Tye Van Swearingen, 25, had enlisted in the army in 1998. And in 2001, he married Stephanie Marie Shipley. Swearingen was scheduled to ship out to Iraq later this month. Neighbors say that since his previous tour in Iraq, he had changed.

Neighbors and police say they have responded to the couple’s home due to reports of disputes. Sunday, Swearingen contacted police and reported his wife, Stephanie Marie Swearingen, 23, had left their home on Saturday and had not returned home. Allegedly he told them that the two had argued, and that she had not returned home from a party. Reportedly on Mon. a neighbor had asked Swearingen how he was doing and he reportedly seemed concerned when he told her ‘Not good,’ ” ‘My wife left and it’s not like her. She hasn’t come back.’ ”

Allegedly Swearingen has since told police that he strangled his wife on Saturday night. He put her into a bathtub of water, and waited until after dark on Sun. then drove her body to a cemetary where he buried her remains in an already occupied grave. The remains have been recovered and sent for an autopsy.

Swearingen has been arrested and charged in the murder.

Reportedly the couple did have a child who is now with relatives.             


More details are available on how the murder and recovery of Stephanie Swearingen came about.

Allegedly Swearingen’s mother was with a group of people on Oct. 14, when her phone rang. As she was talking on the phone, several thought she said something about murder.

When she hung up the phone, all she said was there was a family emergency, she had to drive to Texas to pick up her grandchild as her son was in trouble and couldn’t keep the child. The friend’s took up a collection to help her with expenses.

A few days later, word of the call got back to the police chief. Several people told the chief that Swearingen may have shot his wife.  Problem was they were in Mo. not Texas. They didn’t know for sure if there was a murder or where in Texas they were located.

The police chief notified Mo. State Highway Patrol, and one of their divisions found that Swearingen was stationed at Fort Hood.

Investigators then questioned Swearingen again and he led them to his wife’s body.

One neighbor has alleged that when talking with Swearingen after he reported his wife missing, Swearingen told him he still planned on going to Iraq in 10 days.                   

And a big thank you goes to DC for the update on this one.



  1. M. Marlow said,

    October 22, 2006 at 4:46 am

    That is very scary to think about! My husband is in the military and the thought of him or someone else I know doing that…. it is unthinkable!! I have her family and child in my thoughts and prayers and hope that he gets what he deserves!

  2. Melanie said,

    October 23, 2006 at 1:07 am

    Stephanie was a very active part of our local mothers group. She was a beautiful young woman who allways had a smile on her face and loved her daughter more than anything. What Tye did to her is inexcusable and I hope he rots in prison. There is a beautiful 2 year old little girl who will now grow up without a mother or a father…

  3. Jenn said,

    October 23, 2006 at 4:04 pm

    She was amazing. She was my best friend. I never thought it would get to this point. Tye called me asking if I had heard from Stephanie, on Monday. He lied to me. He lied straight to my husband’s face at work on Monday as well. This whole thing has turned my world upside down. Now their poor baby has to grow up with her grandmother, simply because her father felt the need to end Stephanie’s life.

    It makes me sick.

  4. Sara said,

    October 24, 2006 at 12:05 am

    I knew Stephanie through an online military wives support group…she was always one of the first to offer advice and a hug…and she will be missed. My thoughts and prayers are with that beautiful little girl and the family that will have to raise her now…. It is crazy to think she is gone… I still can’t quite believe it….

  5. Andre said,

    October 24, 2006 at 7:28 am

    As a friend of the family, and a long time friend of Stephanie and her brother Adam, it was shocking to hear of this incident.. and at times, I am still in disbelief. She was a very sweet girl, always had a light heart.. I remember it even from years ago. Although I haven’t always had close contact with her, she sent her hellos to me whenever she got a chance, and it brings tears to my eyes to realise that her family has lost her.. her brother has lost a sister, and her daughter has lost a mother. My deepest condolences to the family and friends of Stephanie Shipley. Don’t forget her. In a few years, locate her daughter Sarah and give her a hug. She will always need endless amounts of love. Requiescat In Pace, Stephanie. In memory…

  6. Brooke said,

    October 24, 2006 at 11:17 pm

    I just want to say that I am so sorry for the family and the little girl that will grow up without her parents. My husband was in this guy’s unit and when he came home and told me what had happened I was in complete disbelief. On October 6th we had attended a military ball where I think I may have met Stephanie. It so so crazy how someone is here one day and the next gone. What really scares me is that I feel the Army and the subsequent deployments to Iraq play a role in changes soldiers go through and could be an underlying factor in tragedies such as this one. All of the people involved will be in my prayers…

  7. Candice said,

    October 26, 2006 at 3:59 am

    I have known Stephanie for more than 12 years of my life. She was more than my best friend, she was my sister. When I heard she had gone missing, I knew something was wrong. She would never leave SaraH Anne. I too spoke with Tye. Every day actually, until he confessed. It makes me sick how calm he was. And how his major concern was who was going to watch SaraH so he could go to work. She did not deserve this at all. She was a wonderful woman, friend, and even better mother. She will be greatly missed…

  8. LorieAnne said,

    October 29, 2006 at 12:12 am

    Stephanie and i went to school with eachother when we were young.. we had sleepovers and good times.. We lost touch over the years but became close again recently.. i talked to her a week before she died, and i had no idea it would be the last time i would ever talk to her… I cried so hard at her wake.. just seeing her beautiful baby smile and laugh because she had no idea what was going on made tore my heart up..she’ll never truly know what a beautiful woman she was inside and out.. Tye took her away from so many people who loved her.. She was an amazing mother and an amazing friend.. words can’t describe how much i will miss her…

  9. claymore kwaramba said,

    November 21, 2006 at 8:37 am

    I am heartbroken by the shocking news.I worked with Sergeant Swearingen and I knew his wife as well.We were in the same company between 2003 and 2005 while I was stationed at Ft HoodI am now in Germany and I found out through an email I got from someone who was in the same company with us.My heart and prayers go out to his family and especially Stephanie’s family as they deal with this tragic loss.

  10. Tierra B said,

    March 16, 2007 at 1:06 pm

    I went to Junior High School with Stephanie. I always told her she had pretty hair and we became friends in English class. She had such a sweet spirit. I send my love to her family. And I will never forget her.

  11. Renee said,

    December 28, 2007 at 3:54 am

    I knew Steph since we were very young, we grew up spending a lot of time together when we were kids, her grandmother dated and lived with my father for many years. When i heard about this last year, i was in utter shock. It hurts to think about it, no one deserves this, and I want it to be known to Jo-ann, Adam and Vella I am so extremely sorry for the loss of Stephanie, and I hope her daughter is told one day how incredible she was.

  12. robert said,

    February 12, 2010 at 5:04 am

    what people keep forgeting is that tye also had a son and no one says anything bout him. What happened should not of happened but it did and you cant change anything. Tye shipped out for basic right after his 17th birthday to be the thing he always wanted to be a member of the armed forces. Steph was not perfect either she had moved another man into their home while he was over seas and when she got pregnant she used the money he risked his life for to pay for an abortion. Tell me was that fair to him what about the domistic assult charges she had for always hitting and attacking him both are reasponable for what happened not just tye maybe if her mother had not encourged her cheating behavior none of this would have happened. Who cheats on thier spouse when they are risking their life for them. This was a sad event that effected to familys not just hers. None of tyes family agree with what his mother did to help him and now have little to do with her. Just rember that he mad two children to take care of and either one will ever see him again. I feel sorry for the people who choose sides without knowing the whole story and to the people who knew them in Texas and talk about how she was perfect shame on you no ones perfect and you are just as responsabe as tye is because you knew the truth she caused her own death and you told her what she was doing was ok.

  13. Candice said,

    March 30, 2010 at 5:09 am

    “Robert”, I would suggest that you check your spelling before you decide to mouth off. You are only proving to everyone just how ignorant you are. Shame on YOU for deciding to write on here over three years later. Stephanie DID NOT cause her own death. HE made that decision to not give a crap about either of his children when HE did what he did. The fact that his family was involved is all the more reason TO NOT give a crap about them! You can try and put Stephanie in a negative light all you want but everyone is smart enough to know (and read) that you’re an idiot who is wrong. Now do us all a favor and go spend your time doing something productive, like getting your GED!

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