furnace, one of the ignition points that was doused with accelerant.


ABOVE: The original and the amended report of Investigator Joanne Sellers of the Oklahoma State Fire Marshal. Despite evidence that indicated an arson fatality, the information has multiple errors. It indicates a different number of film rolls than previously mentioned. It also fails to mention the additional material removed from Sheila Deviney's trailer, including the front door and substantial portions of the charred carpet beneath her corpse. These materials were lost from SFM custody and never located.

ABOVE: Front page of the autopsy report by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. These findings were not published until September 2004.

ABOVE: Toxicology reports taken from tissue samples during the autopsy indicated the presence of the chemicals toluene and benzene, two compounds commonly found in products such as canned ether or engine starting fluid.

Also ABOVE: Sheila Deviney's amended death certificate indicating her death as a homicide.

Reviewing these reports alongside my medical experts, our hypothesis aligns with the evidence: Toluene, present in her lungs, and her carboxyhemoglobin level at 18% (which should have been closer to 80% or more for death by fire), suggest that a chemical incapacitated her. The likely candidate? Paint thinner was placed over her mouth causing her to inhale substantial amounts before losing consciousness. This sudden exposure could have triggered reduced respiration rates, unconsciousness, and even seizures. During this vulnerable state, someone meticulously arranged clothing around her, doused them with accelerant, and ignited the flames. Sheila, most likely unconscious, burned alive. Her mother attests that the home was immaculate—she had just helped Sheila clean thoroughly to combat head lice, leaving everything in its place, especially the clothing.


Since childhood, Jessica Evans, Sheila’s friend, remains convinced that Sheila met foul play. Conversations they shared in the days leading up to the fire cemented Jessica’s belief. The chilling truth remains: Sheila’s life was extinguished in a blaze that defied the cold morning’s record temperatures.

"She told me she was being followed by a white car whenever she took the kids to school, Evans said. “She was scared. She never told me who she thought it was. I did not think much about it at the time. "I thought, Well, maybe it's a new neighbor who drives down that same road every morning' or something else. Now, I wish I had taken it more seriously.


Sheila’s notice of death is documented in her divorce papers, entered on January 21, 2004, just six days before the scheduled court date for the back child support hearing.


OSBI Special Agent David Gatlin is handling the cold case now.

"I'm going to go with an open mind and see where the evidence leads us," Gatlin said.

Gatlin, focusing on technological advancements—especially in cell phones—is diligently pursuing sealed phone records from the grand jury. While the circumstantial evidence in this case is compelling, it’s essential to remember that anyone could potentially be involved in Sheila’s tragic fate. In the eyes of the law, everyone remains innocent until proven guilty.


If you possess any information related to Sheila Deviney’s death, please reach out immediately. You can submit an anonymous tip through our SIRENS tip box on our website at www.thesirenspodcast.com/contact or via email at tips@osbi.ok.gov. Alternatively, connect with us through Facebook Messenger on our page or reach out to the Justice for Sheila Deviney Facebook page. Your tips could be the pivotal factor in ensuring justice prevails and holding the perpetrator accountable.


A coalition of business owners, both local and beyond, stands firmly behind the Deviney family. Their commitment is unwavering: $50,000 in cash awaits anyone who provides information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the premeditated murder of Sheila Deviney.

"The worst thing is that whoever did this is probably someone I know, said Davy Deviney, 32, Sheila Deviney's brother. “This was not just some random murder. This was personal. Now, whenever people come up and talk to me, I do not trust them.

"I know that's terrible, but it's the truth."


READ MORE ABOUT SHEILA'S CASE IN OUR BOOK 'SINS OF THE SOUTH'



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